T-Mobile’s New 5GB & 15GB International Data Passes

Filed Under: Travel Technology

This week T-Mobile has announced an awesome new option for getting high speed data when traveling internationally.

T-Mobile’s existing international data options

Up until this point, T-Mobile has had three popular options for getting data abroad. All of the below plans are valid in T-Mobile’s 210+ eligible countries and destinations.

As a standard, T-Mobile offers unlimited texting and data at up to 2G speeds and calls at 25 cents per minute. So that’s a great option for staying connected while abroad if you’re just looking for basic coverage.

For those looking for a higher speed connection, the next option is that T-Mobile offers a $5 Global Pass plan, where for $5 per day you can get 512MB of up to 4G LTE speeds and unlimited calls. Unfortunately I’ve found the logistics of this to be frustrating.

Then there’s the third option, which is what I use, as it’s great for those who travel internationally a lot. T-Mobile offers a $50 monthly plan that includes unlimited 4G LTE speeds and calls when traveling internationally. If you travel internationally a lot then this is a great option, though just make sure you don’t use too much data abroad.

T-Mobile’s new international data passes

T-Mobile this week brought back an awesome feature that’s useful for someone who wants more than a high speed international day pass, but who doesn’t travel enough internationally to benefit from the monthly unlimited international pass.

T-Mobile now offers new international data passes that include high-speed data and unlimited calling. There are two options:

  • For $35 you can get 5GB of high-speed data and unlimited calling to be used over up to 10 days
  • For $50 you can get 15GB of high-speed data and unlimited calling to be used over up to 30 days

To take advantage of this, just add the passes you need when you arrive at your destination, either through T-Mobile’s website or app.

Are the new T-Mobile data passes a good deal?

For those who value high speed data, are the new passes actually a good deal? Previously you had the option of a $5 daily plan or a $50 monthly plan:

  • The 5GB and 15GB plans represent a lower cost per day, not to mention it’s significantly easier to sign-up for everything at once, rather than having to renew every day, and you can also use a lot of data in a single day (rather than being limited to 512MB)
  • The 15GB plan for $50 is roughly comparable to the $50 monthly premium plan, though perhaps this is easier since you can just sign-up once, and don’t have to cancel your plan

Bottom line

T-Mobile’s new 5GB & 15GB data passes are an excellent option for anyone who travels internationally and values high speed data and free calling, but who isn’t constantly traveling internationally. This is an attractive new option.

For example, while I have the premium T-Mobile plan on an ongoing basis, this is something I’d buy for my parents if they were traveling abroad.

What do you make of T-Mobile’s new international data passes? Do you plan on using it?

(Tip of the hat to @bluemonq)

Comments
  1. I’ve found FlexiroamX to be a very good value that works in most places. But it is data only. If you plan ahead their country specific and regional plans are excellent

  2. I just got back from eight days in Spain, and it was a small hassle to go to the App every day and buy another five dollar pass. I never used all the data but it was a great asset while traveling

    I spent $40

    To get 10 days for $35 is great.

  3. Sprint is considerably cheaper in terms of the monthly plan, and also has 2G free international roaming and texts, calls are also 25 cents a minute. $25/week for high speed international data.
    Coverage in the US is also considerably better than T-Mobile’s, even if not quite at the level of Verizon.
    I used T-Mobile for a few years, and when they started to dilute their plan and went back to their old tricky ways, I switched to Sprint and never looked back for a second.

  4. @gus What? Sprint actually has the worst coverage of the Big Four carriers. T-Mobile is also far faster according to almost all rankings. It’s no wonder Sprint isn’t doing well, and is hardly sustainable.

  5. I about blew chunks when I read Gus’ cute comment about Sprint having much better coverage in the United States than T-Mobile. I am still completely giggling. I agree that they probably have great coverage in certain cities like Kansas City and a few other metropolitan areas but there coverage is minuscule compared the TMobile. Gus, do me a favor and look at their actual coverage map next time not there coverage map with roaming which only gives you a tiny bit of roaming data in the US.

  6. I usually just find it more economical to grab a SIM in the foreign country, albeit with certain notable exceptions (especially Germany). Not as convenient (no easy access to my voice mail and requires a new phone number), but almost always a much better deal than the Verizon $10/day roaming plan.

