International data roaming. Remember the days when these 3 words would make you panic? You would cringe at the thought of your phone being used while you are away.

We have come a long way since the days of international data roaming, but we still have a long way to go.

International data roaming fees will be a thing of the past in 2020. That is incorrect. Even with an unlimited plan domestically, you will be charged excessive fees as soon as you leave the country.

You need options if you want to stay connected on your next trip, keep in touch with your loved ones, or have a business. I spend over half the year traveling abroad as an airline pilot and travel junkie. Over 30 countries were visited by me in 2019. I used international data in each of them.

There are good, bad and ugly options for international data roaming. I will compare and rank the international data roaming plans offered by US cellular carriers, as well as the international data roaming services offered by local sim card vendors.

I don’t get any benefit or commission on any service. This is an article that is legit.

In this article (click to scroll):

What Kind of Sim Card Should I Get?

If you are a traveler, it really depends on you. If you frequently change countries and don’t want to deal with changing sim cards, you should stick to US cell phone carriers.

Local sim cards are more attractive if you are planning to stick to one country or region for a while. It is assumed that you have the flexibility to end or pause your plan.

The table is at the bottom of the article.

How to travel to Europe as an American is related. Maybe you can attend the winter market.

US Carriers: Ranking Based on International Data Roaming

1) Google Fi

The flexibility offered by the fidelity is greater than that of any other carrier. You can choose an unlimited plan for $70 per month. You can start out with a basic $20 per month plan and pay an additional $10 per gigabyte used.

There is no difference between the data used internationally and domestically in the plan. If you use your data in Hong Kong, it doesn’t matter.

International data: it’s the same as domestic!

The Good:

  • Full-speed data and full-speed hotspot tethering internationally
  • If you are not a data hog, you can pay more for unlimited or less.
  • Texts are free and calls are cheap.
  • No contracts, cancel anytime
  • Video streaming speeds of 480p are used on the unlimited plan.
  • Not as much as T-Mobile.
  • Other phones may not receive the same enhanced data speeds.
  • Depending on the country, call rates can be over $1 per minute. You can check them out before you buy anything.

I think that Google Fi is a great choice for international travelers that are constantly on the move and don’t want to deal with local sim cards. One feature that is not included is unlimited wi-fi on aircraft.

The same deals you would get with a contract carrier will not be available to you. People are encouraged to stick with other plans even if they are not as good.

2) T-Mobile/Sprint: One/One Plus, now called Magenta/Magenta Plus

T-Mobile has some popular plans. There is an appeal to cheap international call rates and free texting. Their plans are usually cheaper than the competition. The 5G network is growing fast.

T-Mobile plans are not perfect. I was on their T-Mobile One Plus for almost 10 years and I am familiar with the good, bad, and ugly. T-Mobile is head and shoulders above the competition because of the good.

Did you know that T-Mobile was born in Germany? The T is for Telekom. You can add one new word to your list.

You will be subject to the same slowdowns in Germany as you would anywhere else in the world as a T-Mobile customer. A heads up.

International data roaming: included!

The Good (internationally in 210+ countries and destinations):

  • Free unlimited texting abroad
  • Calls at $.25/min. abroad

The data speed is 2G to 2G+. No international data roaming fees are charged.

This one is more important to me than I would like to admit, because it is important for flying on Delta. There is no feeling like being able to stay connected on a flight.

In Canada and Mexico, your plan gives you full-speed data for free.

The Bad:

International data is slow. The One/Magenta Plus plan is slow in the first place. 99% of the time, the speeds you see are not fast at all. It’s sufficient for basic research, such as web browsing or reading the news. It isn’t useful for streaming music at high unlimited data sim quality. You will be able to post your stories in a few minutes. They will end up being compressed. Data works well for navigation, but sometimes it takes a while to load. I have used it for many years to navigate around the world. The data is slow in crowded places.

The One/Magenta Plus plan is slow in the first place. 99% of the time, the speeds you see are not fast at all. 512MB of data and free calling for 24 hours are included in the price of the upgraded international data speed passes.

You must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on the U.S. network. Service can be terminated for excessive roaming. I traveled for 2 months. They threatened to shut down my service because I was using so much data outside. During your travels, you should switch to the internet whenever possible and limit your use of the internet at home.

  • If you use a lot of data, your speeds may be reduced until the next bill cycle.

It Works Until it Doesn’t

I was island hopping around the Pacific during the winter. I was in Guam when I decided to take the last-minute flight.

I ran to the gate after rushing to pack, but didn’t have time to book a hotel. T-Mobile doesn’t cover Palau.

I should have looked this up before I went there.

Imagine my shock when I couldn’t connect to the internet after landing in Palau.

