My One Minute Of Data In The UAE COST HOW MUCH?!?!

Filed Under: Travel, Travel Technology

I’ve written in the past about my fairly low tech approach to staying connected while abroad. While I spend about half my time outside the US, I actually rely almost exclusively on Wi-Fi when traveling abroad. I keep my phone in airplane mode and then connect in hotels, airports, cafes, etc.

If I’m traveling for extended periods of time I’ll sometimes get a SIM card/rent an international router, which allows me to stay more connected. If I knew what was good for me I’d probably switch to T-Mobile’s Simple Choice International Plan, which is sort of revolutionary in the industry (AT&T later came out with the AT&T Passport Plan, but it’s not nearly as good). With the T-Mobile plan you get unlimited international data for free.

Anyway, I’m in the UAE for less than two days, so figured it didn’t make sense to adjust my phone plan or pick up any data (for what it’s worth, I use AT&T).

But go figure yesterday I was in a taxi and was supposed to pick up a friend, though the driver ended up going completely the wrong way, so I wanted to ask if my friend could make his way to our destination separately (otherwise we would have missed our reservation). I turned on data and sent him a message through WhatsApp. I turned data on for my phone for less than a minute.

Suddenly I got bombarded with texts from AT&T indicating that I had excessive international data charges… $100… $200… $300… $400… $500! And then my international data was apparently suspended.


Now, I realize international data is outrageously expensive, but I figured there’s no way on earth that using data to my phone for less than a minute would cost me $500. But it did.

I got an email from AT&T prompting me to call them to discuss options.


I was able to buy a block of 120MB of data for $30, which could be backdated and would automatically cancel after a month.

Bottom line

It’s totally my fault for turning on my phone and using it. But there’s still something totally outrageous about being charged $500 for less than a minute of data use, when T-Mobile would offer that for free.

The solution of buying some data was reasonable enough, though it just helped to remind me of how much I hate cell phone companies… and perhaps that it’s really time to switch to T-Mobile.

Have you experienced a ridiculous data overage charge when traveling internationally?

  1. For as much as you travel I am surprised you don’t always have an international plan always on or have not just switched to TMobile.

  2. Switch. I did last October. You will love it.

    Two weeks in Italy and my bill went up 20 cents, for 1 1-minute phone call to our Airbnb landlord in Venice. I was on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, and uploaded hundreds of photos… for 20-cents.

    And with WiFi calling, you can make calls back home for free.

    Thanks for the blog, I’m a loyal reader!

  3. Yes! Switch to T-Mobile. Even though domestically their service is scratchy, except in big cities, they’re wonderbar in other countries! Cheap and great customer service. I’ve been using them for five years now and haven’t looked back since.

  4. I dont think is about how much time you used it but how many data was transferred during that period, the iphone does a lot of work in the background, icloud sync, apps, something you can configure. if you were on 4G lots of data can be transferred quickly.

  5. I have t-mobile, and traveled everywhere overseas with it. unlimited data, text, greatest thing ever.

  6. Doesn’t seem right. Even with your phone syncing something on background it shouldn’t cost that much. Dunno about iPhones but Android has a data usage log in settings, easy to verify actual usage. Your roaming operator (Etisalat?) propably has some issues with roaming settlements…

  7. Ben, I work for AT&T. I hope the international care team took care of you. If they didn’t, please let me know. As others have said, there are lots of things that happen the minute you activate your data on a device like an iPhone – lots of background stuff starts happening, all of which is customizable. There’s also the option to keep data off and just do text messaging (true SMS, not WhatsApp). With the right plans, those messages are really inexpensive.

    At any rate, if you need personal 1:1 help, let me know. We want you to be a happy customer.

  8. At AT&T’s crazy standard rate of $20/MB for international data, $500 is only 25 MB of data. If your phone has, say, automatic cellular downloads for app updates, you could easily run this up in less than a minute. Settings app -> Cellular will show you the culprit, if you’re interested.

