Is AT&T’s New Passport Plan the Solution to Staying Connected Abroad?

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Is AT&T’s New Passport Plan the Solution to Staying Connected Abroad?

Million Mile SecretsIs AT&T’s New Passport Plan the Solution to Staying Connected Abroad?Million Mile Secrets Team

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AT&T has announced new Passport plans to help you stay connected overseas.

Is ATTs New Passport Plan The Solution To Staying Connected Abroad
Get Free SENT Text Messages and Free International Wi-Fi Hotspots With AT&T Passport But Is That Enough?

AT&T’s Passport gives you 3 plans ranging in price from $30 to $120 per 30 day period.  However, you will also pay extra to make calls and for text messages you receive.

So is this the right choice for you?

AT&T Passport

 Link:   Sign-up for AT&T Passport

With AT&T Passport you get free sent messages, free Wi-Fi hotspots in over 35 countries, and you can choose from 3 data & talk plans:

  • 120 megabytes and $1 per minute for $30
  • 300 megabytes and 50 cents per minute for $60
  • 800 megabytes and 35 cents per minute for $120
Is ATTs New Passport Plan The Solution To Staying Connected Abroad
You Can Choose From 3 Plans

You can use AT&T Passport in over 150 countries.

Keep in mind, these prices are in addition to your monthly wireless service bills.

How Does This Compare to Other Plans?

Let’s take a look at how AT&T Passport compares to other plans:

ServiceMonthly FeeDataVoiceText
AT&T PassportYour choice:


• $60

Based on monthly fee

• 120 megabytes (then 25 cents per megabyte)

• 300 megabytes (then 20 cents per megabyte)

• 800 megabytes (then 15 cents per megabyte)
Based on monthly fee

• $1 per minute

• 50 cents per minute

• 35 cents per minute
• Unlimited SENT messages

• Received messages charged based on your current plan
T-Mobile Simple Choice$50Unlimited• 20 cents per minuteUnlimited
Verizon Global Voice & DataN/A• $25 for 100 megabytes

• $25 for 100 megabytes after
• $4.99 per month for an average of 20% savings on the per-minute rate in applicable countries (actual savings vary by country)• 50 cents per message sent

• 5 cents per message received

• 25 cents for sent and received multimedia messages plus data charges

It’s nice to have free messages, but it’s only for sent messages.  You will then pay the domestic rate for received text messages (this will vary based on your wireless plan).

You also get to use AT&T’s international Wi-Fi hotspots.  But I don’t want to pay $30+ for free Wi-Fi, when many hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi anyway.

For instance, you can get free internet at Choice Hotels, Club Carlson, and IHG hotels.

And certain hotel credit cards such as the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve give you internet with elite status.

This could be a good deal if you plan on staying in a hotel that doesn’t have free Wi-Fi and there is an AT&T hotspot near-by.  That’s because Wi-Fi at a hotel can cost ~$20 per day!

However, the most disappointing part about AT&T’s new Passport plans are the high talk rates.

Is ATTs New Passport Plan The Solution To Staying Connected Abroad
Don’t Plan on Using Your Phone to Make Calls With AT&T Passport Because 35 Cents to $1.00 Per Minute Adds Up Fast!

Verizon offers a good option if you only want to use your phone to check your email, Facebook, and use maps.  That’s because you can pay $20 for 100 megabytes  But text and voice are still pay as you go, which can get costly!

T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan is the best overall deal.  With this plan you get unlimited data and text.  You also get cheaper calls at 20 cents per minute.

However, with T-Mobile you may have to contend with SLOW 2G speeds and spotty service.

T-Mobile claims 3G speeds in nearly all of the UK, but 2G in Thailand.  Check out T-Mobile coverage areas to see what service is available where you’ll be traveling.

Many folks say T-Mobile has good coverage in cities but is lacking in rural areas.

Other Ways to Stay Online Overseas

In addition to wireless carries there are also websites and apps that can work to help international travelers.

