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T-Mobile International Roaming in Europe: a Trip Report

T-Mobile International Roaming in Europe: a Trip Report

Old Jun 29th, 2014, 01:43 PM
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Just another data point. I'm in Montreal right now, and have had 3G service the whole time (roaming on Rogers). The service only dropped to 2G a couple of times, mostly in areas of poor reception.

I'm very pleased with T-Mobile roaming! It's been so easy and convenient.
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Old Jun 29th, 2014, 01:54 PM
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The 3G data service isn't free, though, is it?

Most web sites will automatically compress the data if the device is a phone, or a small tablet. I also use a browser on my phone (Opera Mini) that does its own compressing. I rarely use more than 500 mb a month on my Android phone. I almost always have data services active, but the phone is set to use wifi when available, and data services only when there's no wifi availability.
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Old Jun 29th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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Oh, and just to clarify, I did not buy the high speed pass, and have had 3G service the entire time.
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Old Jun 29th, 2014, 01:59 PM
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T-Mobile promises you free unlimited 2G data for international roaming as part of the Simple Choice plan.

It sounds like 2G/3G is a huge YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) for T-Mobile users, depending on where they go. As I noted, I don't think I ever had 3G when I used it in France and Germany, and I used my phone (as a hotspot) a lot. I know what 3G data speeds are like in the US. It was almost always much, much slower than that in Europe for me, over a two week period.
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Old Jun 29th, 2014, 02:32 PM
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Just returned from 17 days in France using our T-mobile phones. We spent a week in the Dordogne and had pretty reliable service for web surfing, checking email, texting and making a couple phone calls. Things changed when we got to Paris. Much slower for all uses. I don't know if it had to do with being such a large area and not enough cell towers or what. Still able to use for everything but it took a bit longer and we lost service a couple times. We seemed to mostly be on Bouyages network but sometimes Orange. It was great to be able to keep in touch and be connected.
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Old Jun 29th, 2014, 03:30 PM
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Perhaps you got 3G in Dordogne but only 2G in Paris? Did you happen to notice on your phone?
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 09:37 AM
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I know it may seem like a hassle compared to a plan like this, but I thought it was really easy to just go through a pay-as-you-go sort of plan, like through g3 Wireless (https://www.g3wireless.com/default.aspx). When I was studying in Ireland, g3 was a great carrier to have, and I'd seriously recommend it.
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 10:01 AM
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I am in Victoria, BC now, and my t-mobile USA Simple Choice is operating on Rogers on 3G. I got message from t-mobile USA assuring me that "Welcome to Canada. Unlimited text incl with your global coverage. Talk $0.20/min. Unlimited web included as part of your global coverage." One thing when you are near the border is that the phone tries to reconnect to faint t-mobile USA signal and slows the phone to crawl. When people mention internet being slow, it helps mentioning where it was slow and on which carrier.
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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The plan mentioned by James329 has outrageously high rates for data, and its talk rates aren't very reasonable either. I wouldn't buy a data plan at all through a service like this, or from any of the other so-called "international" SIM cards. Also, these SIM cards charge for incoming calls, which no European carriers do.

These days, the best strategy for visits to Europe is either roaming with your own provider (especially for short visits, and if you won't be using data); or buying a local SIM card in the first country you visit in Europe and roaming in other European countries. You should tell the European seller that you want to use the card in other European countries, because there may be an option you need to activate to keep the roaming costs low.

The EU has mandated low roaming rates within Europe, both for talk and data, and roaming costs are supposed to be eliminated altogether by 2015, so it almost never makes sense to buy a new SIM card in every country you visit. Apart from the start-up costs, you almost always leave some unused money on the old card.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 03:02 PM
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Bookmarking
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Old Nov 23rd, 2014, 04:53 AM
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We have, been in Europe since early October. So far, T Mobile has, worked pretty well. We stayed in Greece ( Athens, Mykonos and Santorini) southern France and just recently- Prague and Bratislava. All was good until we crossed by train into Hungary. We got the usual welcome to ... messages and then we got several texts in a row saying our roam data charges we $50, then $100 then $200!!! Yikes! WTH?? I have looked at my account online and don't see any data charges for last bill. Today is first day of new cycle, so can't see detailed bill for the immediate past 30 days.

I am going to be roaring mad if we get charged for dqta. We switched carriers specifically to get this plan.

Andrew, or any one, any insights? ?
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Old Nov 23rd, 2014, 05:54 AM
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I am writing this from Vienna. I have yet to have a data charge from T-Mobile while I have been in the UK, Germany, Italy, and now Austria. I use the maps and I send texts without charges. Unless Hungary is one of those countries with which/in which T-Mobile has no agreement then I do not understand this. Have you called them or gone on their website and looked at the details of your plan?
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Old Nov 23rd, 2014, 08:04 AM
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T-Mobile lists on its website which countries are included in Simple Choice's "International Roaming." Not all countries in Europe are included, so you should check before trying to use your phone there.

