Is T-Mobile ONE Plus Worth It For International Travel?

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Last June I made the switch from AT&T to T-Mobile, which has been nearly life changing for me. I’m not very good with technology to begin with, and am also a creature of habit, so making the switch was a big move for me. While I’ll admit my AT&T plan probably wasn’t optimized, my switch to T-Mobile was beneficial in so many ways:

  • My T-Mobile bill is less than 50% of what my AT&T bill used to be
  • I receive free 2G data and 20 cent per minute calls in 140+ countries
  • I can tether, which I wasn’t able to do on my old AT&T plan
  • I receive an hour of free Gogo wifi per flight (on my phone), plus unlimited messaging

Personally I haven’t noticed any difference in terms of the quality of data within the US, so I can’t recommend the switch enough. While everyone’s circumstances are different, the grass was most definitely greener on the other side for me.

However, I’ll admit that the 2G speeds internationally are slowly getting to me. It used to be that the novelty of having any sort of data abroad was good enough, as previously my phone stayed in airplane mode when traveling abroad, and I relied on hotel wifi. 2G does the trick for texting, emails, maps, etc., though it takes a really long time for stuff to load. Like I said, this is still much better than what I used to have, but I do spend a lot of time waiting for stuff to load.

Last August T-Mobile ONE Plus was introduced, which comes with all kinds of additional perks.

T-Mobile-One

However, for me there are two additional perks that I find worthwhile. One is that you get unlimited Gogo wifi on your phone, rather than just an hour of wifi. That’s something that’s great, though I’m not sure how much I’d pay for it, so let’s take that out of the equation for now.

The other perk is that T-Mobile ONE Plus offers international data speeds of up to 256KB in 140+ countries, which is double the speed of the current data I receive internationally.

However, I’ve heard mixed reviews of how it performs in practice. Some say they don’t notice that data is actually faster, while others say it’s marginally better. You guys have consistently proven to be an amazing resource, so I’d love to hear from those of you who have upgraded.

Is T-Mobile ONE Plus a significant upgrade in terms of data speeds when traveling internationally? Are speeds consistently twice as fast, or how often does the “up to twice the speed” promise kick in?

If I’m looking at this correctly, I currently pay $100 per month for two lines, so upgrading the two lines to T-Mobile ONE would cost an extra $40, and then it would be an extra $10 per line to upgrade to T-Mobile ONE Plus, meaning the total upgrade would be $30 per person per month. I spend a lot of time abroad so if that gets me consistently faster data then I consider it to be worthwhile, but if it makes a difference every now and then, I’ll probably stick to what I have now.

I’d love to hear what experiences you guys have had with T-Mobile ONE Plus!

Comments

  1. I use T-Mobile internationally and if I don’t get good service or I’m going somewhere for a while where I want high-speed data, I just buy a local SIM for $10.

  2. It’s nothing short of awful. We have a business acount, I switched near 20 of our lines over to T-Mobile simply because of the international plan. It works great if your the occasional, have your phone in your pocket and use it only in emergencies person while traveling. I use my phone. I was in Japan in July and literally had to be on the search for wifi the entire time.

    2 weeks ago I was in Dubai with my wife. She has ATT. She called ATT and for 40$ paid for the international “passport”. Her phone worked PERFECTLY (data) while mine would take minutes to load up a website. Complete joke……I’d rather pay 40$ each time I travel or monthly for the passport and have something I can use vs. not usable data.

  3. I have T-Mobile One. When I recently went to Japan, I had 3G/4G LTE Through NTT Docomo. I didn’t want to be charged for 4G LTE though, so I went into my phone settings to switch it to 2G/3G only and it served me well getting around in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. Maps were decently fast, I could message via FB Messenger, load photos, etc. pretty easily. Most of my friends got 4G LTE hotspots for the trip but my 3G allowed me to go off the grid by myself whenever I wanted without worrying about being in range for data.

  4. If you go to the T-Mobile website (https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans) it says two lines are $120/month total. Not sure why they’re offering you $140/month.

    I recently switched from Verizon and coverage in cities and suburbs is the same as Verizon. It’s so much cheaper. I’m almost very in a rural area.

    I haven’t been outside the U.S. yet so will look forward to seeing what that’s like.

  5. Don’t know how much data you use, but if speed is the issue I would just get something like a Flexiroam instead of upgrading, and just use the T-Mobile data as fallback.

  6. @CP – The issue I have with Project Fi, is that it’s not iPhone compatible – or, you can use an iPhone but there are some limitations.

  7. I just go with the $30 a month TMobile data plan (5GB a month + 100mins). I use Google Voice + Hangouts for my calls. It’s VoIP so it uses data but I’m under WiFi a lot (at home and traveling).

    So when I’m overseas I buy a cheap SIM with data. People back home can reach me via the regular number (calls and text) and it only uses data. The local SIM also has a local number which can be very helpful in some places.