  7. We thought about sprint but I can’t even get reception in the back of my warehouse! One of my workers has sprint and I tried calling him and it went straight to voicemail lol. Meanwhile T-Mobile gets LTE speeds in the same spot.

  8. Great news! They’re basically bringing back the old plan they use to have, which was a 7-day or 10-day pass (I forgot). Much better than those daily passes. I have three international trips coming up in a span of 6 weeks so 2 passes wil work great for me.

    On a similar topic, T-Mobile gave free 4G/LTE speeds to their customers in Russia last year for the World Cup. I wonder if they are doing it for their customers in France right now for the Women’s World Cup?

  9. Can this work for someone not living in the US, but that can provide a US billing and shipping address for the SIM?
    Are there other monthly cost if you only use it outside the US? Can you add these packages to a prepaid card?

  10. For those frequent international travellers using heavy 4G.

    Get GoogleFi people!!!!

    And please, don’t ever put “BETTER” in a sentence after the word “Sprint” EVER. It was bunch of headache even using it free for a year. I really feel bad using free and cancel right away, but Sprint isn’t really worth free. Now if Sprint were to hire me $50 a month to use them, that might be possible.

  11. @Eskimo I like Google Fi as well: the plan is very flexible and cost effective.

    I have to say though, data roaming speeds are pretty frustrating, even when I haven’t hit the monthly cap yet. Anyone else having this issue?

  12. I’m not sure why you guys are not using Google Fi. With their new quasi unlimited data and family plans, it’s cheaper than T-mobile in most situations. I remember Tiffany wrote about her awful experience, but just use a cc for payment instead of Google pay.

    The system that toggles higher speed data with a pass is wonky when it was in place before. The experience with Fi is as seamless as possible. Getting off the flight at a new international city and figuring out metro / Uber with Fi is so smooth.

  13. I was speaking from personal experience comparing the two carriers. While in big cities T-Mobile is better and with a faster LTE speed, there are just huge gaps of coverage in my experience — and I was with them for 3.5 years traveling all over the country. In huge chunks of Vermont I had to roam when I had T-Mobile… Often it was just “no signal”.
    On Sprint coverage has been ok for me — often not great, but I usually get a signal — that is, if you have a phone that can receive all their bands (they’re different from those of other carries — otherwise, yes, you might get a very bad and slow signal)
    The international coverage is also cheaper and works well, and that was the subject of this article.
    The savings compared to T-mobile have been about $20-30 a month, plus I earn the AA miles every month so that adds up to another $120-130 value each year.

  14. Oh, and those ‘coverage maps’ don’t mean that much, as anyone who’s used T-Mobile for any extended period of time knows.

  15. Google fi did better because they don’t monitor data usage while abroad. TMobile sends you an alert that tells you it’s against policy to use majority of your days abroad. I’ve been lucky because I call all the time and they let it pass. But at over 55 and using the 55+ package at$35 per line it’s hard to pass up on the USA. Also, I think there is some issue with tethering on Google fi international y.

  16. I switched to Google with an iPhone X at the beginning of the year — definitely took Tiff’s advice and made a note about the billing haha… made a brand new google/gmail account specifically to handle the billing (I didn’t want to connect it to my main account that’s tied to a third party domain… seemed like more could go wrong…)

    But it’s been amazing! Seriously love it.

    My biggest question mark was going to be tethering—and they’ve loosened up on that for iOS in the last few months, because it’s working for me! They’ve even added a “visual voicemail” for iPhone through the Fi app, and they’ve added Vietnam as a service area… so fingers crossed everything stays peachy haha

  17. Have you confirmed that the TMo roaming speed is truly LTE? While using the plus plan at TMo we’d often see the LTE symbol but receive obviously throttled service. I switched to Fi for precisely this reason and have had zero problems.

    Summary – I don’t trust T-Mobile to be honest about anything.

  18. Just got back from 10 days in japan and Korea. Bought a SIM card in advance from amazon for $22 which provided 4g speed and worked in a handful of Asian countries.