This was the first time I’d seen this. I have never had to look up T-Mobile’s international coverage because it is so large.

I first thought about using local sim cards. You don’t have a choice in the country. I found them to be an excellent alternative.

Most international airports have local sim card stands that are competing for your money.

Great deals for unlimited data and anything else you need can be found here. You can also find fraudulent activity.

3) Local Pre-Paid Sim Cards

I have noticed that most of the people I travel with opt for local sim cards. I tried it, and I always wondered why. The secret sauce was what I realized.

Travel lovers tend to be data hogs. They can’t take any breaks in their lives.

It felt like I was at home when I used a local sim card. I had the same reliability and speed. There was only one problem with the phone number. That can be easily solved using free apps.

Buying a sim card from a kiosk is fairly easy.

If you are going to be in one country or region that shares a carrier, you should use a local sim card. If you are only in the country for a couple of days, they may not be right for you. Local sim cards do not make sense for travelers who love hopping from country to country.

Assuming the sim card vendors speak the same language as you, it is easy to decide if it is for you. Sometimes that isn’t the case. It can be difficult to figure out how to get a plan, how to use your service, and how to refill your sim card.

The Good:

  • You won’t be charged for international roaming charges.

You can find better deals in your country. Prices vary a lot. For example, you can find a 1000GB sim card in Montenegro for 5 Euro, or you can pay 200 Euro for one in Austria or Switzerland.

  • You can call home using data-calling on apps like Facebook Messenger, and it’s usually free.
  • For the price you would pay for one day of high-speed usage with T-Mobile, you will usually have the same high-speed data you would enjoy at home.
  • You don’t know what to expect. You need to research the country and the sim cards there before you travel there.
  • The international area code is where your new phone number will begin. Unless they use wi-fi calling or data calling, it may cost more if your friends want to call you.
  • I find language barriers rare when topping off a sim card.
  • Only one country might work for it. This could mean that you won’t have coverage where you need it
  • It is a very small hassle to switch out sim cards.

The pre-paid sim card world is filled with scam. You might be able to get the same package for a third of the price. The local sim card vendors at the airport give themselves a health commission. You can pay for unlimited data, but only after hitting a brick wall. Still technically unlimited.

When purchasing a prepaid sim card, always ask:

  • Is the 4G/LTE unlimited or slow down after a certain usage?
  • Is there an activation fee?
  • What is the coverage area?
  • How do I re-fill my sim card?

You get what you pay for with the Sakura card.

The Sakura card is an example of a local sim card. You would pay a higher price in the US for better service than you would get here.

The best place to keep your old sim card is in your phone case.

4) AT&T

AT&T has been around since the 1800s. I have been a customer of theirs for a decade.

They have several options, including normal AT&T Plans with international day passes. The AT&T day pass is $10 per day, and the AT&T passport is $70 per month.

They are not great plans. AT&T tries to take advantage of your international data roaming by charging you more if you hit a limit or start a new one. The day passes and passport plan are both expensive.

If you’re stuck with AT&T, well… good luck.

The Good:

  • The data allowance is the same as your domestic plan.
  • The AT&T Passport has either 2 or 6 gigabytes of high-speed data per month.
  • If you’re calling home, you’re charged as per your plan. You will be charged international long distance.
  • When you use data, you’ll be charged a $10 daily fee for the next 24 hours.

$10 adds up fast, but additional lines on the same plan are only $5 per day.

The limit is 2 or 6. If you go over your domestic plan limits, be careful.

The Ugly:

  • If you don’t pay for a day pass or AT&T Passport, you’ll be charged high fees. I left AT&T for this reason.

If you plan to use more than 5 gigabytes of high-speed data on a daily basis using the day pass, AT&T would only be cheaper than T-Mobile.

T-Mobile has better plans. The headaches of constantly watching for overage fees get old fast.

5) Verizon

The monthly worst international passes are the most expensive, with small limits on everything. They don’t have a terrible day pass.

The worst day pass available.

The Good:

  • Day pass is only $10 per day.
  • 185 countries are the least covered by any mentioned above.
  • You can pay an extra $10 for each small amount of data after that.
  • The monthly pass only has small limits on talk and text, unlike the competition, and is only $70 or $130.
  • If you don’t pay for a pass, you’ll be charged data, text, and call charges.

That is still better than no international dating plan.

No, limited, or expensive international data roaming plans.

If you’re going to travel outside of the US, you should avoid the following carriers: SmartTalk, Metro, Mint, and Consumer Wireless.

It seems like a great plan until you read reviews.

If you are a customer of any of the carriers, you should get a local sim card.

If you are going to travel a lot, you should consider an international roaming sim card. These work on a single sim card.