    It’s not as easy as T-Mobile plan but I like being able to call and text from my computer via Hangouts.

  8. So I recently switched to T-Mobile One Plus (there are two versions, the $10 extra per line one already comes with 2x 2G and unlimited gogo inflight WiFi).

    I recently used it in Denmark, UK, France and Hong Kong. It is noticeably faster than the original 2G plan (which I have been using for the past 3-4 years).

    It is still not amazingly fast, but the speed increase is noticeable. My gf is a flight attendant and I have also upgraded her plan, she also agrees that it is faster. For $10 per line a month, I think it’s well worth it, especially when you can remove the option whenever you want m.

  9. You can keep your current plan and just get a Data Pass (10 days/1gb) for $20 if you feel like you need faster data.

  10. @ CP — Agreed. Over here in Fi-land we’re using 4G/LTE when it’s available internationally.

    @ Daniel — The real limitation is that if you don’t have a Google phone (I don’t), you’re always on T-Mobile domestically rather than switching back and forth with Sprint. You also don’t have access to the Project Fi app, which is what gives you automatic wifi calling when it’s available. But neither of those are deal-breakers for me, and we pay roughly $60/month for two lines, so the savings are worth the slight hassle.

  11. I recently upgraded to the One Plus plan which includes ‘double’ the speed like you say. I personally notice a difference. Unlike others, I find buying a local SIM is a pain if you’re just passing through somewhere, and I’ve found T-Mobile to fit my needs best, even with marginally questionable domestic coverage.

    Sidenote: you may not need to switch plans entirely. I was able to toggle One Plus as a separate data add-on for $10/mo and it can be done independently per line.

  12. Ive used it for 18 months and travel a huge amount. It works well in nearly every country Ive been to. In Europe you certainly get better than 2G but not the fastest 4G. If you truly want 4G worldwide then you are going to pay a huge amount. I used to have Verizon bills of $500pm when travelling and that was limiting how often I used the internet or email.

  13. Not sure where the negativity is coming from. You can cut this on and off but month for 25$ by the way do it doesn’t have to be a constant thing. Also it worked great for me in Bulgaria, Greece, South Africa, Costa Rica and Japan. I’d say go for it or cherry pick your months.

  14. I have T-Mobile Simple Choice and regularly get 3G in Japan, China, HK and India, which is good enough. In the hotel and visiting suppliers I’m on wi-fi, so the savings makes up for the slight drop in speed. Just wish they’d get a carrier in Vietnam (they used to have one) so I wouldn’t have to buy a sim there.

  15. Google Fi works far better for me internationally than T-Mobile ever did from a service and speed perspective. I find the T-Mobile experience outside of major cities to be lacking and even in cities it falls behind what Fi offers.

  16. I started with T Mobile One Plus and have been on it for about a month now. Just got back from a ten-day trip to Europe and I didn’t notice a difference between the US and Europe.

    The one complaint I had was when I went to turn off airplane mode the service wouldn’t connect right away. I had to turn off and on my phone to get it to connect. That could very well be my phone.

    When you account for the Netflix subscription as well there is an additional savings.

  17. The real value is in One+ international. Keep in mind you don’t need to match the features on both Lines. One line can have One+ the other can have One or One + international. The best part about T-Mobile is the unlimited LTE tethering for $25 per month and that includes one+ and international dialing from the states which is great if you need to call overseas to hotels or for other reasons. I like having high speed internet on my lapto everywhere. That’s for sure

  18. This is what I miss the most about T-Mobile. Even with the 2G speeds, I say it’s worth not paying the $10/day outside North America that I have to pay on Verizon for the full speeds. With T-Mobile traveling internationally, when outside the hotel room (i.e. using the 2G and not wifi) the most I would usually do is send/receive emails and texts and basic social media, as well as using maps navigation. All easily doable with 2G speeds and not worth the $10/day.

    The only time the 2G limitation would be a bit of an issue is if hotel wifi was spotty or unavailable

  19. I have One Plus and simply love it! My last international trip was to Wales in the Spring, 2017. I rented a car out of Cardiff and drove around the Welsh countryside and coastline using my iPhone and Google Maps as my navigator. Data speeds were fast enough for me to get real time directions. I also appreciated getting a message from T-Mobile the moment I landed at Heathrow welcoming me to the UK and reviewing my One Plus data and voice plan.

  20. Agreed with commenter above — 2 lines on T-Mobile ONE Plus should be $120, not $140. The standard T-Mobile ONE plan should be the same price as your current Simple Choice plan. Maybe try calling them to get it to price correctly.

  21. My only international travel since switching to TMobile a few months ago has been to western Europe. The $10 extra a month was well worth it to me. I was getting 3G and better in many places. In most cases I thought service was just as fast as home.
    In any case, not sure why you are hesitant. Try it for a month or two. You’re not locked in.

