T-Mobile is giving its U.S. customers even more to be excited about with the unveiling of their new FREE unlimited international data roaming service. Goodbye international SIM cards and cell phones! Now we travelers can just use one phone on the road! As part of its rivalry with AT&T, T-Mobile is sweetening their deal by helping their customers who travel overseas frequently to avoid the pain of paying sky high bills for data roaming services. Customers who sign up for the T-Mobile Simple Choice plan will have access to unlimited data and texting in more than 120 countries. This plan also includes international calls at a low cost of $0.20 a minute. The plan isn’t supposed to cost more than $70 a month, according to Nomadic Matt. Not bad, T-Mobile!
For those of you who just can’t bear to leave Verizon and AT&T, never fear: both carriers offer similar plans, but T-Mobile’s is definitely the most affordable. Additionally, many publications verify that T-Mobile’s free international data coverage is actually pretty swell, so the quality argument is hard to make. On the other hand, T-Mobile’s free international data speeds are limited to 2G, which could be a shock for customers used to browsing at 3G and 4G speeds. If you absolutely must have higher speeds, T-Mobile offers high-speed access at an extra cost. For the casual traveler who simply uses his or her smartphone for emails, Google maps, and social networking, 2G speeds should suffice. However if you’re traveling on business or a freelancer needing to use a phone or tablet to do work on the road, the higher speed access might be worth the cost, especially if your client offers to expense it.
The next time I’m overseas, you can bet I’ll be taking advantage of my free international data coverage. It’s just one of many perks that’s made me stick with T-Mobile for nearly a decade. However, I can see some potential negative side to this free overseas data perk. You know how many of us are traveling for an escape from technology? This will make it even harder to let go of the smartphone while traveling. I remember being on the sky train in Bangkok thinking about how grateful I was to not be staring intently at a phone screen like 75% of the train riders around me were doing. Having constant access to data will make it harder for us freelancers to unplug and fully relax while in transit. After all, we now can’t tell our clients (or ourselves) that we can’t do something because of no Internet connection in a certain area. On the plus side however, how awesome will it be to have access to Google Maps while exploring a new city?
What do you think: will having free international data on your smartphone be a good thing or a bad thing for traveling overseas?