  9. I have TMo and its great – except – to say you get unlimited international data for free is not quite accurate. And thats because its only applicable in certain countries. Most recently I was out of luck in Nepal, Vietnam, and Morocco. Also no coverage in smaller, more remote places like Fiji, French Polynesia, Seychelles and Mauritius. There are many others.

    You will have a similar unhappy surprise on your bill if you turn on your data in those countries/places not included.

  10. I found a solution when the same thing happened to me. I closed my ATT account. We used between 8 and 13 cents worth of data on our US plan and ATT charged me $364. This was the equivalent of paying $2,500 for a can of Coca Cola. And ATT thinks its just fine.

  11. Arn’t those messages alarming? I had bought an international roaming deal with our Australian supplier Optus a couple of years ago, which gave me unlimited Data for something like $30 per 30 days. However Optus had not linked their alert system to this deal, so while sitting working in my Edinburgh UK hotel, I was getting constant alerts saying I had spent thousands of dollars. In the end I had to call just to calm my nerves. Its the one time I insisted they record the conversation, with the consultant assuring me that I would not be charged any additional fee.

  12. $300 for 1-2 min of data use while in Beijing. I got out of the subway and needed to find my hotel. I walked around a couple of blocks before turning data on. Walked by it and didn’t notice. I had planned the train + 2 subway transfers perfectly….just forgot that one last thing. Happy birthday to me (so the Fairmont reminded me when I checked in). Got a great upgrade to a 1200(ish) sq ft suite complete with my own gas masks….so it could have been worse.

  13. I have T-Mobile and I love it.

    One word of warning: in the countries where I’ve used it, getting high data speeds is impossible, even in larger cities. On their website T-Mobile will show you lots of global maps that show 4G is available just about anywhere (eg, from Pretoria to Johannesburg), but in reality there’s no 4G signal to be had. Not helpful when one is trying to use their phone’s mapping function.

  14. I left AT&T for T-Mobile because of the international data roaming. I was just in Paris and it worked like a dream.

  15. Echoing what people are saying above on T-Mobile, but I’ll go one further…

    If you like AT&T domestically and can’t imagine switching, you can keep your plan there. Grab a Google voice number that forwards to your existing cell as well as the new TMo number.

    I absolutely love TMo service, but I live in a big city and am almost always on WiFi calling. There is something amazing about being able to not even press a button once you enter a new country and having data/calls/texting all go through. It’s not 4G but almost always fast enough for Maps/WhatsApp/Gmail.

  16. Switched to T-Mobile after 15+ years with ATT and couldn’t be happier. Monthly bill is 35% less. 20 cent/min local calls when traveling internationally and free data is great. Like others have said, it’s not 4g but certainly adequate for most functions. Also. Having the phone automatically connect to local network without having to worry about changing SIM cards makes it easy. You don’t seem to spend time in rural areas so you should have no problems in most urban/suburban areas of USA.

  17. This exact situation happened during a trip to Europe a couple years ago. I’m on ATT, had turned off data but failed to turn off ‘international roaming’, didnt realize that I needed to do that or that it was even a separate option to be honest. I’m pretty good with phones so when I got the same warning text I was surprised…I turned off mobile data and auto sync and wasn’t able to get on the internet or use any apps but somehow with the roaming option on and I was still being charged…had to call ATT from the top of the Orsay museum to hear I had a $300 charge. Was travelling with my parents and they were still picking up my phone bill, EEEK looked over at my dad and went into panic mode, the customer service couldnt answer how I racked up that much in charges but retroactively put the same $30 dollar data plan. Phewww, my folks would have been so pissed off, might have considered throwing me into the Seine.

    Fastforward to this summer, went on a solo month long trip to Japan and China, I bought the $120 ATT international plan, its 800mb which is pretty disappointing, sounds like a lot but I couldnt even get 1gb for over a 100 bucks?? Internet where I was staying in Beijing was spotty at best and went out for days after a storm and ended up using all my data and then some.