  22. Love T-Mobile One Plus… I travel to Europe / Asia frequently and I find the speed acceptable for navigation / e-mail / chat. It’s saved me a fortune in SIMS and separate phones. I’m a fan.

  23. I switched from Verizon to T Mobile for the international service. I was pleased with the service, especially the ease of not having to do anything as you move from country to country. I’ve had some connection issues outside of metropolitan areas (including Yosemite National Park) but other than that the connections have been good. I am sometimes out of the US for a month or two at a time and therein lies the problem. After five weeks in Mexico, I was informed by T Mobile that my account was being cancelled for “excessive” off network roaming. I was told that “excessive” means more than 50% use while roaming during a consecutive 90 Day period. The tell me I can “come back” to T Mobile after 90 days.

  24. Lucky –
    Check Sprint out. They have a similar plan to T-Mobile ($.20 per minute calls and unlimited 2G data). However you can by high speed passes. In China, I purchased a week pass of high speed date for USD$25 and had unlimited data at 4G speeds.

  25. I’ve used my phone in Hong Kong and Taiwan. For Hong Kong it was noticeable difference than a few years back. I couldn’t even use the maps feature and was slow enough we would usually buy a sim card.

    This year we were only in Hong Kong for a few days and decided to go without swapping the sim card. I was actually able to use google maps to navigate around places without too much issue.

    I’ll probably still buy a sim card in Taiwan though since getting unlimited 30-150 mbs connection for 15 bucks for 5 days is worth it to me haha.

  26. @Daniel: while I commend Google for trying I don’t think that making it difficult for iPhone users works in their favor. They should just agree that there is no way they will disrupt iPhone users and bring them to their Google phone so at least let them pay money to use Project-Fi.

  27. Most airports internationally sell cheap local SIM cards. Most US phones are now sold unlocked anyways. Further with iMessage, you’re still recheable by most other people (who have iPhones) and don’t have your international number.

  28. Lucky, is one of your line with your parents? T-mobile has a senior plan 55+ (only one person needs to be 55+) for $60 if you add $20 for ONE plus, that’s only $80/month. That plan has max of 2 lines. If you have 2 parents then you can do two of those for 4 lines. You also have the ability to add International high speed data pack $20 for 1GB, valid for 10 days.

  29. @Vince and Blair: Looking at the graphic showing Lucky’s current plan (Simple Choice), I’m thinking he would not be able to add One Plus on a per-line, per-month basis; he’d have to switch the entire account over to One, as Simple Choice and One/One Plus cannot co-exist on the same account.

    @Curt – I’ve traveled to those places with Simple Choice also, and yes you do get a 3G or even LTE signal, but unless you pay up your data is severely throttled to 2G-like speeds. Still usable for Google Maps and Gmail (well, not in China …), but it’s nothing like normal 3G. Even the higher speed of One Plus would only be a tenth of even a relatively slow 3G connection.

  30. I’ve used T-Mobile One in the UK, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Germany, Poland, and the Philippines and it worked as advertised. It’s fine for 99% of the day but then there are those like 5 moments a day when you need to look something up quick… say, when you’ve jumped into a cab at the Taipei airport and your driver and you are both…. anxiously… waiting… for Google Maps to finally… load… your hotel…. address… in Chinese. I was joking that I wanted a turbo button on my phone for 5 minutes of full speed and then it could fall back to normal 🙂

  31. @Tiffany: iPhone users on Fi also have trouble sending/receiving multimedia to/from Android users which sucks, for sure, but isn’t a deal-breaker. Same with with the inability to send to group texts when an Android user is involved. For me, not huge issues since the many, many benefits greatly outweigh the messaging hiccups.

    @Daniel: If what Tiffany mentions above and what I’ve supplemented here don’t seem like terrible hindrances, I’d say Project Fi is a pretty sweet deal for iPhone users. And it doesn’t take much tech savvy to get it set up. It’s been a Godsend for me.

  32. I’ve found the standard speed of T-Mobile One to be pretty adequate for my international adventures.

    It’s not fast enough for streaming, but it’s good enough for messaging, GPS, and posting to social media.

    Didn’t see the need T-Mobile One Plus for increased speed, but it might be convenient for those who frequently fly on Gogo equipped aircraft.

  33. Were you grandfathered in for AT&T’s “unlimited data plan” settlement for owners who bought the original iPhone?
    I am one of those beneficiaries and am staying with AT&T even though other carriers are offering similar plans that are somewhat “unlimited.” I figure that when 5G comes around, I’ll be sitting pretty.
    Right now my plan is $100/month. When I travel, I just buy a local SIM. It’s a little inconvenient, but has worked well for the past several years.

