Review of tmobile's new international plan

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by tommy777, Dec 30, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Folks,

    You've all probably noticed t-mobiles extensive marketing for their new free international data and 20 cents per minute voice plan, called Simple Choice.

    As many of us travel internationally and many of us also knows/thinks that tmobile sucks, I wanted to write a short review of my two first months with t-mobile.

    First of all, I did not ditch Verizon for domestic use. I have unlimited domestic data with them and it gets more important to have unlimited access every day. I also travel all over the US and need to be reached.

    I signed up for the Simple Choice plan with t-mobile which costs 50 dollars a month for unlimited talk, text and 500 meg of data. There are two other option, a 2,5 gig plan for 60 bucks a month and an unlimited data plan that costs 70 dollars a month. With the last plan, your smartphone usage is unlimited, but your (free) hotspot function on your phone will only give you 2,5 gig of LTE/4G data domestically, after that, you drop to 2 meg speeds for the rest of your billing cycle.

    Since I had no plans using the phone domestically, I chose the medium plan. I also added an iPad for 20 dollars a month to use internationally.

    So my total cost per month is 80 dollars for 1 iPhone 5s and an iPad mini. That`s with world coverage to 120+ countries.

    I terminated my Verizon international plan that costs 30 dollars pr. month for 100 meg and discounted calling, which brought my new total extra cost at 50 dollars per month.

    When I leave the country, I forward my primary Verizon cell to my t-mobile cell and turn it off my Verizon cell all together.

    The t-mobile commercials promises you 128k while traveling internationally. Fortunately for me (and others with t-mobile) most countries don't support those low speeds anymore, so in the 14 countries I visited, I`ve gotten 3G in all of them! You can purchase up to higher speeds, but most countries don`t support that, so I would advice against it.

    From the get go, I started using my phone overseas exactly like I would my domestic phone. Data is free and calling is only 20 cents per minute in over 120 countries. Verizon charges FROM 1,29 per minute

    Got my first bill in the mail last week and there was 0 data charges from all the 3 weeks I traveled in Europe and South America. I had downloaded 659 megs on my iPad and 445 on my iPhone. I had called 354 minutes, so my total roaming charge for voice was 70 dollars and 60 cents. Nothing for data. This usage would have cost me over 600 dollars with Verizon!!

    I highly recommend tmobile for international use. They roam with just about the same partners as ATT and Verizon, so their crappy reception in the US is not a factor.

    But domestically, tmobile really stinks. I've been traveling with both my Verizon covered Ipad and my tmobile one and Verizon knocks the socks off Tmobile anywhere. At my house I have 1 bar and rarely get 4G on both phone and iPad with tmobile, while Verizon gives me 5 bars with LTE. That's in a highly populated Chicagoland area.

    So there you have it. Hope this helps
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Why did you buy the middle plan if you're not using it at all domestically? Does the data allowance part of the plan also cover the international usage?
     
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  3. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    tommy777, thank you for your review of this TMobile international plan! My experience mirrors yours.

    I have a TMobile phone for work, and a Verizon phone for personal (domestic) use. The Verizon works just fine everywhere that I use it, all over the continental US and Hawaii.

    The TMobile phone is near worthless domestically, and I can't get a decent reception inside or outside the Washington, D.C., metro area! The last time that I tried to use my TMobile phone in an airport (IAD) to read my work emails, I couldn't do so, since the phone needed to update my service, and it couldn't update over the poor wireless connection!

    I use the TMobile work phone internationally, where it seems to work just fine on roaming capability, or hooked up to a hotel's wireless internet.

    Newscience
     
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  4. jbcarioca
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    Tommy and new science, thanks for posting! I have considered doing the T-Mobile plan myself and have used it for US only as a prepaid for some years. The poor US connections have been far outweighed by the pay-as-you-go $3.00 per day option that makes both data and voice cheaper by far than any other option when I travel to the US. I have considered the option you're using for everything other than home in Brazil and now I'm even thinking of using T-Mobile for that since it would be cheaper than my postpaid domestic Brazil plan. My only worry is whether they'd eventually restrict extensive single country non-US use. Have you any insight regarding that issue?
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Pretty sure there is something in the T&Cs about that. And not in your favor.

    ETA: Among other bits (their T&C is near impossible to get all in one place), this (emphasis mine):
     
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  6. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Wandering Aramean, it could be just me, but an explanation of abbreviations that aren't to be found in the Milepoint look-up would be useful. I'm willing to bet that "ETA" here doesn't mean "estimated time of arrival", and am curious as to what "T&C" stand for. :rolleyes:
    Thanks! Newscience
     
  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Edited to add
    Terms & conditions

    The latter is a pretty standard abbreviation in the world.
     
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  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    agreed!

    side question; do the amount of users accessing a cell tower have an effect on reception? (I ask as just recently was up in Northern Wisconsin (wintertime = few users) and had strong 2G coverage with TMobile but during the summer time (LOTS of users), I can get a weak signal & am on the Edge network.)
     