  18. I am surprised that no one mentioned Project Fi from Google yet, but here is the scoop:
    $20 per month, unlimited voice and text in the US. $10 per GB of data flat rate in the US or while roaming internationally.

    Also has international voice roaming at $0.20 per minute, SMS are free.

    Two additional big advantages: low international rates (for calls originating in the US), and you are able to go up to 3G speeds internationally (T-Mobile limits you to 2G speeds).

    One limitation to be aware of: service only works with Nexus phone from Google.

  19. +1 for T-Mobile; I would also add the Wifi-Calling feature as a huge plus if you have an iPhone or certain Android phones. I’ve used it to make “local” calls from the Maldives, Turkey, and even Cuba. That feature plus free data and low cost make it a great deal.

  20. I keep wanting to switch to T-Mobile but their service is just inadequate for my day to day needs. I tried their test drive last year and barely got edge speeds at my house (great LTE from ATT). Poor coverage also at my work. It’s a shame but I think their building penetration is quite weak (though getting better). Something and spectrum frequency or something. Anyway I have a keepgo sim when I travel (granted not as frequently as most of y’all). It’s super convenient and I use maybe 1-2 gigs a year.


  21. I don’t want to waste words repeating what everyone’s already said, but you really do need to switch to T-Mobile ASAP. I tried Verizon and Sprint and T-Mobile is far cheaper with faster data in the US. Sign up before 7 September to get their 10GB LTE data per person for 4 lines in a family plan if you can. Data rolls over too, so you’ll never run out.

  22. I switched to Tmobile briefly because of free international roaming last year from Sprint, and it was the key reason I switched since Sprint had been otherwise stellar in my neck of the woods.

    I did ended up switching back to Sprint. I was on a grandfathered Sprint family plan (where my average monthly bill per line is under $50) and I get unlimited data. I kept hitting the 1or 2 gb cap on Tmobile and the throttled speed was a royal pain. Before T-Mobile, I had been using other alternatives (sim cards, etc) for international travel so I figured I could still live with that. Fortunately, I found out recently that Sprint also now offers similar free international roaming as well (they are still adding more countries), so I am going to stick with Sprint.

    Then again, international roaming charges are outrageous in the first place, as evidenced by the charges you are hit with in your post. So I love that T-Mobiles disrupts the industry with free international roaming and charges calls at $.20 cents per minute (for countries in their list) — just one less thing to worry about getting huge bills. I am glad T-Mobile came up with the free international roaming idea first. Healthy competition among carriers is good — I hope the other carriers follow suit.

  23. I have used T-mobile’s plan in Mexico, Germany, in the Swiss Alps, Denmark with little to no issues. It just does not work right where I live and work in the US. So ATT it is for now…

  24. TMobile ist wunderbar! You get free text messaging when traveling internationally, free 2G data(which may be not so fast, but does the basic work), and all ROAMING calls domestic or international only cost 20 cents pre minute. Lucky, get your iPhone unlocked and switch to TMobile. It is a German company after all.

  25. face Palm.

    T-Mobile. Duh.

    I had to stay with AT&T for coverage reasons so I just have the $20/month T-Mobile plan SIM card for international roaming. I only pay the months I go abroad. Spend the $240 a year and make it happen

  26. How can you not have an international plan when you travel internationally so much? Also….

    Really Ben…… Really….

  27. @Lucky — I’m shocked that you don’t already have T-Mobile Simple Choice!!! That’s the single biggest tool in the frequent flyer arsenal.

  28. Bad decision!!! As soon as the airplane door closes before an international flight I immediately take my ATT SIM card out of my iPhone and replace it with one for the country I am going to (if I have it) otherwise I leave it empty until I get a new SIM card in my destination. Never, ever trust ATT.

    As for those saying great things about TMobile, only if it worked inside my own house…. 🙁 TMobile is great if you live in areas where it has great coverage but if you travel a lot within the US you are out of luck.

  29. @Stvr, which $20/month plan are you on? Is this part of a larger T-Mobile Simple Choice Family plan? Or some prepaid plan where you only pay $20 and nothing else?