    Easy to install and easy to use. Was data only but what’s app and Facebook messenger made up for my calling and texting needs.

  19. Is this new international plan also subjected to their term of no more than 50% data usage abroad?
    I’m leaving for Europe for over two months. Not sure whether I should get this plan or look somewhere else.

  20. Another Vote for Google Fi. I am travelling outside of the US for around 2/3 of the year. Had it for a few month now. Worked perfect in several European countries. In South Africa now – no issues at all. When on cellular and not on WiFi I don’t use any apps which are heavy on data. So far 5- 10 $ per month for data so far.

  21. This new plan now makes Google FI not as necessary. I would rather have better customer service & I just tried the new data pass & can confirm it’s full speed data & free calls. Love it.

  22. I remember the bad old days when AT&T gouged me and everyone else using iPhones $25 for 40mb on their international plan – I can’t believe how far we’ve come, competition matters, a lot!

    I’ve been using the T-Mobile Global plan ($50/month) since it came out last November and I haven’t been throttled once and I spend a lot of time in Europe. My monthly Global plan has unlimited data which is important to me otherwise I might sign up with one of these.

  23. I read that all one has to do is arrive in the foreign country and activate the T mobile 5 or 10 gb data package and it is good for 30 days.
    If I only stay in a country for 10 days and then move to another country does the balance of the data package come with with me or is it country specific.
    Also, does it allow tethering.
    I would normally answer yes to both queries but who knows with Tmobile.
    When visiting South Africa I buy 4g lte data at, approximately, $40 for 10gb.

  24. Wow, seeing so many ‘happy’ Fi users here sacres the s*** out of me.

    Nothing good ever last long. Is there a Fi devalue coming soon. Let’s hope we all get grandfathered in.

    Here is my take about signals in 2019 (wasn’t like this few years ago)
    Big city TMO > ATT
    The rest ATT >> TMO
    VZW might not be the best everywhere but most reliable (always have some speed, mostly fast)

    @Gabe
    The issue is not just TMO but every carrier. When you see LTE (soon 5g) means you are connected to those frequencies, the speed you get is what your carrier determines. And yes for TMO if you buy the high speed package abroad you do get 4g when available (which many places can be as slow as 5Mbps). Just don’t expect to get 20+Mbps worldwide.

  25. Another +1 for Google Fi. Been a user since early adoption in 2015 when it was by invite only, and have literally never had an issue… ::looks around nervously and knocks on wood:: Not with service, porting a number, pay, connectivity in foreign countries…nada. Always at least 4G insomuch as carrier frequency and “normal” speeds.

    @Tommy Shane Smith: That was a huge boon for me, too. Still can’t tether outside the US on an iPhone, but having an Android device for just that purpose – a carryover from when you couldn’t tether at all. But with the amount I travel and how much data I use/need, I can’t imagine NOT going with Google Fi. Anyone who travels more than ~25 days per year overseas (SWAG based on no data) would be foolish not to have Fi unless there are other reasons (family plans) keeping someone tied to the other carriers.

  26. I’ve been with T-Mo for 4 years now. I caught the promotions at the right time. Kickback + One Plus free + free line means that the bill for 9 lines (family + in-laws) is $165 or so. (Family doesn’t use a lot of data.)

    Anyway, the One Plus plan allows for 256kbps international data. When I visited Taiwan a couple of months ago, I was pleasantly surprised that it was very usable for checking maps, looking up info and FB/Twitter. 256kpbs can’t compare with high speed data but it did the job.

  27. Does anyone have any experience using TMO on an airplane, using cellular service, such as on SQ? I have a feeling that is not part of the International data plans and one could get a huge bill.

  28. Got a “love text” from T- Mobile in late 2018 that they were going to disconnect my service next billing cycle since I was roaming more than 50% of my usage while in Mexico. The cut off date came and nothing ever happened and I am still in Mexico!!!?! What’s up with that? Now I am a little concerned because I have a trip to Italy and Turkey coming up in about eight weeks and would hate it if the cutoff happened while there — any thoughts?

  29. No mention of South America so far. I will be in B.A. and Montevideo. I have TMO which worked well in Australia. How about major cities in South America?

