International Travel: A pleasant surprise with T-Mobile
April 28, 2014
I’m moderately techy, but only to the extent that I can get new tech and figure it out with the help of manuals and Google. It’s not something I enjoy or have the spare gray matter to spend on, so my favorite tech solutions have become the ones that are really quick to set up and simple to use. And yet I’m not a huge Apple fan. Go figure.
On one of my last international work trips, it was just easier for me to skip using my phone altogether because it was a bit too old, and my international calling plan options were nearly as terrible as roaming. I just used my iPad to make calls via Google Voice or Skype, depending on who I was contacting, and that worked well enough though I was at the mercy of finding free Wifi to make the connection (I still don’t pay for data for my iPad!)
It felt a bit pre-1990s, scheduling phone calls for specific times when I knew where I’d be and that I’d have a WiFi connection. It was ok since I was working and really didn’t need to call people so much, but still, when you’re used to being connected always, it was a pain to lose the instant communication of texting, IMing, and email.
Last year, I changed out our phones, carriers and plans: spent some big money to get PiC and myself good phones that should last a while (*crossed fingers*) and got us all (including my Dad) on a T-Mobile family plan with a very small company discount and saved some big month on the new plan. We pay $92/month for 2 smartphones and 1 dumbphone: unlimited talk, text, data on the Simple Choice plan. Our data is throttled after a certain amount but it doesn’t matter since it still works ok when throttled. It’s not fun but it’s fine.
Happily for my daydreams of easy international travel and staying connected, I discovered that T-Mobile’s really been hustling – they added another awesome benefit to the Simple Choice plan: free international data and texting!
They offer this in about 120 countries, and you don’t have to activate it, you just have to have a Simple Choice plan and your phone just has to be able to connect to the towers in the country of travel. This is the beauty of competition: T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan lets you quit them without a termination fee, but they’ve made it so that you’re much less likely to want to!
With international travel (either for business or pleasure) on the calendar for this or next year, it’s relief to have this just built right into the existing plan so I don’t have that moment of panic at the airport, realizing I don’t remember whether I can use my phone without stratospheric charges. And let’s be honest, I want to be able to video call so I can see Doggle, I hate leaving him behind!