AWESOME: T-Mobile’s New $5 Per Day International High Speed Data & Calling Plan

Filed Under: Travel Technology

Last week I wrote about how T-Mobile announced some changes to their international plan. Now they’re announcing a new international data option for customers, which I’m thrilled to see. Thrilled. T-Mobile changed the way I stay connected internationally, and now they’re taking it to the next level.

T-Mobile’s previously announced changes

Last week T-Mobile announced the following changes to their international plan, which is both positive and negative:

  • As of July 22, 2018, T-Mobile is expanding their international plan from 154 countries and destinations to 210+, so we’ll get data in a lot more countries, which is awesome (here’s the full list of countries and destinations that are now eligible)
  • As of July 31, 2018, T-Mobile is increasing the cost of international calls by five cents per minute, from 20 cents per minute to 25 cents per minute, which is not awesome

On balance I view these changes as being hugely positive, though others may feel differently. Personally I care more about having data when traveling abroad than I care about the cost of phone calls, so seeing T-Mobile increase the number of eligible countries by around 50% is awesome.

I’ve visited many countries lately that weren’t covered by T-Mobile’s plan. For example, in the past couple of years I didn’t have data in Angola, Bangladesh, Brunei, Jordan, Mongolia, Oman, Seychelles, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, and those are all covered under the new plan.

T-Mobile is introducing a new $5 daily international pass

T-Mobile has long been innovative, and their international data plan was unrivaled for years. While you typically only get 2G speeds, that’s better than nothing, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. For years T-Mobile offered this at no extra cost, while AT&T didn’t offer any even remotely attractive international data plans.

In the meantime other carriers have caught up, and I’ve been starting to get a bit jealous. Other carriers have introduced international plans for $10 per day, where you get high speed data and calling. The benefit there is that you get high speed data, while T-Mobile only gives 2G. T-Mobile is now catching up with the competition in that way, except at half the cost and in a more comprehensive way.

As of August 1, 2018, T-Mobile customers can pay just $5 per day for high speed data and calling abroad. With this new plan you can receive 512MB of up to 4G LTE speeds and all the unlimited calls you want to make for just $5 per day.

T-Mobile will soon charge 25 cents per minute for calls, so even if you talk on the phone for just 20 minutes per day, that will pay for itself. That’s not even factoring in the faster data, which is the primary draw, in my opinion.

Customers will be able to sign up for this pass in advance through the T-Mobile app or by calling customer care. Alternatively, when you arrive in a new country you should receive a text explaining the data you receive, and that will have a link where you can activate this plan, which seems like the easiest way to do so.

Here’s a chart comparing T-Mobile offerings to the competition:

As you can see, not only is this new pass half the cost of what the competition charges, but it’s also valid in over 210 countries and destinations, while AT&T and Verizon only offer this in 100+ and 130+, respectively.

Bottom line

I’m so thrilled with this change from T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s international plan has changed the way I stay connected when abroad, though over time the 2G speeds have caused frustration, especially as the competition has introduced international passes for $10 per day. T-Mobile’s new international plan for half the cost of what the competition charges is awesome, especially since it’s valid in way more countries.

To be clear, part of the reason I’m so excited here is because I spend so much time in transit when traveling internationally, and with high speed data I’ll actually be able to tether and stay productive, while that’s tough to do with 2G data.


Anyone else as excited about this new T-Mobile $5 daily pass as I am?

  1. T-Mobile already offered a $10/10day 1GB high speed data pass. The new $5/1day 512MB pass is arguably a price increase. The pass is now valid for just one day instead of 10 days, but at the same data rate.

    Two 512MB data passes will last just two days, while one 1GB pass would last up to 10 days for the same price.

  2. @Jason Yeah I used to get the 10-day pass all the time on my trips. Just buy it once when you start the trip and all set. This seems like a downgrade if traveling in a country for more than 2 days.

  3. I find the $10/month plan for near-3G speeds and free Gogo just fine for my needs. It doesn’t include any calling, but the data speed is sufficient for a Facetime Audio/Google Hangouts/Skype call.