  30. I restrict cellular data for almost all apps, and lock it down further when I’m overseas. This is the only way to limit data when you just want to use the phone for a few minutes. In the U.S. it has the benefit of making your connection feel faster by restricting your data usage to just the apps you use all the time, etc.

  31. @Lucky

    OT but the Ask Lucky section of the site appears to be down (I think it is a system issue on your end and not user issue on my end). It so happens I was gonna ask a related international internet question. As a huge Lufthansa fan, do you know if Lufthansa 747-400 are all equipped with wifi? Routing back from either NAP or FCO to BOS on 9/15 and have a choice of 25k redemption for AZ nonstop or 30k United miles on LH via FRA and leaning towards LH if it has wifi. Also, does SQ A380s have wifi? Flying Suite Class over this Friday from JFK to FRA.

  32. This is definitely against the flow of these comments, but I have AT&T and am quite happy with it. My domestic plan is only $50/mo, and in every month when I travel internationally I pay the $30 extra for Passport. I have all the settings on my phone set so that no syncs, app updates, or anything like that happen except over wifi, and I only use the data when there’s a quick, specific need. The $30 package is enough.

    I’ve considered switching to T-Mobile, but their domestic coverage is just not that good, and all things considered I don’t think it would be cheaper for me. And I don’t really care to be swapping SIMs and phone numbers all the time. YMMV.

  33. What all those preaching about how great t-mobile is fail to mention is how utterly awful it is in the US. I cannot comment on usage in any other country but the data speed, reliability, and ability to get a signal are pretty pathetic here. I can put my t-mobile iPad next to my AT&T iPhone – both show the same number of bars and same signal strength yet the AT&T one is done doing whatever task I wanted to do or loading whatever page I wanted to load before the t-mobile device has even started pulling down data.

    On top of that, the t-mobile device has an enormous amount of trouble getting usable service anywhere outside of a major metropolitan area and is frequently useless while my AT&T devices all work flawlessly.

    Oh, and if that wasn’t enough t-mobile’s customer service and website are also pretty bad…which is shocking to me because AT&T’s website is already a giant mess (though their customer service is absolutely top notch, in my experience).

    Anyhow, I won’t be switching from AT&T in the US anytime soon, regardless of how convenient t-mobile’s international data is.

  34. There was a class action lawsuit in Oakland, CA against ATT about 5 years ago.
    Not sure how it ended. I think ATT ended up paying a lot of money.
    The problem were these outrageous prices for data use.

  35. No matter what phone carrier you use in the UAE, be sure not to talk anything LGBTQ. Ain’t a free country, you know.

  36. I have both T-mobile simple choice and Google Fi. Tmobile’s 128kbps ‘free unlimited’ international data usually works for Waze but is very sluggish on anything else. That’s why I signed up for project fi–on the surface it looks like it is an exact duplicate of Tmobile’s coverage, but at 256kbps data rate.

    I’ve kept both devices side-by-side in France, Germany, the UK, Australia, South Africa, Guam, and Tokyo.

    Entire countries have left my project fi phone saying no service, while the t-mobile simple choice sim card works everywhere. It’s obvious that tmobile is keeping most of the roaming partners for itself and not extending them all to project fi.

  37. T-Mobile isn’t great around here – but I have a $15 (well, it’s really $18 with taxes) harbor mobile business plan for my ipad. They’re a re seller for T-Mobile business and offer 5GB domestic LTE data on the tmobile network and unlimited data while roaming. No voice but for $18/month it rocks to keep around.

  38. Ben,

    Sounds like some people are really hard on you. I figured you would have had some international plan already with all the traveling you do but sounds like your wi-fi only solves that for the most part.

    I travel internationally quite often. (3 million flown miles and counting). I’ve been with T-Mobile for many years. The service mostly sucks compared to most carriers in the USA. I was going to switch a few years ago, until T-Mobile came out with the free international roaming. I have an office in Toronto and one in Buenos Aires and this free roaming works like a dream.