  30. I tried the $5/day thing and it was horrible to try and use. I complained loudly and made suggestions that they offer a monthly flat rate. They did. Perhaps from my feedback?? I did vow to switch to VZ before taking another trip if they didn’t improve that. Luckily they did. The flat rate monthly is great, but these are great options for infrequent use. Much easier than changing plans before and after the trip.

    Really happy to see them respond like this.

  31. Can’t imagine why anyone would find this exciting in the age of Google Fi. I traveled extensively with Tmo 2G speed and it was almost always awful. Fi speed is significantly faster and actually usable in the age of 4G.

  32. Hello Everyone,

    Though Miami is my home, I’m international at least 60% of the time (Europe, So.America, Middle East, Asia). And as I change countries like other people change shirts, I’m certainly not going to change SIM cards almost daily. I’ve had the T-Mobile international plan(s), one after another, almost since these plans began… for my phone (used primarily for calls, texts, WhatsApp, etc.), along with the available plan-add-on for my iPad, which is definitely my day & night data workhorse. And while I find the concept of TM’s plan to be FABULOUS, I have found the actual data roaming speeds (especially on the iPad) to be devastatingly slow, and highly frustrating. Almost every time I’ve gone into a TM store back at home, they offer a new “faster” plan, which by now has me at not far from $150/month… but there is almost never any improvement to speak of. And when you’re in a foreign territory, and really need to simply open a GPS or a local map to not be lost… and it often takes multiple minutes (instead of a few seconds) for any such page to open, it’s really disappointing… if not occasionally dangerous. The excuse is always “Well it depends on the speed of our roaming partner”; but this doesn’t really help in what can occasionally be very time-sensitive situations!

    Yet one of Lucky’s best OMAAT points in the past was that of the debacle of the “data percentages” (Thanks Lucky!), where TM was disqualifying your future international use based on the comparative utilization of roaming vs domestic data. So his suggestion to not use WiFi in the home, and thus maintain a “higher domestic utilization coefficient”, was of great importance. Hence one of the true joys of following this amazing blog site.

    I’m working in Greece today (islands on a weekend aren’t too bad!), but I’ll check on these latest “new” data options when I get back home. Nevertheless, TM would be well served to actually try out these constantly limited roaming speeds in at least the primary roaming countries… and then put pressure on their “partners”, rather than on their loyal subscribers. Does this make sense and possibly sound familiar to anyone else?

  33. Beats Google Fi. I used T-Mobile’s 15gb plan in Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Croatia and Montenegro during the past three weeks. It worked great, fast, LTE service most of the time, no worry about calling home and talking for 20 minutes – or calling Denmark or elsewhere. For a one-time $50 fee, it was a great add-on. Yes, I have Google Fi too and use it. It cost more than my domestic T-Mobile 55+ plan, and the data, even though it is capped at $60, is still $10 more than T-Mobile abroad.

  34. Just a quick data point: Two weeks ago I was getting 3G and LTE speeds in both Johannesburg and Cape Town (at least LTE is what my phone was showing,and I’m with T-Mobile).

    The speed was good enough that I was able to use navigation functionality on my mobile phone.

    With T-Mobile charging only US $.25/minute for international calling, I’m not sure that a pass would make sense for me in S. Africa, but perhaps elsewhere…

    Thanks for the helpful post, as always!

  35. SkyRoam is awful and requires you to purchase passes via their network at their inflated prices. SkyRoam does NOT have a sim slot.

    GlocalMe is much better because the device includes two sim slots and you have the option to purchase passes if you don’t want to bother getting a local sim.

    For example, I bought a 1GB package from GlocalMe for $8 for Spain so that I wouldn’t have to find a spot selling local sims when I landed. When that package came close to running out, I bought a 4GB local sim from a vending machine and inserted it into the GlocalMe device. Switched from the online esim card that I purchased (had about 500 megabytes) remaining and used the local sim for the remainder of my trip.

  36. Can you use Google Fi to supplement your T-mobile plan when traveling abroad? Like can you just purchase the data without being on a plan? Does it automatically stop working once you use the 1GB for $10 and then you just purchase more? Any help/suggestions would be appreciated 🙂

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