News: Comparing the Best International Data Plans from All Major US Carriers

Comparing the Best International Data Plans from All Major US Carriers

Traveling abroad can be a hassle. Between the flight, hotels, food, and the languages barriers, it can be a lot to manage. There's one tool you have that can help with all of this — your smartphone. Fortunately, nowadays, you don't have to change your carrier to continue using your phone.

For a seamless experience, you'll need a an international plan to use your phone in another country. This will be different from your usual plan, as it may limit data usage and charge you for each call or text you send or receive. In the past, using your US wireless carrier abroad was a mistake as the fees were too high, but things have changed. While none of the five major carriers offer a plan that's comparable to what you enjoy at home, they are at least affordable and let you keep your phone's many features without breaking the bank.

See international plans and pricing for: Verizon | AT&T | T-Mobile | Sprint

Verizon

Unlimited Plans

If you're a Verizon customer making a trip to Mexico or Canada, the most inexpensive option is one of their Unlimited plans. Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited all offer unlimited calls, text, and 2G data within Mexico and Canada. 4G data is also available, but limited to 0.5 GB a day.

If you have one of these plans for your regular service, Mexico and Canada service is included, and there are no overages for data. Instead, Verizon switches you to 2G data when you exceed the 0.5 GB cap while abroad. Verizon recommends you use a 4G World Device for the best service, although other phones should work. Be aware that no more than 50% of your usage (calls, texts, or data) can be to either country over a two month period.

  • Price: free with any Verizon Unlimited plan
  • Included countries: 2 (Mexico and Canada)
  • Duration: None
  • 4G LTE data: 0.5 GB per line per day (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: same as your domestic plan
  • Calls to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

TravelPass (Mexico & Canada)

If you don't have the unlimited plan, the second way you can still use your Verizon service in Mexico and Canada is via their TravelPass. This is added to your existing plan and lets you make calls, send texts, and use data while in the two North American countries. It has a daily fee of $5 for Mexico and Canada. Verizon recommends you use a 4G World Device, but it is possible that phones not on this list will work in these two nations.

  • Price: $5 per day per line
  • Included countries: 2 (Mexico and Canada)
  • Duration: 24 hours
  • 4G LTE data: 0.5 GB per line per day (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: same as domestic plan
  • Calls to US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Calls from US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Calls to local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Calls from local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS received from local international numbers: same as domestic plan

You should add the TravelPass option to each line before your trip, which can be done online, via texts, or through the My Verizon app. Once added, when you first turn on your phone in a TravelPass supported country, a welcome test message will arrive. When you make your first phone call, send a text, or use data (including background data), your 24 hours will begin. Within two hours of starting the TravelPass, Verizon will send you a new text message letting you know the time at which the TravelPass will end.

To end the TravelPass, simply stop using data, sending or receiving text messages, or making or receiving phone calls. Ideally, turn on airplane mode to prevent re-billing, as your phone will automatically run background data when it has a connection. Alternatively, just return to the US and resume using your phone normally (it's the international service that you have to avoid if you want to stop being charged). However, if you want another day, continue to use your phone in the foreign country, and the process will start over.

TravelPass (International)

If you're traveling to a different continent, you'll need a different version of TravelPass. This one includes support for over 185 countries, but pricing is a little higher. This plan also requires a 4G World Device.

  • Price: $10 per day per line (or free for 5 days with Above Unlimited plan)
  • Included countries: over 185
  • Duration: 24 hours
  • 4G LTE data: 0.5 GB per line per day (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: same as domestic plan
  • Calls to US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Calls from US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Calls to local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Calls from local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: same as domestic plan
  • MMS received from local international numbers: same as domestic plan

You can add the TravelPass either on Verizon's website, via text, or through the My Verizon app. After arriving at your destination, Verizon will welcome you with a new text. After making your first phone call, sending your first text, or using data (including background data), your 24 hours will begin. Within two hours of starting a TravelPass, Verizon will inform you of the expiration time for the TravelPass via a text message. As long as you stop using your phone by that time, your TravelPass will end, and you will not be charged anything additional.

However, because smartphones use background data, the best way to avoid a second charge while you're still abroad is to turn on airplane mode. If you wish to use the TravelPass for an extra day (and pay the additional $10 per line), continue to use your phone after the expiration time, and the process will repeat. When you return to the US, you can resume using your phone as normal and you won't be billed for any extra days of TravelPass.

Monthly International Travel Plan

If you plan to travel for an extended period or plan to make multiple international trips, another option is the monthly international travel plan. The cheaper plan is $70. For this price, you are allocated a monthly allowance of minutes, text messages, and data which can be used in any one of the 185+ supported countries.