    Granted, it’s SUPER slow and many times only pulling 3G. However, it’s quick enough for SMS text messages, emails and the occassional Uber. Sometimes I have upgraded for faster service during the week I’m traveling. Google maps doesn’t work well on 3G so upgrading is essential for me on some trips. But all in all the free roaming works well.

    I’ve traveled to 15 countries and T-Mobile’s free data (while slow) works pretty well. Well worth getting if you travel internationally as much as you do.

  39. Hey, WhatsApp devotees: why is the app so popular? I’m baffled. Data is expensive while international texts are cheap, and iMessages are free. So why not just SMS?

    WhatsApp seems only to be useful if you’re: a) in a free wifi zone, b) with no 3G/4G, AND c) texting an Android. That’s only about 10% of my foreign texts. Why pay data roaming charges to use it?

  40. Apparently I’m in the minority for thinking that AT&T was pretty great here. They could have been dicks and made you pay $500 that you legitimately racked up (regardless of whether that price is fair, you did use that much data), but instead they let you retroactively set up an international data plan for only $30. Pretty good outcome for you.

  41. Biggest issue is that once upon a time the networks and the phones could only send a megabit of dat over five minutes…now it can be five seconds but as consumers we are not sure how fast the data faucet is over a given time frame. Plus the websites, etc. become more data intensive as well. So what used to be a five minute surfing session that used up 1 MB is now a session that uses 20 MB.

    Funny as I was in the UK earlier this summer and went over 500 MB in a matter of minutes on ATT as well…I spend about 70 days overseas a year and in 8 years never went over 120 MB on an entire trip. My guess is that I accidentally had the iCloud photos running some sort of operation in the background. ATT refused to help me out (what do you expect for $3,600 a year?) so I had to pay for the 800 MB plan.

    ATT should be lenient in these situations…never hurts to build loyalty.

  42. T-Mobile? “Sometimes only pulling 3g”???? T-Mobile’s free international data is 2G. 2G! Two-Gee!! GPRS-Edge!!!!

  43. Made a similar mistake in London a couple of years ago. ATT customer service helped me fix it with the same backdated plan. We love to hate the phone companies, and they really could have screwed me, but they didn’t.

    Still have an ATT iPhone.

  44. @Lucky, similar thing happened to me in July with AT+T even though I had the $60 Passport package. Got home, called them and was told it was a glitch. Surprised they haven’t fixed it yet.

  45. I’m on an ATT family plan with my brother, and we’re on a grandfathered unlimited data plan, so I’m not ready to switch completely for US Voice & Data, but I just signed on to T-Mobile 1 GB data only plan for an extra $20/month, and I will use the T-Mobile SIM in my Novatel MiFi2 device for US and Intl. use. It is an extra cost, but I’ll take it compared to these “stick-em-up” tactics that The Deathstar and Big Red are engaged in.

  46. Ben, before you pull the trigger and switch to T-Moble you should take a close look at the t&c’s for their international data plan. I sent you a similar warning about a year ago when you mentioned the possibility of switching. You spend enough time out of country that you may exceed T-Mobile’s self imposed limitations for international data use.

    Everything everyone else has said is true: Free unlimited international data is awesome. Yes it’s slow but it’s adequate for basic sms/whatsapp communications…the rest of it can wait ’till better wifi is available. Yes, coverage is spotty in the U.S., even in the shadow of their corporate headquarters. Yes, your bill will go down dramatically. No, you won’t miss AT&T.

    I’d recommend giving them a try…that is assuming you can take advantage of their offerings without violating the t&c’s.

  47. @Lucky – I recommend you buy an Etisalat or Du sim card meant for visitors, since you visit UAE a lot I bet it’ll be useful.

  48. Here in the UK I am jealous of the T-Mobile plan, we don’t have anything quite like that here. I use the Three Feel At Home service but that only works in certain countries. At least within the EU there are heavily regulated charges which helps a lot (max. 10p/MB rather than your $20/MB). But the charges hit once you go outside the EU.

