The Smart Travelers Guide to Using Your Smartphone Abroad

It’s Never Been Easier or Cheaper to Reach Out and Touch Someone on a Trip

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Street musicians in Paris

Street musicians in Paris

Fondly known as Magenta, T-Mobile has offered free unlimited 2G data and texting in over 100 countries, as well as voice calls for 20 cents per minute when roaming in those countries, since 2013. More recently, it has offered shorter term promotions that give subscribers traveling in Europe free 4G LTE roaming (the current promotion ends at the end of the year and there is no word as to whether it will be continued).

T-Mobile also offers subscribers free calling to the United States when using Wi-Fi calling, which simply means your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network that is then used to bypass the local mobile operator in the country you are in.

AT&T offers an international Passport 30-day plan that starts at $40 for 200 Mbytes of data with voice calls at $1 per minute. Text messages are free but some services such as iMessage use data. Other options are $60 for 300 Mbytes and voice calls at $0.50 a minute and $120 for 800 Mbytes and voice calls at $0.35 per minute.

Stadtpark in Vienna, Austria

Stadtpark in Vienna, Austria

Sprint’s Global Roaming plan is similar to T-Mobile’s original 2013 offering, with free (albeit slow) 2G data, free texting, and voice calls at $0.20 per minute.

Verizon Wireless’ TravelPass plan is $10 per day and provides the same terms as your plan includes in the United States for voice, texting, and data.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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