  4. You’ve always been able to add high speed data for a fee with T Mobile. There is nothing NEW about this. However, it seems they have revised the cost and terms.

  5. Is T-Mobile definitely replacing the high speed pass with this? Do we know that it won’t remain an option?

    (Also, that 10-day pass has been $20 when I’ve used it recently, up from $10.)

    If the pass is no longer available, that would be a bummer, because I don’t use my phone for voice that much, and when I do there are voip options available.

  6. tmobile also has a $20 international high speed data pass for 1GB data and lasts 10 days. i find that work quite well since 1GB usually is enough for 7-10 days for me, esp with wifi in hotels, etc.

  7. $5 a day is expensive for certain countries. I know some people in Europe that pay $5 a month for unlimited data and calls to EU and North America. The prices in US are ridiculous.

  8. @ Daniel,and others..
    I just got went with T Mobile over 55 plan for $50 a month. Are you saying there is a lesser plan for only $10 a month? I never make calls as I use Skype for that but do text and use data especially google maps, waze etc. I am confused with the different plans you guys are talking about. Can someone please explain?

  9. Sprint has international 4G LTE for $5 per day, or $25 for 7 days. Phone calls are 20¢ per minute. That’s for most countries but not all.

  10. Does anyone else think it’s weird that they say 210+ countries when there are only 193 countries? They are doing it by counting Scotland and others as a different country, but still.

  11. Lucky I guess you already know this, but Google Fi offers this for no additional cost so I’m not sure T-Mobile is really being innovative here…? International data with Fi is like in the US, it picks the fastest network available so in most cases I see no difference in speed whether I’m in the US or overseas.

  12. We almost invariably have hotel wifi and the basic T-Mobile plan meets our needs for maps, email, and miscellaneous internet access. I’ve experimented a couple of times with buying higher-speed packages from T-Mobile but seem to go through the data allowance in too quick a hurry to make it cost effective. That’s probably my own low-tech fault. Being leisure travelers who can’t expense our phone bills keeps us frugal.

    We use Skype for outgoing phone calls so the increase for phone calls won’t really impact us. I’ve been caught out in the Maldives and in Morocco, so the increase of countries with data (including those two) is a positive change for me.

    I still might try it out at $5 a day just to see how it works.

  13. The old plan gave you high speed data, which isn’t necessarily 4G LTE. That’s an important distinction. I’ve used the old plan and it’s nowhere near 4G LTE speeds.

  14. Lucky, as much as you travel, why would you not have T-Mobile One Plus International? I think it’s like $25/mo more than the base rate.

  15. There is nothing awesome about this. The majority of the world charges significantly less for cellular access. You are better off getting a local SIM card and use google voice for sms and calling. In EU, you can easily get 10 euro data package with 5GB a month on a month to month basis and roaming is included in entire EU. Just get a phone that supports dual sim. If you live near Mexico, secretly cross the border at night and get a SIM card from AT&T and it will include North America roaming for $10 a month, again, pay as you go. Use google voice for SMS and calls.

  16. For the unlimited calling, does it only apply to calling any US phone number or anywhere in the world?

  17. Sprint’s international plan is way better. $5 per a day or $25 per a week for unlimited international high speed data and texts.

  18. Convenient, maybe, but this is better for Italy travel: Vodafone’s C’all Global visitor’s package, 10 euro per month (includes 8Gb @4G, 500 minutes to Italian numbers, 300 to overseas numbers; add 2 euro for unlimited texts). Just take your phone and passport into any Vodafone shop. The other networks probably have similar offers. Why pay U.S. carriers for international roaming?

  19. It is a great convenience and look forward to using it. Very often I am in a country for a day or two or just in transit (mileage run) and not worth the time/effort to get a SIM card. This is a great alternative. Also great to be able to get and make phone calls from my US number. The old 1GB for $20 plan was never enough anyway so usually had to pay $40 or even $60 a week and the speeds were never much faster. I just hope one can really get high speeds with this plan.