  34. Seems like the t-mob prob internationally is DNS or something, like the phone loses its mind and searches for towers/signals. Turning my iPhone completely off then on again seems to “fix” it for me by just letting the flash mem drain out …

  35. @ Santastico — I don’t know for certain, but I get the impression that it’s more of a limitation on the Apple side than on Google’s. Google/Android messaging services are available across brands and networks, whereas iMessage only works on Apple devices, etc.

    @ AdamR — Do you know if those same messaging issues happen even when not on Fi? My cousin has an iPhone on T-mobile, and occasionally she’ll send me multimedia messages that I just can’t download, with no explanation.

  36. Tethering is locked down in the phone OS supplied by the phone companies…I bought an unlocked Moto X 3 years ago and have tethered on ATT ever since. Buying the phone outright was only $399 for me and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. ATT pricing has been good for me, I’m about $140 for 4 lines. Even so TMobile has some major dead spots in my area so they haven’t been an option for about a decade now.

  37. On my university campus in the suburbs of a major city, T-Mobile has worse coverage than AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, so I haven’t switched. A friend has T-Mobile in my hometown (i.e. not at school) and also found their coverage to be terrible. So I’m not sure I’m ready to switch over to them for that reason.

  38. It’s been a noticeable difference for me. I got it free as part of a promo and it’s been significantly better than it was in the past. I even was able to get YouTube to stream in Europe a couple months ago (albeit, low res).

  39. There is an option so far no one has talked about. if you put your device in airplane mode and connect to Wi-Fi, then the address for the very very top of your phone switches to say “T-Mobile Wi-Fi”.

    When you are in this mode dialing to the United States is free and avoids the $.20 per minute charge from any country. This more is also easier to dial native 888 or 800 numbers.

  40. I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile and haven’t noticed a difference. I did so for the International plan – with T-Mobile you use wifi for calling (both US and Int’l) when you make calls there is no charge as you are not using data. I also find it works well in US when there are limited/no bars inside a building but there is wifi connection. With Verizon, it was $10/day when you used your phone – that adds up.

  41. I have the T-Mobile One Plus and it works great in most of Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, Japan, S. Korea, Europe, Australia, and NZ. It’s supposed to have 256Kbps compared to 128Kbps with my previous Simple Choice plan. I didn’t feel that it was twice as fast, but it does seem marginally faster like what others reported.

  42. @Tiffany: you may be right. Also I may be ignorant but don’t understand why iMessage would not work on Project Fi since it would connect to TMobile so not sure where Apple plays a role here.

  43. Couple things.

    If you’re going to be driving and maps are the main thing, TMobile sounds like a good choice. Would have been nice when I was driving around the UK for work for a month this year instead of paying a massive bill to AT&T.

    But if you’re in places like Dubai (I spend six weeks a year there) or main Asian cities where you are NOT driving, and you are there for work, by all means AT&T all the way. Great service and no speed issues. Is it $$$? Yes, but I’d rather take my chances on a high cell phone bill than the alternative.

    Doing the temporary sim thing I found to be quite tedious and confusing, and frankly makes you look like an amateur, unless you’re in a city for a month or more on a specific project, hin which case having a local number would be expected.

    Back in the day when temporary sims first came into being, it was impressive to have more than one number. Now, it’s an amateur dead giveaway. If you’re conducting any sort of actual business with proper entities and clients, it’s too confusing and wastes people’s time juggling various phone numbers if you’re in a place for a week or whatever.

  44. @ Santastico — iMessage works on Project Fi, as long as you’re sending messages to other iPhone users. The glitches, as I understand it, happen when you’re using iMessage to send things to/from people who don’t have iPhones. But I don’t use an iPhone, so can’t really detail what those issues are beyond the normal iPhone messaging challenges.

  45. I have T-Mobile One Plus and travel internationally quite often. I love it. The Gogo wifi works great on DL International flights. So that’s a big savings. Netflix was also a savings. When I had AT&T the minimum I would spend was the stupid $40 or $60 international plan + the perminute charges and the limitations on data. I used to have bills routinely of $100 extra a month. Since T-Mobile One Plus, the most I’ve paid (between wifi calls and per minute calls) is $7. And yes, the data is noticeably faster.

  46. Ben here’s a simplified comparison of the plans offered on their website, if that helps:

    1) T-Mobile One: $120/month for 2 lines
    Similar to what you have now.
    Unlimited North America talk/text/data with hotspot tethering at 3G speeds
    SD-quality video streaming
    In-flight wifi texting with 1 hr free data
    Unlimited international 2G (aka slow) data and texting
    $0.20/min international calls

    2) T-Mobile One Plus: $140/mo for 2 lines
    Unlimited North America talk/text/data w/ hotspot tethering at 4G (v fast) for about 10,000 blog pictures worth of data, then 3G speed for the rest
    HD-quality video streaming
    Unlimited in-flight wifi texting and data
    Unlimited international 2.5G (slightly less slow, but still way slower than 3G/4G) texting and data
    $0.20/min international calls
    Voicemail to text
    Caller ID

