We’ve all been there. Your plane touches down in a new country, you’re filled with excitement and anticipation. The flight attendant announces that your smartphone no longer needs to be in airplane mode and you look down at your phone, unsure of whether or not hitting that plane icon on your phone will result in massive charges on your bill next month.
So you wait.
You search for wifi at the airport. There is none.
You grab a taxi to your hotel or Airbnb and immediately check for the wifi code, because you’ve already missed a couple of snap-able moments, plus you need to let your mama know you made it in one piece.
With so much to think about when planning a dope international trip, sometimes we forget to check on simple things like what coverage we have from our cell phone carriers while we’re overseas and often end up tethered to wifi sources instead of roaming freely in our new destination.
Well, now there’s no excuse not to confidently turn on your international roaming when the plane lands like a local.
We have compiled the international talk, text, and data plans for the four biggest carriers in the U.S., Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint so you can once and for all know what you’re actually covered for.
And if you’re thinking about switching carriers (like I just did — buh-bye Sprint) international coverage offerings is something you’ll definitely want to consider before making the leap.
Plan: Monthly International Plan
If you have a Verizon plan, you can buy a Monthly International Plan once for short trips (the plan expires after a month) or on a monthly recurring charge if you’re a regular jetsetter.
See the chart for fees associated with each plan option.
No Plan: Pay as You Go Pricing
If you haven’t purchased one of Verizon’s Monthly International Plans, but you’re abroad, it does get a little pricey, so be sure to use wifi when possible or prepare to pay the charges listed below.
See Verizon for more details.
Plan: Roam North America
AT&T’s Roam North America plan is included in your plan if you have an AT&T Unlimited Plus or AT&T Unlimited Choice. In which case, you’ve got unlimited talk and text and access to your plan data while in Mexico or Canada.
Plan: AT&T International Day Pass
Now, if you’ve got AT&T Unlimited Plus, AT&T Unlimited Choice, or Mobile Share, you can take use your plan in over 100 countries for $10/day with AT&T’s International Day Pass. You can enjoy unlimited talk and text, and use the data in your plan. You can purchase the pass at any time.
Plan: AT&T Passport
Starting at $40, AT&T Passport offers several 30-day access options that give you unlimited text, unlimited wifi access and talk and data access for a fee in over 200 countries. You have the option to elect recurring 30-day passports.
No Plan: Pay-Per-Use
Just like Verizon, if you don’t purchase a plan or have some other international coverage, you’ll be facing some pretty hefty fees if you use your plan.
See AT&T for more details.
Plan: Sprint Global Roaming
Sprint keeps it a little more simple with their international coverage options. Sprint customers have the benefit of Sprint Global Roaming included in their plans, which gives them:
- Free texts
- Free data up to 2G
- 20¢ per minute talk
- In 180+ countries
Not too shabby. And one of the reasons why I stayed with Sprint for so long.
Plan: Speed Data Plan
I recently learned that Sprint offers passes that can give you faster data with speeds up to LTE in 50+ countries.
See Sprint for more details.
Plan: T-Mobile ONE
Off top, T-Mobile gives its customers unlimited data at speeds up to 2G plus free texting in 140+ countries and destinations. That’s included just because.
In Mexico and Canada, you get unlimited talk, text, and data up to 5GB at up to 4G LTE speeds.
T-Mobile also gives you an hour of free wifi on Gogo-enabled flights. How dope is that?
Plan: T-Mobile ONE Plus International
Plus if you add T-Mobile ONE Plus International to your T-Mobile ONE plan you’ll get:
- Unlimited in-flight wifi on Gogo-enabled flights
- Unlimited mobile hotspot
- Unlimited stateside calling to landlines in 70+ countries and to mobile lines in 30+ countries
See T-Mobile for more details.
I really like the simplicity of Sprint and T-Mobile’s plans and that they included free international coverage in a wide variety of countries since we all already pay a grip for their services.
Unfortunately, Sprint’s service where I live in Baltimore is pretty trash, so I’m finally saying goodbye to Sprint and I’m finna see wassup with T-Mobile.
I’ll let y’all know how it goes. Wish me luck.
Which carrier have you had the most international success with?
What other methods do you use to stay connected while overseas?