T-Mobile Gives You Free International Data…at Slow 2G Speeds

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express is a Million Mile Secrets advertising partner. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

T-Mobile will be eliminating international data and text fees.

Readers often ask about cell phones while traveling so this could help if you use T-Mobile.

T-Mobile International Data

No International Data & Text Fees On T-Mobile…But it is Slow 2G Speeds

T-Mobile International Data

T-Mobile’s new international plan which begins on October 31, 2013eliminates data and text fees in over 100 countries.

You can also get low international calling rates through T-Mobile’s $10 Stateside International Talk and Text plan.  The plan is only valid for US customers calling to other countries.  You get unlimited free calls to landlines in 70 countries and pay 20 cents (or less, depending on the country) on calls to cell phones.

T-Mobile International Data

T-Mobile Will Also Reduce the Price of Voice Calls

And if you don’t opt for the $10 plan, you can pay a flat fee of 20 cents per minute to call internationally in 115 countries.

The lowered calling rates are helpful if you only need to make a few calls and don’t want to buy a SIM card in your destination and put it in your GSM compatible phone.

Pay For Faster Speed

The free international data & text will be at 2G speeds or ~128 KBPS.  So you can check emails or go on Facebook or Twitter, but it will be very slow!

2G speeds won’t be fast enough to stream music or download large photos or if you need to log onto a VPN to do work.

You’ll have to pay for faster speeds.  I suspect this is the main reason why T-Mobile will stop charging for slower 2G speeds.  They want you to experience using your phone abroad and then get you to pay a little more for faster speeds.

They also don’t make as much as the other cell phone companies on international data charges, so T-Mobile can afford to be different this way.

The rates for higher speeds don’t seem very expensive to me, but I don’t use a lot of data on my phone:

  • $15 for 24 hours of high-speed data up to 100 megabytes
  • $20 for 7 days of high-speed data up to 200 megabytes
  • $50 for 14 days of high-speed data up to 500 megabytes

Restrictions

You can only get free international data and text for a maximum of six weeks.  

And half of your data use must be in the US.  So you can’t sign up with T-Mobile shortly before your international trip and then expect to have unlimited free international data and text when you had no data usage in the US.

Bottom Line

T-Mobile will eliminate international data and text fees in 100 countries starting October 31, 2013.

The big catch is that you’ll only have free access to the lowest 2G speeds and you can’t exceed half the data usage you normally use in the US.

But this is a good option if you’re traveling internationally on vacation and want to be able to check emails and go on social media.  Just don’t expect to do lots of surfing at those slow speeds!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 14,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another travel tip!

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

13 Responses to T-Mobile Gives You Free International Data…at Slow 2G Speeds

  1. Another catch: you must be signed up specifically for a T-Mobile “Simple Choice” post-paid plan. If you have any other type of post-paid plan, such as their “Value Plan,” then you are not eligible for this free-data-roaming offering. However, this qualification doesn’t apply to the $10 Int’l talk/text plan; any T-Mobile customer can get that.

  2. “I suspect this is the main reason why T-Mobile will stop charging for slower 2G reasons.”

    I think you mean “speeds” for the last word. No need to publish my comment, since it’s just an editing note. :)

  3. The way I understand it the 20 cents per minute are only valid if you call inside the country. So e.g. you travel to Germany you can call a German number for 20 cents but if you call back home to the US you still pay their international rates (1.49$). You can text for free though. Also 2G speeds unfortunately won’t give you enough speed for VoIP so you can’t use skype or similar things either.

  4. Let’s hope, as a result that the other US mobile companies will jump at offering lower International data plans and fees. Hello AT&T.com. Hello Verizon.com.

  5. Ok, it’s driving me crazy now that I can’t guess where Jeremy is today, which is the game Tmobile associated with the launch of their new international plan. Anyone know where I can find the answer for each day? Flyertalk?

  6. @Thomas @Janice – Thanks!

    @Markus – Very true that 2G means that we can’t use Skype easily.

    @Alison – I doubt that the others will match. Verizon charges $25 for 100 MB of data, but it would be nice if they extend that to 250 or 500 MB for the same price (though I wouldn’t count on it happening)

  7. @ MMS – could you point out which page has the small print about “half the data usage must be in the US part”? I looked into it when they first announced it but haven’t seen any mention of this. I’m going to Europe on the 25th, so was going to sign up on 20th or 21st and I guess must queue up some downloads on 2G to have enough data overseas? Or would that not matter if I get the $50/500MB two-week pack?

  8. OberBoberGrober

    I have this plan now and it sucks, it’s available for biz accounts since Sept. And the 2G speed is in the 50kbps range, can’t do anything. It’s a good way for them to make you believe that you get something and then they make you buy faster data packages. I always rent my Mifi device from a company called cellomobile.com and never had an issue. For voice I use local sims or the cello sim where it makes sense.

  9. I just switched to TMobile last week and can’t wait to use this feature on my next trip.

  10. @Ivan Y – It is in this Cnet article.

    @OberBoberGrober – I’m not a fan of 2G speeds. I’ve used Verizon at 2G in certain countries and it was slow!

  11. @MMS – thank you! I’d read that article but I guess I don’t interpret this paragraph the same way you are; I believe/hope that you can sigh-up right before the trip and then cancel service after you return and not be forced to “bank” any US data into some form of an allowance:

    “The low speed means it won’t work as a long-term solution for customers looking to stay overseas for a long time, and T-Mobile said it isn’t designed for people moving for a long stretch. Trips overseas can only last six weeks, and over a three-month period, half of the data usage must be in the US, weeding out potential people looking for a loophole.”

    We shall see when Oct. 20 comes around :)

  12. So…not only is T-Mobile giving free International services on their new “Simple Choice” plans…but they’re cheaper than my existing “Value Plan” as well!?!?!??! Methinks I need to switch TODAY. (Currently we have 1000 shared Min, unlimited TXT and I get 5GB High Speed data with tethering, my wife gets just 2GB high speed data). That’s $135 a month. It sounds like we can now upgrade to UNLIMITED talk+text, I can get UNLIMITED High Speed + 2.5GB tether, and she can get 2.5GB High Speed for only $110/mo. $25 savings for better service?!!?!? Um….ok!

  13. Pingback: 200 MB of Free Data For Tablets From T-Mobile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.