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  9. Seacarl
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    I have been using T-Mobile for a while, and I added the international feature the day it became available. I have to say that I love it - data and texting without any concern for cost - and if you enable WiFi calling and are at a hotspot like a hotel, then even calling for free, else 20c. Simply guilt-free usage. I've used it in France, Germany, Japan and Thailand. It all just worked. I found that the data speeds were sufficient to use Facebook and maps (I did download the map databases before traveling.)

    I find that T-Mobile is decent here in Seattle (better than ATT and Sprint, trails Verizon.) The other feature that I love is tethering, which I frequently use at the gate since my carrier boards flights so early and doesn't have WiFi... It says tethering doesn't work internationally but I haven't tried it yet to see if it really is blocked.

    For anyone traveling internationally and paying their own cellphone bill, T-Mobile is worth a hard look with this new feature.
     
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  10. tommy777
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    According to the tmobile rep I spoke to when I signed up, yes. Usually, 500 meg will be just fine, but as 2,5 gig is only 10 dollars more, I opted for that now that I'm out of the country extra much. You can easily change the plans yourself online, if needed. I will probably do that for April and May -- if I remember ;)
     
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  11. Seacarl
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    I think those amounts relate to your USA data consumption at high speeds. When you reach that amount it throttles your bandwidth as they are all unlimited data plans. I believe you are supposed to only get throttled bandwidth abroad and that it doesn't matter how much USA data is in your plan.
     
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  12. tommy777
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    Just as an FYI, wifi calling is not available on any Apple products. I use Skype for wifi calls.

    I did not try to tether, but will do so when I go to Europe in a couple of weeks
     
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  13. tommy777
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    Thanks. I'll call them again and see what they said and change the plan to the minimum one then
     
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  14. Seacarl
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    I'm not sure whether the iPhone supports the tethering. I am using a Nokia Windows 8 phone. Both the WiFi calling and the tethering are integrated into the phone and easy to set up and use.
     
  15. Seacarl
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    I would make sure to turn the phone on when you are in USA even if you don't use it much, so that if they check your usage they can see that you are truly a USA resident.
     
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  16. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I'm going to have to take my iPad Retina Mini into a T-Mo store. I have a paid Simple Choice plan that's eligible for int'l data, but they were super-unhelpful about it when it didn't work at all in Costa Rica or Nicaragua. Accordingly, I've kept my phone on AT&T for now.
     
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  17. desamo

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    It turns out that I have an incompatible plan with int'l data, and was lied to about that in Costa Rica by T-Mo support.

    Essentially, if you don't have an existing T-Mo plan and you go through the default setup on an iPad, you will never be eligible for int'l data roaming. Worse, they can't change your plan. I went to the T-Mo store to fix this (assuming I'd need a new SIM and/or number), but they literally rolled the door down in my face and turned out the light.

    Really really an unhappy camper.
     
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  18. tommy777
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    You need to go to another store. There are no contracts or any other obligations, this just sounds really weird
     
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  19. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    That's from second level support.
     
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  20. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    And more:

    I really can't make this stuff up.
     
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  21. tommy777
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    This absolutely makes sense and explains your problem. A tablet is an add on to a post paid plan called Simple Choice, the marketing is clear on this.
     
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  22. tommy777
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    iPhone has a tethering mobile hotspot function on the phone that works great.

    You have to install a software on the os to run tmobiles wifi calling, so it will unfortunately not work with an iPhone.
     
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  23. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    No, you can buy, from T-Mobile, a tablet only and get intl data.

    What you can't do is buy it from elsewhere and get the same plan, even if the SIM is T-Mobile.

    And let's not forget T-Mobile's marketing about there really being no plans.
     
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  24. jbcarioca
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    While pointing out limitations there is one on the iPhone 5S too. If you buy the T-Mobile option from Apple you get a T-Mobile sim and an unlocked phone. If you buy the same phone from T-Mobile you get a locked pone taht they will agree to unlock after two months. If you do want to use other carriers you're far better buying from Apple, which has the same price anyway.
     
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  25. desamo

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    Got an exec response from letter to CEO. They can convert my iPad account into the correct one, I just need to call the exec offices on Thursday. Fascinating on the iPhone plan issues, jbcarioca.

    Also, here's some other nuances from a follow-up email:

    1. On a postpaid data-line-only account (no voice), you can't get the 200MB free data for life feature (alone), but you can get the 200MB added onto a paid amount. So a 500MB plan that costs $20/mo, you'd really get 700MB.

    2. (this is a direct quote from the email) In order to have only the free 200 MB, then we would either need to have the data only line active on a postpaid voice account (where then the $10 monthly fee associated with this would be automatically credited each month), or set up as your current account is, as a Pay in Advance account (but then it does not have the ability to internationally roam).
     
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