However, I just checked T-Mobile's website, and both Hungary and Slovakia are included in the roaming. I haven't checked a map to see if you might be picking up some other country's GSM network if you are close to another border or something.

I suppose you could be connecting to some non-T-Mobile GSM network, Deb. Can you see a list of GSM networks available? This is probably somewhere in advanced settings in your phone - I know my Android has it, not sure about other phones.

Still, I'm pretty sure that T-Mobile would refund any spurious roaming charges you might incur in Hungary, given that they advertise it as included in their international roaming plan on their website.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2014, 10:55 AM
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Debit, I'd call T-Mobile right now and find out what is going on. I wouldn't wait to get your bill, given the messages you are getting.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2014, 12:09 PM
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The texts kept coming, when it hit $500, I called T Mobile. They said texts were sent in error. PHEW!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2014, 12:20 PM
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I have had to manually find carriers sometimes, so I know how to find carriers. It has been T Mobile a good majority of time, Orange others. A variety of carriers in France. ( I have Android, Galaxy S 5, Andrew.

I did check my account when the texts started and saw nothing re: notifications or excess data.

Odd thing is the text Came from 889, the " welcome to___" text comes from 156.

Thanks for all the support, everyone.
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 05:43 AM
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Good morning everyone...

Good thread, especially as I am considering options.

Has anyone here gone from Sprint to T-Mobile, and if so, how did you like the switch? Especially for US usage.

Sprint has unlimited data in the US but overseas is incredibly expensive. I have no issues with Sprint coverage in the USA but at my beach house Sprint is weak. Obvi I would be using the phone in the USA much more. But that unlimited data overseas is attractive...
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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A few things to keep in mind. First, you may need a new phone for T-Mobile. Sprint (like Verizon) uses an incompatible mobile technology called CDMA whereas T-Mobile (like AT&T) uses GSM, which is also used in Europe. Some Sprint phones are also GSM-capable but I'm not sure your phone would work on a T-Mobile network in the US. Plus it would need to be unlocked.

Also, T-Mobile has no contracts. You have to buy your own phone - or buy it on a payment plan. With the other carriers, you can get a "cheaper" phone but you also have to sign a contract; you are paying for the phone with a subsidy and a higher monthly wireless bill. Not all phones are expensive, though. I have a slow Android phone that works for me (probably too slow for most power users) that cost me only $30 new.

As far as coverage: you can look at coverage maps on T-Mobile's website.

Because there are no contracts, you could sign up for T-Mobile for a month and just try it in the places you use it most to see how good coverage really is. Then port your Sprint number only when you are ready to commit to T-Mobile. See if you can borrow someone's old T-Mobile phone before you commit to the service, so you can check out the coverage. If it's lousy, at worst you are out a month. (You could also get a prepaid starter kit to use in a T-Mobile phone or perhaps buy a cheap prepaid phone + $10 of minutes just to try it out for a month.)

If you have good WiFI + internet at home/at the beach house, you can also use WiFi calling if cell reception isn't good there. WiFi calling is free with T-Mobile but your phone must support it. (My cheap Android does; I think most but not all iPhones will support it after an update.) WiFi calling is sweet in Europe: free calls home.

Remember that not every country in Europe is part of T-Mobile's international roaming on the Simple Choice plan. If you have plans to visit a specific country soon, best to make sure it is on the list before making this big switch with the assumption that you are doing it for the unlimited 2G data!
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 08:43 AM
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Compare how much time you will use your phone overseas vs how much time you use it at home. If you are like most of us, you are at home longer than you are overseas [sadly].

I switched last year from Verizon to TMobile, with an eye on having all these great perks while in Europe. It was great but now, back at home, there are some things you need to know about T Mobile.

If you want a spiffy smart phone, like my Samsung S5 - the cost per month with my TMobile plan bumped the monthly cost up almost $30 per phone, so my monthly bill is now MORE than my old Verizon bill. Just cause there's no contract, does not automatically = lower monthly bill. And if you leave early you have to PAY IN FULL any remaining balance on phone.
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Old Jan 25th, 2015, 10:07 AM
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DebitNM: <i>If you want a spiffy smart phone, like my Samsung S5 - the cost per month with my TMobile plan bumped the monthly cost up almost $30 per phone</i>

Why? Do you have/need unlimited data?

I'm on the "Simple Starter" plan at the moment - $45/month for 2GB of data. (I'll switch back to Simple Choice before my next trip to Europe so I can roam there again; it's free to switch your plan.) Although it's true I don't use my phone constantly, I never even get close to using up my 2GB in a month. I could probably have gotten away with the 500MB that came with the $40/month plan - I think I used less than that last month.
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