Here’s a few options:

  • FaceTime – If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Macbook and a Wi-Fi connection you can video and voice chat with other FaceTime users for free
  • Rebtel – Download the app to your smartphone and call and text other Rebtel users via Wi-Fi or 3G for free.  There are pay per minute rates for all other calls.
  • Skype – Download the app to your computer or smartphone and get free calls, video chat, and instant messaging to other Skype users with Wi-Fi or 3G.  Pay per minute or monthly rates for all other calls.
  • Viber – Download the app to your smartphone to call and text message other Viber users for free using a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.  All other calls charged at per minute rates.

Bottom Line

AT&T’s new Passport plans offer a new option for international wireless service.  You can choose from 3 plans that cost $30 to $120 (depending on the amount of data) for 30 days.  These prices are in addition to your monthly wireless bill.

With the AT&T Passport you get free SENT messages and free access to AT&T’s international hotspots.  This could be a good deal if the hotspots are in convenient locations and free Wi-Fi isn’t available at your hotel.

That said, the T-Mobile international plan is the better value.  But it still has lots of flaws.

You can also use apps like Rebtel and Skype to call, message, and video chat with other users for free.

How do you stay connected when traveling internationally?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I was recently on a trip to Canada with my son’s hockey team – I forgot to switch over to an international plan before leaving. The bill was huge – ouch! People need to remember that this applies to trips to Canada and Mexico too

Million Mile Secrets


t-mobile $50/month flat rate for unlimited data & sms home & while traveling internationally. If, like most travelers, you just use VoIP for phone calls a $20/month data-only (and SMS) plan is even cheaper.

Verizon has finally gotten their act somewhat together. $2/day on top of your normal rate for Mexico and Canada. Sadly, $10/day elsewhere. So my iPhone will just connect via my t-mobile hotspot while I’m traveling this year.

AT&T has the least appealing options.

Never forget that this is always in flux. This blog posting is from *2014*. Everything is different now.

The AT&T Passport plan was extremely expensive and was close to useless during our month-long trip to Scandinavia and Germany. It’s important to note that you pay for the plan above and beyond — not instead of– your regular monthly plan. So essentially you are paying twice. Secondly, the hotspots are only in major cities and, as an AT&T rep told me over the phone, mostly in airports. Others have already pointed out that you will likely have wifi in your hotel, cafes, restaurants, and even a rural vacation rental. What you most want is texting and calling. This worked mostly seamlessly with people back home, so that was nice. However, I couldn’t call our friends and relatives in Europe without changing the country and regional area codes several times (the format seemed to be different in each country) and texting simply didn’t work most of the time. Since texting wasn’t working, and we needed instant communication to coordinate with each other while on the go, we racked up an unexpectedly high phone bill in a matter of days. Very frustrating and a waste of money. Since my husband just has a pay as you go phone for home, we also bought local SIM cards from gas stations that were much better. We’ve done this in the past, too, often where you buy a starter kit with a simple phone. I think that is the way to go.

Made the mistake of signing myself and teen boys up for AT&T passport plan for a trip to Mexico (Aug 2015) to avoid extra charges while traveling. What a complete joke…first of all, we used the hotel free wi-fi at the hotel, so the only place we ended up wanting to use the Passport was at the Cancun airport while waiting for several hours before boarding to come home. Guess what…the Cancun airport is a fairly large airport and didn’t have a hotspot for AT&T. If the Cancun airport can’t be a hotspot, you are likely going to have a hard time finding wifi connection in many places. Don’t waste your money…just go without and use free wi fi in hotels and coffee shops.

I love t-mobile’s international service. It literally just works. Used it for half a dozen countries last year. Sadly, their service is not very where I live, so it’s still Verizon or me at home. But I turn on t-mobile on my android phone when I travel. Unless I’m going to be in one place for a long time. This upcoming trip to NZ I’ll just get a “travelers” package from Vodafone.

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