Before traveling to Spain, I originally intended get a local sim card. but T-Mobile offered such a great international plan, I had to give it a try.
Basically, I could keep my U.S. number and use my phone almost anywhere in the world. Text and data are unlimited for $70/mo. When out of the U.S., the data is reduced to 2G speed. NOTE: Be careful, some agents advise voice is also unlimited in this package, but it’s not. You can use voice calling, but it will cost extra.
Regarding data speed, the websites kept timing out with just 2G. So I added the Plus option for an extra $25/mo. This gave me high speed data out of U.S., GoGo in-flight perks, video streaming and hot spot usage. NOTE: The Plus option can only be added/removed on the same billing cycle as the T-Mobile One plan and is not pro-rated.
This plan required a credit check. They used Transunion for my application.
On my layover through London Heathrow, I had service through EE, and in Spain I had service through Movistar, Vodafone and Orange. There were no connectivity issues at all and as much as I hate this word – it really was seamless.
Keeping my U.S. number was also handy to receive dual authentication codes via text. And of course, it was great for friends and business associates to keep in touch. Just don’t forget to set your privacy hours if on a different time zone!
I already owned an unlocked iPhone, so all I had to do was change the sim card. Also, I saved $160 the first week with T-Mobile through a $150 special for changing carriers, and a Tuesday special for a $2 movie ticket through Fandango.
I had some trepidation about how this would work, but T-Mobile is a great solution for the international traveler.
Summary: Although T-Mobile is untouchable for their international plan, their domestic U.S. plans are significantly higher than AT&T. Depending on the extent of your your travel habits, this will probably be the deciding factor for your carrier choice.
Additional info for Alaska residents:
- There are no T-Mobile stores or re-sellers in Alaska
- T-Mobile cannot issue new phone numbers with the Alaska 907 area code.
- T-Mobile cannot issue new numbers with any other area code to Alaska residents.
- The ONLY way an Alaska resident can get T-Mobile service is to transfer their current number from another carrier.
- If you grab a sim card from a store in the lower 48 while you research the T-Mobile plans, know that they recycle the sim numbers after 30 days if not activated. (Mine was a bit over 30 days but thankfully was still available.)
- T-Mobile will mail a sim card to Alaska residents for an additional charge.
- T-Mobile’s cellular partner in Alaska is GCI.
I’m sure prices and features will change over time, but hopefully this gives you a starting point to verify if this is a viable plan for your future travels.
Graphic: courtesy of T-Mobile.