  49. @Lucky – I had something similar happen to me in Europe earlier this year, but I eventually figured out what caused it… Before my flight from the US, I had set some albums to download on Spotify. The albums hadn’t fully downloaded before I put my phone on airplane mode, and the next time I turned data on I was in France and the “warning” text messages started rolling in as the songs downloaded automatically in the background. Any chance it was something like this that drove the data usage in your case?

  50. I spend a lot of time internationally also and t-mobile works like a charm. Not fast enough to watch videos but plenty fast for WhatsApp, Google maps, Uber etc. And the best part is that I don’t have to worry about the amount of data I use. It’s a life saver! 🙂

  51. I’ve lately learned a (seemingly) bullet-proof trick to control the excessive data with an Android (Nexus 5). If I ever need to roam (no international plans in Finland) I always turn on the Battery Saver mode which restricts the network connectivity to the active application. I’ve never since got any nasty surprises…

  52. Lucky,

    This partially explains why you often have trouble with cab drivers trying to scam you. Anytime you get in a cab in an unfamiliar location, you should have google maps open with your route calculated so you can see if the driver pulls shenanigans and call them on it. This happened to me in Sydney last year. Driver drove way out of the way and I refused to pay. He didn’t protest because he knew I was right. …or just use Uber

  53. Hi Ben, that sounds like our worst nightmare! I work for KnowRoaming and we would be happy to help you stay connected during your travels. Our Global SIM Sticker attaches to your phone’s SIM card and automatically connects you to local networks when you travel abroad in 200+ countries (including the UAE) to save you up to 85% on voice, text and data roaming. We also have unlimited data packages in 55+ countries for $7.99 USD/day. Consider us for future trips. We would be happy to help!

  54. I have used my TMO phone in about 10 countries now (most recently Norway). Having just hit my 54th country, I jumped from AT&T to TMO the moment the phones came out. It works amazingly well.

    To the commenter who said “it’s 2G”. It’s not 2G service (does that even exist any more?). It’s whatever service is best (I’ve even seen LTE light up), but they *throttle* it to the speed of “2G”.

  55. A couple of Xmas’ ago we went to Cayman (NOT on a cruise). I called Verizon beforehand and said switch me to some sort of intl data plan. They didn’t. We got home and my husband opened the $1000+ bill. He freaked. Verizon admitted their mistake and I only got charged the $30 or whatever it was….

  56. @Andrews (SJC), which plan are you on that’s only $30 month? Simple Choice NA starts at $50+ I think, and prepaid lines don’t get the International roaming.

  57. I’m not Andrews, but I just signed up last week and was able to get the data only 1GB LTE plan for $20/month (throttling starts once you use up the 1GB LTE). They even threw in the SIM 3-in-1 starter package for free. Was able to do this all online!

    I plan to use the SIM in my MiFi Device for when I go abroad.

  58. I see the Mobile Internet plans starting at $20/month now; looks like you’ll need to use a tablet or hotspot device that’s on their list – can’t just pop the SIM into an old phone?

  59. For those asking about what plan I am on. Tmo offers 2 generous promotion plans multiple times a year.

    (Excludes taxes)
    4 Lines @ $120, for 10gb LTE North America Plan (On offer) Add a line @ $30
    2 Lines @ $100, for unlimited LTE (Was on offer Dec-May) Add a line @ $40

    If people complain they don’t have 2-4 people to share accounts, while I do understand this, but do you really not have friends, parents, wife, sisters?

    I have 7 lines, Wife, Parents, Brother, In Law, Friend.

  60. @CatJo, The SIM 3-in -1 starter pack , which they threw in for free is supposed to allow you to use it in any unlocked device. I’ll find out for sure once it arrives later this week!

  61. AT&T is fine. Just hook up with one of their international temporary add-ons before you go. They are cheap and easy, no need to screw with another SIM.