    @Lucky, you mentioned tethering. Will the new plan permit it? The old 2G plan did not. Not sure about the 1GB plan.

    In my case, it may mean $10 per day when traveling with my wife. Still would be worth it most of the time.

    @Lucky. Is it confirmed that 2G/4G data is part of the plan for all 193 countries?

    Nice to have Vietnam back in the fold. I was there at the time when it went off without warning and got a huge bill, which T-Mobile eventually did not charge me for. It has always been a pain when going to Vietnam since to make sure roaming was off. Calls too have been exorbitant and a risk just for answering a call or having it go into voice mail.

  20. I def hope this doesn’t mean they’re getting rid of the $20/10 day data pass. Honestly, for much less than $5/day you can buy local sim cards. I guess this is a great option if you are only in a country for a day or two (like Lucky).

  21. Thank you for the useful post. I already used their free 2G service service in over 30 countries with free texting, google maps and Whats app calls. Upgraded speeds for $5 per day hits the sweet spot for a frequent traveler, who stays only about ~4-5 days in each country. I can’t wait to use it soon!

  22. Second Erica T who asked how they got 210 countries when the world has fewer countries than that. In addition, they don’t have Cook Islands in this list, a country popular with globetrotters here for holidays. I’m glad they added Maldives and French Polynesia (of which Tahiti is a part) though, which weren’t there earlier and cost several dollars a minute for voice calls and quite a bit for data too.

  23. Google Fi is $1.30 ~ $2 per day for similar, and you can pause it for up to three months. Much better deal.

  24. I can see the appeal for someone who travels like Lucky, i.e., never spending more than a few days in one place and not venturing far from major airports and Western chain hotels. But for those of us who enjoy international travel that involves spending a couple of weeks or more in a foreign country, $5 / day is not a very good deal. I have T-Mobile, which gives me the basic 2G data and texting, but for longer trips, I prefer to get a local SIM card (for my dual-SIM phone) for data. In a lot of countries (like India, for example), T-Mobile has mediocre coverage, so a local SIM isn’t only way cheaper, but the coverage is better too. It’s increasingly easy in many countries to get a local SIM for data.

  25. ROB: Many people finance their devices , they will be locked until the phone is paid in full. I believe Verizon is the only carrier where your device is unlocked from the start, but their phones dont always have all the GSM bands, so you may not get high speed data.

  26. Ryan: True, although I believe US carriers will usually unlock a device temporarily while you’re traveling. I always buy an unlocked GSM phone that works on as many high-speed data frequencies as possible so I’m not shackled to a particular carrier, either at home or abroad. (But then I don’t change phones as often as some people who rely on the subsidized price.)

  27. I just logged into my T-Mobile account and it still has the option to get 10 days/1GB for $20. However, it doesn’t have the new options mentioned in the blog post so maybe they haven’t updated things yet.

  28. So if you’re out of town for a month, you’re out $150. Is there a cheaper option (besides getting a local SIM)?

  29. I love T Mobile!
    Although there are only 193 countries in the world, dont know where they got 210 from… 😉

  30. Sprint’s international plan is similar to Mobile and even better. Why did you neglect Sprint on the chart?

  31. I will just buy a sim card when I gt there, they have free roaming now. Spain/madrid was 15 for the sim and 1.5gb of data.

  32. Decent deal although T-Mo’s 512mb daily cap could be hit if you’re a heavy Instagrammer, etc.

    I recently returned from 1 month in Europe and relied on my ATT $10.00 / day “International Day Pass”. One word: Tethering. And yes it’s truly unlimited. I consumed way more data than I ever would have during normal usage in the US (bc wifi avail at home and work) so for 30 days I was 100% reliant on ATT international data for both iPhone AND laptop tethering. 3GB-4GB per day at times.

    No surprises on the bill upon my return.

    Yes, GoogleFi at 10.00 per GB is more competitive than T-Mo int’l plan but ATT finally got their sh%t together with a decent int’l plan.

