T-Mobile Simple Choice High-Speed LTE Roaming for Europe – Review and Test Drive

On a streetcar in the Grünerløkka district of Oslo

On a streetcar in the Grünerløkka district of Oslo

By Paul Riegler on 30 June 2016
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T-Mobile USA recently announced it would offer its customers free high-speed 4G LTE roaming in Europe starting in July but it apparently couldn’t wait to pull the plug on the previous, much slower, offering.

The high-speed service will be available in over 50 countries including all of Scandinavia and that’s where we decided to give it an early road test.

Before revealing our findings, I need to explain T-Mobile’s standard offering, which is unlimited 2G data, as well as free texting, in over 140 countries.   The speeds I’ve seen – which are suitable for chat services such as iMessage and WhatsApp, but unquestionably not suitable for watching YouTube videos – typically provide 0.48 Mbps downstream and about the same up. The speeds vary slightly from country to country, but it’s slow. However, it is consistent and allows mail to run in the background and supports posting messages to Facebook, including images.

In comparison, the DSL service I had fifteen years ago in the United States offered 1.5 Mbps downstream and it was considered acceptable for the time.


Arriving Tuesday at Oslo Gardermoen Airport, outside the capital city, I couldn’t wait to turn on my iPhone 6s Plus and run a test.

Using the Speedtest app, our initial test saw 18.85 Mbps downstream and 14.80 up. That seemed wicked fast, to the tune of almost 20 times faster than what I was used to on trips.

The real surprise came when I arrived in Oslo on the Flytoget Airport Express train.

My downstream speed jumped to between 55 and 63 Mbps consistently and some 12 Mbps up. It hasn’t gotten slower since. Facebook posts fly and web pages load in milliseconds. This is faster than the 50 Mbps fiber optic service I have in the United States, at least for downloading data.

A brief set of tests in Copenhagen revealed similar performance.

The service is available in over 50 countries including all of Scandinavian as well as in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Russia,, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


If you’ve been on the fence about switching to T-Mobile and are planning substantial travel to Europe this summer, don’t wait any longer.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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