  62. I strongly considered a switch to TMO, but can’t justify it. Although the international data is fantastic, a vast majority of my travel is domestic and I’ve found just way too many holes in the coverage for it to be worth it. Family road trip? I get nothing while my wife on VZW gets a strong signal. Inside my house and office? Nothing, while family and colleagues on ATT and VZW get strong signals.

    If I had significantly more international travel, it may make more sense. For my use case as a primarily domestic traveler and someone who makes a lot of business calls in areas with no TMO coverage, I’d opt for VZW or ATT.

  63. Sprint now also has free intl roaming and wifi calling and both work pretty well. Sprint also has a great “native” integration with Google Voice, which I think gives them the edge over T Mobile

  64. Lucky

    this post got you a lot of comments…. I live in NYC and travel frequently overseas : after many expensive mistakes I have a combo — iphone with TMobile for best global data rates and functionality + blackberry with Verizon for reliable business emails and never ever a dropped call in NYC and most places in the US.

  65. @ Josh
    “Hey, WhatsApp devotees: why is the app so popular? I’m baffled. Data is expensive while international texts are cheap, and iMessages are free. So why not just SMS?”

    I use it in the US to message with my intl friends. I can use it with wifi or my regular data. Whereas texting costs me per text to message them. Also, not everyone has an iPhone, so iMessage isnt a possibility.

    “WhatsApp seems only to be useful if you’re: a) in a free wifi zone, b) with no 3G/4G, AND c) texting an Android. That’s only about 10% of my foreign texts. Why pay data roaming charges to use it?”

    Yes, can be only useful in a free wifi zone when abroad, but If you get a local SIM it can offset any texting limits you may have. I’ve found data needed for whatsApp cheaper than adding addl text options. YMMV

  66. Only a little info . : in Thailand you can buy a basic phone most any where for $20 or less . You will need an unlocked GSM phone . You can buy a SIM card at 7-11 or many other places and credit for pay-as -you-go also . I always use AIS 1-2 Call , but there are several other companies also such as Happy , DTAC , Sun . Voice phone is cheap , received calls don’t cost , and calling USA is cheap also . I don’t use data so I can’t tell you much about that . ‘Most any one at your hotel or restaurant can help you get going with a phone though . I think phones are expensive at the airport so probably should wait ’til you get outta there . Also internet places are very common . If you’re really interested in phones , cameras , electronics go to MBK or Pantip .

  67. PS : Your USA charger will most likely work there also . Look for input voltage of 240-250 as well as 110-120 .

  68. RE: the point about terms and conditions you’re right that there seems to be a suggestion that the service is limited and this worried us when we signed up. Somewhere I think I saw something mentioning that you could be cut off after 6 or 8 weeks abroad. I don’t remember exactly. However, we haven’t found any limit. This year we spent almost four months abroad and have had no issues with out T-mobile service. Plus it now includes calling to and from Canada and Mexico for free.

    The question of reception in the US is a very valid concern.

  69. Another + for T-Mobile.

    I pay about $280 per month for 4 lines, 10GB each, 4 iPhone 6S’ on installment plans, an iPad Pro 128gb (9.7in) plus a data plan for that iPad.

    Pretty insane, considering I’m financing all of that equipment, whereas I’d be paying close to that much without the equipment on other carriers.

    Their international service has been perfect for what I need. Sure, it’s slower, but I’ve yet to find a need for it to be faster when I’m abroad. Just being able to use my phone number everywhere in the world is invaluable.

  70. Yes, T-Mobile is the way to go, but it is not entirely without its gotchas on the International data pass. The pass is supposed to entitle one to unlimited calls within the designated term of the pass (10 days or 30 days), and that usually works out fine, but there is fine print that prohibits one from using more International roaming minutes than domestic/in-network during a billing period. It is both sneaky and absurd: sneaky because it places a limit without actually putting a fixed cap on the minutes, and absurd because all one has to do to stay within the terms and conditions is to be sure to call a lot when one gets home, so that you use enough domestic minutes to push the international minutes into the minority. Taking the rule to its logical limit, if you talk for two minutes in Peru and one minute in the U. S., you’re out of compliance!

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