    3) T-Mobile One Plus International: $170/mo for 2 lines
    Unlimited North America talk/text/data w/ hotspot tethering at 4G (v fast) speed
    HD-quality video streaming
    Unlimited in-flight wifi texting and data
    Unlimited international 2.5G (slightly less slow) texting and data
    Unlimited international calls
    Voicemail to text
    Caller ID

    IMO, the One Plus might be worth the extra $10/line for way faster mobile hotspot (in the US), and unlimited in-flight wifi, but the “2X faster international data” is still slow. The fine print says you’d go from a speed of 0.125 to 0.256 when the average USA T-Mobile speed is 23.17 (all in Mbps). Unless you make over ~40 two-minute international landline calls per month, the One Plus International probably doesn’t make sense on top of the One Plus. Since most of T-mobile’s plans don’t have a contract, you can easily pay more and try it out for a month. If you don’t think it’s any faster just call them and go down to a cheaper plan.

  47. I haven’t seen anyone mention that you can also buy high speed data passes from T-Mobile if you find the speeds too slow. They are $10 and are good for 10 days and up to 1GB in data. T-Mobile is still one of the best deals in wireless if your coverage needs are met.

  48. Everyone keeps talking about bad service in Dubai with TMobile – I have been traveling back and forth to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the last 4 years and have never had any issues with TMobile service abroad. I was just in Dubai in August and used the phone there without any issues. In fact, TMobile works better internationally than some areas domestically.

    I have used TMobile in a number of countries and only had issues in some African countries (Tanzania and Ghana) where the service would not pick up. Other than that, I have used TMobile service all over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, SouthEast Asia, and Latin America with minimal problems.

  49. Man I must be grandfathered in I’ve had 2 lines with the plus for a while it’s noticeable when I travel abroad from the original plan. I also get prompts where I can buy the next tier up typically for $10 for the week it comes in the form of a text message. Maybe it’s for select cities but I bought it when I was in Brazil for the world cup and in the Bahamas (I tend to go a couple of times a year it was noticeable). Do you not get notifications to buy the next tier up?

  50. @Tiffany and @Santastico:

    The issue is strictly between iPhone users and non-iPhone users when utilizing regular SMS (text message over the carrier’s connection vice the internet connection itself. As Tiffany mentions, iMessage is perfectly fine because it uses an internet connection – whether over WiFi or cellular LTE – to route to an Apple iMessage server that essentially acts as like a chatroom-of-sorts. It’s all proprietary-ish Apple protocol, I think (someone who’s more mobile phone savvy can correct me), so as long as you’re connected to the internet, iMessage will function properly. When you introduce a non-iPhone/Apple user into the iMessage mix, now you’re routing SMS and SMS-like functionality through a different portal, so to speak. For whatever reason, and I don’t know what that reason is, there’s a schism when the unsupported iPhone users are communicating outside the Apple network. It runs both ways, as far as I can tell. I can’t send/receive MMS messages to non-iPhone users. When I send, they simply don’t go through. When I receive, I get an error SMS telling me to contact my carrier. My workaround is to just tell that friend to send it to me on Facebook messenger. Ultimately, there’s something wonky in the cellular-only portion of an iPhone and Project Fi’s processing of cellular data. Sorry…that was a super long way ’round explanation. Ultimately, though, not a deal-breaker for me and I haven’t even contemplated switching back since I became a Fi early adopter.

  51. @Tiffany:

    Just realized I didn’t actually answer your question. If you’re on a supported Android device and using Project Fi while your cousin is on a supported device on [insert carrier here] there shouldn’t be any issue. I’d say your one-off problems are probably just that. Perhaps minimal signal strength for one of you while sending/receiving so only portions of the actual data gets through – enough for your phone to realize it received a message of some sort, but not enough that it can actually compile the message itself. It doesn’t sound systemic as with the iPhone/Fi issue.

    Also forgot that iPhone Fi users don’t have visual voicemail or voicemail directly on the phone; we have to actually call our own phone number and enter a PIN, just like the good old days. Super nostalgic!

  52. I’m on the Project Fi bandwagon. I just don’t see how anyone who travels internationally with any frequency could go any other way. I just visited Egypt and Jordan and had spotless service, ~1 Mbps or better downstream, the entire time.

  53. I had sprint for many years. I tried google fi, and thought that was a good alternative. I am now with tmobile. We have a family plan on one for 140 for four phones. I was able to get the one plus promo that added the plus service for free to four of my lines. Sadly I added two addl for $25 each, but does not have the one plus. Sprint service was okay, but not extremely happy with them. They are giving it away for a reason. I tried Google fi and was happy, but watched the usage outside wifi. At 12 / GB it adds up. Paid for about 1gb month. While switching between sprint and tmobile realized how beneficial talk, and simultaneous data where to have. I knew when I was on sprint, or tmobile. Decided to give them a try and now streaming shows/movies all the time. It is nice to not worry about data. If google was cheaper per gb it may be different, but I am pretty happy now.

