Are you about to travel out of the US and curious which cell phone company offers the best mobile global roaming plan?
I’ve done the research, and in this article I’ll share the comparison of cell phone service provider’s International roaming plans.
First, I will give the basic details of the cell phone companies global roaming packages. At the bottom of the post, I’ll provide side by side chart comparing costs for packages, talk minutes, texting and data.
AT&T Global Roaming Packages
AT&T Passport is AT&T’s Global Roaming Add-on package that covers 150 countries. AT&T Passport offers unlimited text messages, reduced per minute talk cost, and cellular data reduced costs.
The Passport Add-on Package is available at 3 different levels: a one-time charge of $30, $60, or $120 that is valid for 30 days.
All 3 of the Passport Packages include unlimited Wi-Fi at participating hot-spots in 18 countries.
Traveling to Mexico or Canada with AT&T:
AT&T offers Prepaid Talk Packages for travel to Mexico and Canada that can be as low as .24 per minute of talk.
Sprint Global Roaming Plans
Sprint’s International Value Roaming Package can be added to compatible devices for no extra charge.
With Sprint’s International Value Roaming Package, you get unlimited data [2G speeds] and text plus calls are .20¢/min for travel in the following 15 countries: Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Spain, Chile, Cost Rica, Panama, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and United Kingdom.
For travel to another set of countries, you can get the Sprint Worldwide Voice add-on for $4.99/month that will save you on the pay-as-you-go rate. With or without the Worldwide Voice add-on, each country as different pay-as-you-go data, voice, and text costs.
Verizon Global Roaming Plans
Verizon offers two levels of Global Data and Calling packages. One for travel to Mexico and Canada and another for travel to 140 other countries.
Canada & Mexico Travel Package:
$15 monthly fee and receive 100 Minutes of talk, 100 sent text messages, unlimited received texts and 100 MB Data. Overages: $10 per 100 MB, .10 per minute of talk, .10 per text sent.
Global Plan [140 countries]:
$40 monthly fee and receive 100 Minutes of talk, 100 sent text messages, unlimited received texts and 100 MB Data. Overages: $25 per 100 MB Data, .25 per minute of talk, .25 per text sent.
T-Mobile Global Roaming Plans
T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Plan is their standard cell phone plan. Included in the Simple Choice plan is unlimited texting and data from 120 countries. While traveling through these 120 countries, T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan includes .20/minute of talk.
T-Mobile’s standard Simple Choice plan appears to be the best option based on price for International Travelers.
Sprint’s Value Roaming Package is similar to T-Mobiles Simple Choice plan except that T-Mobile’s plan includes 105 more countries.
Global Roaming Plan Price Comparison
Here is a quick view of the different Global Roaming costs for the 4 major cell phone companies for travel to 4 different countries.
From a cost perspective, the T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan covers 120 countries at no additional charge and the lowest per minute cost for talk-time.
Cruise Roaming Cell Phone Comparison
For the cruisers out there, here is a cost comparison for cell phone charges incurred while roaming on a cruise ship. While on a cruise ship, I recommend putting your phone in airplane mode and leaving it.
If you need to text or make a phone call, make sure you have disabled data because your data charges from email and other apps can be outrageous.
Cell Phone Global Roaming Packages Conclusion
The cell phone companies are regularly making these plans more competitive. Which is great news for travelers. I believe all the cell phone companies will have to get their plans more closely aligned with T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan.
As of 5/4/15, the rates in this post are accurate. As we get further away from the time of publishing, I recommend using the links provided above to research current pricing.