  33. A couple of people pointed out the goodness of Google Fi. I spent the month of March in Argentina and Uruguay. In both countries I enjoyed a full mast of LTE. I often did not bother with hotel Wifi, and I let my wife piggyback on my Pixel because her ATT plan was so crappy for international travel. My total bill for the month of March was about $90, which comes to $3 per day for unlimited LTE data and calls. Spent last October in Japan and had a similar experience. I cannot understand why anyone who travels would not move to Google Fi.

  34. The 210 number that’s often cited refers to both sovereign nations and non-sovereign territories. When citing 210 it’s usually said as “210 countries and territories”.

    Indeed on T-Mobile’s list it is printed as “countries and destinations”, so it’s not referring to sovereign nations specifically.

    And actually there are 195 fully recognized sovereign countries, and about a dozen or so others claiming independence but almost no one recognizes them.

    Anyway, I don’t bother with the ripoff US roaming rates. I’ve been to countries I can get unlimited data for like $10 the entire month. And I never make phone calls, that’s what apps like Skype, WeChat, and WhatsApp are for.

  35. @Lentoasima: “…cannot understand why anyone who travels would not move to Google Fi.”

    Speaking for myself, to avoid Google’s relentless personal-data-slurping practices.

  36. What is the ACTUAL speed delivered under this plan?

    Tmo “free international” is like 2G speeds. My experience recently with TMo 10-day pass, is was about double 2G speeds. Way below 3G speeds, much less 4G LTE. But it was enough of a bump to go from “not usable” for mapping etc. to “mostly tolerable”, so I begrudgingly purchase it during a Europe jaunt.

    I got a Project Fi Moto G6 this week to play with and see how that goes.

  37. @Lentoasima: “…cannot understand why anyone who travels would not move to Google Fi.”

    I am on Republic Wireless with a Moto G5 phone. I thought that Google Fi didn’t support phones which could accept plug-in memory cards, but now they list the Moto G6 (32GB built-in, expandable to 128GB) so I’m suddenly very tempted.

  38. Funny inclusion of ‘countries’. Some aren’t countries, just islands or dependencies of others. These aren’t included (some not expected I’m sure):

    Central African Republic
    Equatorial Guinea
    North Korea
    Sao Tome
    Solomon Islands

  39. @Rob you’re getting your info scrapped by everyone. Google is probably one of the more transparent ones. I’m willing to bet your cell phone, internet provider is 10x worse not to mention every website you visited and they will make the every effort to hide it from you like facebook. If you have vpn and a non chrome browser google probably has very limited info on you but it won’t make much of a difference to at&t, verizon etc.

    That said, I don’t find google fi to be a good deal unless you’re subscribing just for travel and then cancelling and going back to your old plan. Google fi doesn’t offer enough data per month compare to tmo. 5 gigs of lte on fi is going to cost more than most tmo plans that includes 5gigs of lte. Also, you need a phone thats compatible with google fi. I added my dad to a 55+ plan and then added myself to that as well. Thats $30/line, 2 lines max and it does have international data.

    But folks need to scrutinize tmo plans more because there are many many variations and they don’t list the subtle differences. For example, if you have a tmo prepaid plan then non of the international benefits apply. If you have the 55+ plan it may seem like you are getting everything under the sun for $30 but then you realize you don’t get faster than 2g tethering. etc etc. So sometimes you need to pair it with these types of 1 off data plans. I would think this $5/day plan is meant for someone who really needs the data and have run over that day or you are connecting between countries and you have important business to attend to that day. Could be aimed at business travelers more than consumer travelers.

  40. I just used the new international pass for the first time in a trip to the UK. It’s much worse than the old passes:

    The new pass only gives you access to HSPA (i.e. not LTE) signals. As soon as I paid for it, my phone stopped connecting to the throttled 4GLTE signals, and would only lock on to the lesser 4G signals, or edge ones. Since HSPA is not widespread any more, my phone spent much of the 24 hours on a 2G signal.

    I was with my wife and son, both of whom have T-mobile, but they didn’t buy the pass. The *entire* time, their phones were on a 4GLTE signal.

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