International Prepaid Data Roaming Services

There are a lot of sim cards on the market. The initial cost includes a sim card.

You are charged different rates for data, messaging, and calling depending on where you are in the world. Some of the deals are better than others.

These are good options for people who travel a lot between countries and don’t want to use a US carrier. You can use any remaining data at any time.

Because of reduced travel and reduced demand for sim cards, almost all of these providers are running deals. It is a good time to invest.

Even as a European, Chinese, or Brazilian visitor to the USA, here is how you can see it.

1) GigSky

GigSky does not need a sim card. You can use an app for your data usage. Texting and calling will only function over data in certain countries. GigSky is a great deal if you plan on visiting certain countries.

It is nice to not have to change sim cards.

  • You simply use an app instead of using a sim card.
  • You can find pricing for data only per country.
  • You will have to use an app.

KeepGo has the highest initial sim card cost, but most of that is offset by the credit you receive as part of the payment The cheap data rate is my favorite thing about KeepGo. You won’t have to pay $10 for 40 MB of data.

It is only available in 100 countries, less than other providers. You will have to use apps since texting and calling isn’t included. I think that is a better proposition.

They’re also running a 50% off deal!

  • Initial sim card cost of $49
  • There are over 100 countries with 4G andLTE.
  • The $26 per gigabyte deal is better than the other plans.
  • The TextNow app uses your data to make calls and texts.

KnowRoaming offers a low initial cost, full-speed roaming, and packages that are similar to what Google Fi provides.

If you purchase an unlimited daily plan, your speed will be reduced to 128kbps after 250MB. I don’t think it’s very honest.

If you pay for each gigabyte individually, it is actually a decent deal at $26/gigabyte.

Not bad, until you read the fine print.

  • Initial sim card cost of $15
  • Roaming data in over 200 destinations
  • Speeds of up to 4G LTE

You can get unlimited data for $4 per day or $25 per gigabyte for 15 days.

Surfroam has a plan with variable rates all over the world for data, texting and calling. You need to research the rates ahead of time, and watch your usage.

Not the best deals

  • The sim card cost goes towards data.
  • 4G speeds in most countries

The model of WorldSIM is the same as that of Surfroam.

The deals for data are pretty good.

  • You have to purchase either a sim card or credit to do that.
  • You can buy a bundle of data for 30 Euro or 48 Euro. The price varies by country.
  • 4G speeds in countries that offer 4G
  • Depending on the country, calling and texting can be expensive.
  • Includes 2 numbers: one US, one UK

Variable pricing tends to be slightly higher than WorldSIM.

Different packages for different regions. Pick and choose.

  • Initial sim card cost of $20
  • Works at over 200 destinations
  • Messaging costs of $.25 per text to $1.55
  • Calling rates of $.49 per minute to $2
  • Data costs can be as high as $1/MB.

TravelSIM is limited in coverage and follows the same model as WorldSIM, GoSim, and Surfroam. Around 100 countries.

Most of the time, the charges are 85%-95% off.

  • Initial sim card cost around 10 Euro
  • Data in 100+ countries

It costs as much as $1.75 per minute for a call and as little as $1.70 per text.

The most limited in terms of coverage is OneSIM.

OneSIM is behind the competition.

  • Initial sim card cost is $30
  • 4G in only 50+ countries
  • Calls $.25 to $1.55 per minute
  • Texts as high as $1.80 each
  • Data is $.25 to $1.25 per megabyte

It’s Your Call

At least you know that there are ways to stay connected while traveling.

International data roaming providers offer data for $5 per gigabyte and only in certain areas. You would have to pay an extra $17 per month and $5 per month for the convenience, but it’s worth it. The price for data doesn’t vary by area and Fi includes unlimited text and cheap calling.

On a month-to-month basis, you can sign up for one of the international data roaming providers listed above and not have a contract.

If you want to use 5G with a good provider, only travel internationally occasionally, and don’t need high-speed data while abroad, T-Mobile is a great choice. They offer huge discounts on phones and have free wi-fi on airplanes.

Local sim card vendors often have offers that are head and shoulders above the others. You can sometimes find good deals on high-speed data for 5 euro a month.

If you are staying in place for a while, local sim cards might be more appropriate.

To sum it up:

Travel in one country for 2 weeks.

2) Google Fi -or-

International Sim Card

There are other carriers who travel across multiple countries.

2) International Sim Card

4) Multiple Local Sim Cards

T-Mobile has a short business trip.

2) Google Fi

3) Other Carriers (Day Passes)

4) International Sim Card

Local Sim cards are used for long business trips abroad.

2) International Sim Card

3) Local Sim Cards

5) Other Carriers

Thanks for reading There are other travel hacks here.

Share this: Twitter

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.