Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Having an international data plan can make international travel a lot easier. You have instant access to maps and can keep in touch with your travel companions without worrying about purchasing a new SIM in each country.
For years there’s been 1 big issue with international data plans: the cost. Plans were expensive and had low data limits with limited coverage. Depending on your itinerary, this could have added a huge extra expense even though it may not have worked for the entirety of your travels.
Thankfully, though, that’s no longer the case.
For the past few years, T-Mobile has offered most of its post-paid customers free international data and texting in over 210 countries worldwide. And while this has a few quirks, its price-point and list of supported countries make it one of the best mobile data options for most travelers.
In this article we’ll walk you through all of the quirks and features of T-Mobile’s international data plans. We’ll take a look at the different plans available, discuss what features each plan includes, and show you which countries are supported.
By the end of the article, you should have an understanding of if T-Mobile’s international data plans are right for you.
Let’s get started!
As discussed earlier, T-Mobile includes free international data and text with 2 of its 3 smartphone plans: Magenta® and Magenta® Plus.
This sounds great on paper (because it is!), but there’s 1 major quirk to be aware of: your data is limited to 2G speeds at roughly 128 Kbps on the Magenta plan and 256 Kbps on the Magenta® Plus plan.
This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, though. Even though data is slow, it’s more than enough for using Google Maps and sending texts through WhatsApp and iMessage. However, you won’t be able to stream video, post photos, or otherwise use the internet without some serious loading time. In many cases, we’ve seen web pages actually time out and not load at all.
The good news is that there’s no data cap when you’re roaming. This means you can use as much data (and send as many texts) as you’d like, and you’ll never have to worry about an exorbitant bill at the end of a long trip abroad. However, the amount of data you’ll actually be able to use will be limited due to the plan’s exceptionally low speed.
Do note that travel to Canada and Mexico is not limited to these low speeds. Magenta® and Magenta® Plus plans get 5 GB of complimentary 4G LTE per month in the 2 countries, then revert to the slower speeds we discussed earlier. This means you’ll have a largely seamless experience when traveling within North America, something invaluable for business travelers and tourists alike.
While texting and mobile data are included, note that calling is still subject to an extra charge. We’ve found that most countries charge $0.20 to $0.25 per minute, with others charging slightly more. We’ll include calling costs in the supported countries table later in the article.
Need something faster than 2G data abroad? Thankfully, T-Mobile offers a variety of international data packages that let you use full 4G LTE speeds when traveling to any supported country worldwide. There are 3 of these plans currently offered and each comes with a different data limit and — naturally – price point.
Each of these plans has 1 thing in common: data packages aren’t restricted to 1 specific country. If you’re planning a trip around Europe, you can use the same high-speed data package throughout the entirety of your journey. You don’t need to worry about notifying T-Mobile or dropping extra money when crossing another border.
Additionally, each of the 3 plans includes Smartphone Mobile Hotspot at no extra charge. This means that multiple people can share 1 international data pass over Wi-Fi from the subscribed device, making it perfect for families and couples traveling together.
Here’s a look at each of the 3 high-speed data packages:
The 512 MB International Day Pass costs $5 per day and includes — as the name suggests — 512 MB of high-speed international data for 1 day.
This plan also includes unlimited calling for the day, making it perfect for keeping in touch with friends, family, and business partners back home.
The 5 GB International Pass includes 5 GB of data and unlimited calling for up to 10 days. This plan costs $35 per 10 day period, making it a great option for week-long trips around the world.
T-Mobile’s highest international data pass is the 15 GB International Plan. This plan costs $50 and lasts 30 days, giving you a whopping 15 GB of data and unlimited calling to work with.
With so many data packages available, it might seem hard to pick 1 for your trip. Here’s a quick look at why you may pick 1 plan over another.
Free international roaming at 2G speeds is automatically enabled. When you land in a new country, you’ll get a text message confirming that you’re in a supported country and that you’re not liable for charges (see example above).
Signing up for an international data package is simple, too. The plans don’t require any type of contract or other commitment, and you can sign up for a plan whenever you want through the T-Mobile app or website. Here’s how to add a data package through the T-Mobile app:
That’s all there is to it. Your international data package will start on the date you set, and you can enjoy high-speed international data wherever you are in the world.
T-Mobile offers mobile data roaming in 210+ countries worldwide. You can view the entire list of countries on T-Mobile’s international travel website — just type in the name of the country you plan to visit , see if mobile data and texting are supported, and check the price of pay-as-you-go calls.
Note that most tourist-heavy countries are supported — in fact, we’ve found it hard to find countries that aren’t supported by T-Mobile’s international data plans. However, we recommend checking before your trip regardless so you’re not met with any surprise mobile data charges.
As you can see, T-Mobile offers pretty compelling mobile data plans. Before you make a purchasing decision, it’s important to take a look at the pros and cons of T-Mobile’s international plans in 1 place. So without further ado, here they are:
Overall, we think that T-Mobile’s international data offerings are stellar because of its diverse variety of international data plans. Those that just need maps and texting can stick to the free base plan, while business travelers and others that need faster data and mobile hotspot can upgrade to a data package.
Further, we’re also huge fans of the peace of mind you get with T-Mobile’s international plans. Since all Magenta® and Magenta® Plus customers get complimentary data, there’s no worrying about overage charges if you run out of high-speed data. Just make sure to keep an eye on your calling as unlimited calling is only included if you purchase a data package.
T-Mobile Essentials plan only includes 2G data in Canada and Mexico. Other countries are not included with this plan.
Most modern smartphones are configured to work internationally. You may want to check your phone’s owner’s manual or call T-Mobile to check if you have an older phone or are unsure if your cell phone works outside of the United States.
Yes, T-Mobile offers discounted service for those over 55 and active members of the military. These plans are called Magenta® Unlimited 55 and Magenta® Military. Check T-Mobile’s website for pricing and further details on these plans.
Yes! All T-Mobile customers get unlimited messaging (iMessage, Facebook, etc.) and 1 hour of free in-flight internet on Gogo-enabled flights. Plus, Magenta® Plus customers get unlimited in-flight internet on all Gogo flights.
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Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City.
He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt. Andrew formerly worked for The Points Guy and is now Senior Money Editor at CNN Underscored.
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