  54. @02nz Google Maps and Gmail actually WILL work in China with T-Mobile. The data routes through T-Mobile servers allowing you access to all things Google and gets you around their “great firewall.” Of course as soon as you connect to hotel WiFi then it’s blocked. Used T-Mobile in China last month with no issues.

  55. One Plus speed upgrade was noticeable to make things faster for me. The 10 day pass for full speed also comes in handy as needed. Never going back to AT&T or Verizon!

  56. I used T-Mobile for years internationally, and recently switched to Project Fi. Better performance and my bill is less. Couldn’t be happier.

  57. I have been using T-Mobile International Data plan for a few years and have had no issue so far. I have traveled to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, etc. and everything works well there. Granted the 2G speed is the downfall, however, it varies from countries to countries and if you can connect to a WiFi, then it is fine. For basic stuff (text, email), 2G is fine. Overall, no complain.

  58. Get Project Fi. The biggest limitation is the limited number of devices. Other than that, it’s awesome.

  59. I upgraded to One+. All my travel is to the EU and the change is definitely worth it. My experience with tethering is that it only works at 256 (not 128). One+ (as opposed to One) does not throttle down after 10GB so it’s much better for my needs. I guess it boils down to your needs (I load hundreds of photos). And unlimited WiFi in flight is great.
    I believe you are currently overpaying for your Mother if she is 55 or older. The rate for her on a single plan for One+ would be $60 (taxes included). Maybe you can tailor your plan to just buy One+ for one line, saving you some additional money. Remember, if you upgrade then decide to downgrade in the future back to your original plan you could lose your grandfathered deal assuming you have one.

  60. Lucky… I have to call you out. You’re using old information and graphics from one of your previous posts. Moderate this comment out if you want, but come on. If you’re gonna post something make sure it’s accurate; because this post sure isn’t.

    2 lines are 120 total. One Plus is $10 per month (your graphic doesn’t even list this option) and gives you the double speed abroad, 10gb 4g Hotspot, and a few other things. One Plus International is $25 per line (not 20 as you implied in your math) and gives you free calling from the US to 70+ countries, full functionality in Mexico and Canada, unlimited 4g hotspot, double speed abroad, unlimited gogo inflight WiFi.

    Seriously, this research took me ten minutes. If you’re gonna post stuff like this make sure it’s accurate for crying out loud.

  61. T-Mobile recently had a promotion that offered the 256kbps speed + the gogo for $70. I hopped on it as soon as I saw it and never looked back. You can also get short term 4G data passes with T-Mobile as well for a fee.

    also note, it looks like the data you use is routed like a VPN back to the US. (ie: you can load up US only things like WatchESPN and Netflix US.)

  62. I can’t believe a frequent international traveler would use anything other than Project Fi. Ive been using it on my iPhone for over a year. Google hangouts app gives me free WiFi calling. Project fi website lets me check voicemails. Data only SIM cards let me use my iPad Pro anywhere there’s no WiFi service. Project Fi gets LTE service in China without any VPN because the government can’t filter cellular traffic. And if you need to stream Netflix or Hulu or amazon project Fi works on LTE speed overseas. My only complaint is price, $10 per Gb gets pricey when you stream too many TV shows or movies!

  63. I switched from Verizon to T M 2 years ago and for international travel to different countries, it can’t be beat.
    The data speeds vary with no rhyme or reason.
    Sometimes it says it’s connected, but isn’t.
    If I’m in a particular country for more than a month, i get s SIM.

  64. I previously traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. I was spending well over $100 additional per month on AT&T for international roaming so I switched to T-Mobile. The savings were immediate of course and I never really had any issues with the international roaming. I do take 1-2 European trips per year and aside from it being slow, google maps/apple maps, texting/iMessage, email, and social media all worked flawlessly. Yes facebook takes a while to load, but it DOES work. I’ve used it everywhere and haven’t had any issues.

    My international travels have (sadly) come to an end mostly and I did experience a complete outage (area-wide) with T-Mobile during a hurricane we experienced in South Florida. While everyone on Verizon was working as normal, T-Mobile was 100% data outage and near 100% voice/sms outage on top it it. I switched to Verizon (and am paying significantly more for it!), but at least in South Florida, the coverage is no better than with T-Mobile. In fact, I’ll say that T-Mobile overall has much better coverage, call quality (in a significant way), and far far better data speeds than Verizon at least here. I did go to Atlanta recently and saw that Verizon had a slight advantage over T-Mobile, particularly inside buildings.

    I am taking a trip to London and Austria later this month and will pay the $10/day usage for Verizon. As I’m traveling perhaps 1-2 times internationally per year I’m ok with the charge. But I will say that if I were to travel internationally frequently again, I’ll move back to T-Mobile in a heartbeat as even with slower speeds, the service is top notch, particularly internationally.

