My first year professionally overseas was in 2010, in Alicante, Spain. When receiving the news from my agent, the first thing that came to mind was that I didn’t know how I’d be able to contact my family and friends in the US.
I had a cellphone plan with AT&T. I added the top international plan to my account. The plan included:
6 GB ($30/GB over)
Unlimited text messages
$.35 phone calls.
***The plan was close to this, but I don’t remember every detail. The plan costs $150 per line monthly.***
Not understanding how data works, my first bill eclipsed $1,200! I didn’t understand that apps are still working on your phone, even when you’re not using it.
The following month, I thought I was clever. I deleted all my unused apps and switched my phone to airplane mode unless I needed it. I was able to save $500. My next bill was $1,000+ this time.
For the next few months, my phone was only used in the house or turned off until I got to a place with WiFi. This was not the way to live, especially in a country where I didn’t understand the language.
Yes, I wanted to contact family and friends, but using apps to translate essential emails and navigation was also important.
My third basketball season overseas (my second year the team gave team phones), while watching an NFL game through a live stream. A commercial promoting a new T-Mobile international plan came on. Ten minutes after watching it, I added the international phone plan. Nine years later, I’m still with T-Mobile and couldn’t be happier.
The T-Mobile international plans have gotten better every year since. Below I’ll show you why T-Mobile has the best available plan for expats abroad that travel back and forth between the US and their current country abroad.
Domestic Use (US)
Unlimited 5G & 4G LTE Data
Unlimited Data (2G and 3G speeds)
WiFi Calling (free to and from US numbers)
$0.25 per minute for all international calls
What I love most about the Magenta Max plan is the worldwide data. I’ve traveled worldwide, and thus far, my data has worked perfectly. I’ve used my data for:
FaceTime video (not always good)
WhatsApp video (mostly good)
Can surf the web (some sites faster than others)
Apps that need data like bank apps, games, and translation apps
If you’re in the US or overseas, you never feel out of touch with the world.
Great customer service
The in-app chat function works great.
Can do everything inside the app: shop, bills, payments, usage data, create separate profiles, coverage maps and information, and much more.
One line: $70
Two lines: $60
Three lines: $47
Magenta Max Plan
One line: $85
Two lines: $70
Three lines: $57
The T-Mobile international plans lower in price the more lines you add to your account. You can add up to eight lines per account.
$5 AutoPay Discount
$10 Usage Discount
In-flight text messaging, plus Wi-Fi, on Gogo-enabled flights. (American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airlines)
Paramount+ one year Free
AppleTV+ one year free
Free Netflix Standard account
The two main competitors of T-Mobile are AT&T and Verizon. Below are the details of each plan and what type of travel they suit best:
AT&T has one international data plan:
International Day Pass $10/Day
Pay a daily fee for each 24-hour period that you talk, text, or use data within an included country. Only one daily fee is charged even when you travel to multiple included countries in the same day. The daily fee applies to each line on your account using International Day Pass.
For each additional line on the same account used in the same 24-hour period, there’s a daily charge of $5.
You’ll never pay more than 10 daily fees per line, per bill period.
Call within or between included countries or back to the US at no extra charge while in an included country.
Sign up once. AT&T International Day Pass stays on your account for whenever you travel internationally unless you remove it.
The AT&T International Day Pass works great for those traveling internationally for work and/or vacation. Using the international plan only when needed is a great feature.
Verizon has two international data plans:
Travel Pass $10/Day
Use your phone as you do at home with unlimited calling and texting along with 4G LTE data. Once added, you’ll only be charged on the days you call, send texts or use data on your device while abroad, so there’s no need to remove TravelPass once you return.
TravelPass can be used in 185+ countries.
Your domestic data allowance*
International Monthly Plan $100/Month
With an International Monthly Plan, you can choose to add a one-time bundle of minutes, texts, and data, or you can opt for that bundle to remain active until you decide to remove it.
The International Monthly plan can be used in 185+ countries.
1000 sent SMS
Unlimited received SMS
5 GB data
The Verizon Travel Pass plan, similar to the AT&T Day Pass plan, is perfect for people traveling for work or vacation. The flexibility given for starting at $10 per day can save you money if you’re only overseas a few days a month. The International Monthly plan is costly for such a low data limit.
The T-Mobile international plans are perfect for expats overseas. The Magenta plans give you unlimited data and text messaging for $70 and $85. While your data speed won’t compare to the AT&T and Verizon plans, after one week abroad, the T-Mobile plan will be cheaper and more reliable.
The AT&T and Verizon plans are great for business travelers and short vacations overseas. With the ability to use as you go at $10 per day while having high-speed data, it is a great add-on to have on your phone bill.
It’s great to be anywhere in the world and have the ability to text with loved ones, get emails, and stay updated with what’s going on everywhere else. You don’t have the feeling of getting stranded when you have one of these T-Mobile plans.
Until next time, before you pack your bags, don’t forget to PACK YOUR POINTS!
I am not a financial advisor and highly recommend doing your own homework about the credit card you want to apply for! All of the content on my website, page and channel are for entertainment purposes only.
If you’d like my opinion or help in forming an idea of what works, I’m here to help.