    My company moved us over to Sprint and both the domestic AND international service was horrid at best and non-functional at worst. In most countries I visited, Sprint was just “looking for service” most of the time where as T-Mobile, with it’s 2g signal, was functioning just fine. I could call an uber with T-Mobile – not so much with Sprint. Yes Sprint “supposedly” has free international service. Ha! I’ve tried it. It’s a joke. It just rarely works. I wouldn’t depend on them for anything. T-Mobile internationally works great. Yes a bit slower, but at a substantial cost savings.

    I cannot comment on the higher speed tiers that One+ brings, but I’d trust that it does double the speeds. Even still, flat-rate unlimited gogo wifi is really something to look at. I am considering moving my line back to T-Mobile and keeping a Verizon hotspot off to the side when needed.

  65. One+ was def faster. Although it really depends on what you’re doing. Google maps loaded fine, ig was fine, but forget about video. Oddly enough, kakao talk calling (uses data) worked just fine, although I thought it’d need more data. Something to note about comparing the price of tmo plans — the one plans all include taxes and fees. If it says $140, that is literally what your bill is. So I don’t think the incremental cost from the simply plan would actually be as much as you think.

    Also, some readers seem confused… your phone will say LTE, but tmo will throttle your speed to whatever level you’ve paid for. There’s no need to manually force your phone onto 3g or anything.

  66. SO many responses on this, my personal experience the speed with T-mobile sucks. Too frustrating to use, I now have the ATT day pass program. $10.00 per day you use your regular data plan and all voice calls included. It does not support all countries specifically the Philippines. I wanted to love the T-mobile plan, just could not deal with the speeds.

  67. My family is on Simple Choice plan. I had used the international data future for many times in Asia and no complaints at all. My wife, though, did think the speed was too slow while we were in Beijing, China in October. I was okay with it, especially I can access Google/Gmail/Facebook etc without limitations. Maybe I am just easier to be satisfied.

  68. I’m just wrapping up 2 weeks in Europe over 3 counties. I switched to T-Mobile because I cog tired of paying ATT an additional $40 every time I left the country. My phone has worked flawlessly. Granted the speeds have been slower but for the convienece it’s worth it.

  69. Speeds work great but don’t get lazy like we did, not even bothering to connect to WIFI when it was a available. JMQ is correct. They will cut you off at the knees if your data used abroad exceeds 50% of domestic T-Mobile towers. I have a friend in Mexico that’s 76 years old and she bought a T-Mobile phone when she was in the US. Fast forward a few months and she got the dreaded T-Mobile “cut off date” text as well . When they cut her off, at first they said they would allow her to unlock the phone so she could use a local carrier, but The next customer service rep she contacted Would not let her do that. Repeated calls To customer service field as well. She’s on a fixed income and has no choice but to continue to pay the phone off over time. How’s that for good old T-Mobile service? I guess the bright side, if you can call it that, is that she can at least continue to use her phone as long as she pays the monthly plan fee, and is connected to Wi-Fi using the Wi-Fi calling feature.

    T-mobile also cut my wife off after spending most of, but not all of her time abroad over many months. She too got the dreaded “cut off date” text message from T-Mobile but was really not worried about it since she was planning on being back in the US before the cut off date. But not so, they still cut her off, but with much inconvenience we finally were able to get it turned back on. What’s odd though is that I with her most that time and they never gave me the ultimatum like she got. I Just got a text “warning” message to watch it but I never received a “firm cut-off” date like she received. I guess the moral of the story is be prepared with an alternate game plan regardless if you think you’ve got it figured out, and use Wi-Fi whenever you possibly can. Also don’t depend on superb T-Mobile support. In this fiasco I found out that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and when it all ball down to it they couldn’t even figure out why my wife’s phone was cut off in the first place -how wierd is that?

  70. It’s ridiculous that you as a travel consultant, travel blogger and someone who spends 200+ days a year abroad doesn’t have Google Fi. I travel half as much as you and use it all the time. 4G internet pretty much worldwide. Not some crappy 2G barely-enough-to-check email crap.

    And yes it works on iPhone too as long as you activate it on a Pixel of a friend.

  71. If there are any uk readers like me here – we really have it made. Sign up to Three mobile via TopCashBack.com – my plan is 12GBP per Month for 8GB data, 600 min, unlimited texts and 30GB UK tethering. You get £60-70 cashback through that site, meaning your monthly cost is £5.83 or 7.65USD. Now the best part – you can use it as if you were in uk at 60 worldwide destinations.. it’s amazing. Calls data text the lot. For 5.83GBP / 7.65USD!!

  72. Project FI is the best service for frequent travelers, bar none: service is fast and reliable. And customer service is amazing. It’s like ATT=IRS, T-Mobile=Macy’s and Project FI = SQ, it’s that big a difference in my experience.
    Just ditch the iPhone – the Google phones are great alternatives and do everything you need on the road just as well.
    And to boot, it’s a lot cheaper, too…
    Oh, and on the “amateur” move of having two SIMs – just get a dual SIM phone or second phone, so people can call your regular number and you have local data, tether your phone if needed… not convenient, but simple, really, and cheap…

  73. Guess you can never predict what the public sheep will do. Loads of people love Google Fi…along with happily letting Google harvest all their information off their phones. LOL

  74. I’ve had project fi for a couple of years and have found it to be fantastic. I have traveled to Australia New Zealand Europe Asia and the only place that I found that it did not work was in Vietnam but even there the Wi-Fi portion worked. The speeds are great. You do need a Google phone. I highly recommend project fi

  75. Speeds are noticeable anywhere in general good connection. Major cities in connected countries. No difference on Easter Island. Depends how much web browsing and such you’re doing and how quickly you need it done. Tmo will have T&C in all their newer promos that’ll require you to move to TmoOne, so chance you may need to switch eventually.

    Graphics show 3 lines (2-120 + 20 after autopay). Have a “free” line in SC plan? May lose it switching.

  76. T-Mobile’s foreign calling and data availability changed our travel lives radically for the better. We’re currently on the senior plan with the Plus option added. I think it’s an improvement but I can’t prove it. I recognize T-Mobile won’t meet everybody’s needs, and I’m always interested to learn about competitive options.

  77. Get a Project Fi and a Pixel 2 🙂

    Pixel’s camera is a LOT better than iPhone, especially for low light photos. Use it as your second/travel phone.

  78. I don’t understand all the love for Project FI. Paying for metered data by the GB seems old fashioned. T-Mobile flat rates seem to work better if you use any sort of volume of data. What am I missing? I hate looking for WIFI

  79. The predecessor to TMO One is just about as good. $92/mo for two lines. But you’d have to already have it 🙁 It gives the slower speed international roaming, but I’d rather buy a $10 pass when I actually need it rather than pay an extra $30-40/mo.

    Google Fi is great if you have the right phone. It gets pretty spotty at home on an iPhone that won’t interactively jump between GSM/CDMA, or whatever It uses.

    All of this a rounding error for a highly compensated world traveling blogger, just get the TMO One and forget about it.

  80. @CF Frost:

    I know what you mean. I was grandfathered into unlimited data on AT&T a couple of years ago, and that was one of my main considerations on making the jump to Fi. But, I travel internationally at least 4x per year to about 5 or 6 different countries each time. I really had to look at the math to determine if it was right for me. Ultimately, I had to consider:

    1. How much data do I use on average
    2. Current price of my standard plan
    3. The yearly amount I paid for international plans

    For me, I save about $20-30/month based on the plan alone with metered data on Fi over AT&T. When you factor in how much I save on AT&T’s terrible international plans (at lower speeds, mind you, and data caps), I’m saving another $200-300 annually. Plus I don’t have to swap SIMs, make sure I’ve purchased the international plan before getting on the plane, monitoring my data usage, etc. It’s actual cost savings and convenience and peace of mind – I once had an $1800 cellular bill while data roaming in Asia because I hadn’t applied a plan.

    Also, I can use Fi to tether or use a second device as a wifi hotspot, something that would have knocked me out of my grandfathered unlimited data if I tried to do on AT&T and increased my bill further.

    There are a few cons since I use an iPhone – which I mentioned previously in the thread. In the end, though, Fi has been pretty darned fantastic. And I swear I’m not a Google shill. I promise. And of course nobody on the internet would ever lie, right? But seriously, I am just super happy with Fi.

  81. Finally dropped Verizon last year joining T-Mobil saving $50 a month..works great in Japan, Korea and Taipae…..very happy.

  82. I’m also on T-mo’s $30/month plan. Recently started using Flexiroam instead of getting a new SIM everywhere and it worked very well for me. I don’t travel as much as you do, but they have a variety of plans. Excellent speeds. I just shut off mobile data when I didn’t need to use it for something and relied on wifi most of the time. If I was out and about and needed to get a taxi or whatever it was easy enough to turn data on for as long as I needed it. Worked out great. They also have country-specific plans if you are in one place a little longer.

  83. is it a seamless transition from u.s. data service? no. is it workable? yes. email, imessage, whatsapp and facebook messenger operate just fine. now if you’re trying to load a bunch of pics on grindr, you may want to find a wifi hotspot. If it truly is faster than the alternative, it’s worth the premium since any slower would probably be difficult to manage.

  84. You can add a Data Pass for T-Mobile 1GB valid for 10 days for $20. They also have other options with data amount or time but i feel this one is the best value. Not the cheapest but you only have to pay for it when you are traveling instead of a little bit more every month.

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