  • Price: $70 per month
  • Included countries: over 185
  • Duration: 1 month
  • 4G LTE data: 0.5 GB per line per day (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: 100 minutes
  • Calls from US phone numbers: 100 minutes (including outgoing calls)
  • Calls to local international numbers: 100 minutes
  • Calls from local international numbers: 100 minutes (including outgoing calls)
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: 100
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: 100 (including US texts)
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: 100 (including SMS)
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: 100 (including SMS)
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

However, if you need a bit more, you can opt for the $130 plan which increases each of these totals.

  • Price: $130 per month
  • Included countries: over 185
  • Duration: 1 month
  • 4G LTE data: 2 GB per line per day (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: 250 minutes
  • Calls from US phone numbers: 250 minutes (including outgoing calls)
  • Calls to local international numbers: 250 minutes
  • Calls from local international numbers: 250 minutes (including outgoing calls)
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: 1,000
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: 1,000 (including US texts)
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: 1,000 (including SMS)
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: 1,000 (including SMS)
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

Both plans will charge you overages for exceeding these amount. Verizon will charge you $0.35 per minute for calls over the limit. For every text message you send over your limit, you will be charged $0.05. As for data, once you exceed the limit, it will cost you an additional $25 per 0.5 GB.

Pay as You Go

For non-unlimited Verizon customers, if you visit a country that isn't supported by Verizon's TravelPass, you don't add TravelPass or Monthly International Travel to your plan, or your domestic allowance expires when using the TravelPass, your phone usage will be charged based on a pay as you go schedule. The rates are the same for text messages, incoming multimedia messaging (MMS), and data, while they do vary in voice calls based on the country. Outgoing MMS (such as pictures, videos, or long text messages) will also incur additional data charges when sent.

  • Price: N/A
  • Included countries: 220+
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: $2.05 per MB (if available)
  • 3G data: $2.05 per MB (if available)
  • 2G data: $2.05 per MB (if available)
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $0.99–$2.99 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $0.99–$2.99 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $0.99–$2.99 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $0.99–$2.99 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: $0.05 per text
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: $0.05 per text
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: $0.25 per MMS
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: $0.25 per MMS
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: $0.25 per MMS
  • MMS received from local international numbers: $0.25 per MMS

Cruise Ships

Verizon supports more than 400 different cruise ships across 21 fleets. While on the cruise, you will be able to make voice calls and text messages when using a 4G LTE World Device, but data isn't available so you'll have to use the cruise ship's Wi-Fi. When you dock, the rates of the current country applies instead and data will be available based on the international plan you use.

  • Price: free with any Verizon monthly plan
  • Included countries: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: N/A
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: $0.05 per text
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: $0.05 per text
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: N/A
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: N/A
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: N/A
  • MMS received from local international numbers: N/A

AT&T

Unlimited Plans (Mexico & Canada)

With AT&T Unlimited & More and Unlimited & More Premium plans, you can make unlimited calls and texts while in Mexico and Canada. You can also enjoy the same unlimited data as if you were in the US, including the same restrictions. This includes your data being deprioritized after 22 GB during periods of high traffic.

  • Price: free with any AT&T Unlimited plan
  • Included countries: 2 (Mexico and Canada)
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: unlimited (data deprioritized after 22 GB)
  • 3G data: unlimited
  • 2G data: unlimited
  • Calls to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

International Day Pass

When traveling outside of North America, AT&T has International Day Pass. This is a $10 per day add-on which lets you bring your unlimited plan overseas. Text messages are limited to 1 MB in size and MMS isn't available in all countries.

  • Price: $10 per day per line
  • Included countries: 100+
  • Duration: 24 hours
  • 4G LTE data: same as domestic plan (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: same as domestic plan
  • 2G data: same as domestic plan
  • Calls to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited (1 MB max) (where supported)
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited (1 MB max) (where supported)
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited (1 MB max) (where supported)
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited (1 MB max) (where supported)

Once you add this option to your line, it will remain there until you remove it either via AT&T's website or by calling 800-335-4685. Once added, the first time you use data, your minutes, or send a text message in an International Day Pass country, you will be charged the $10 fee and a timer will begin. To avoid paying for a second day, usage of your phone (calls, texts, data) must stop, which can be accomplished by enabling airplane mode. For those on limited data plans, once you exceed your allocated data, speeds will be reduced to 2G just like in your domestic plan.

Passport

AT&T also has a monthly option for those who travel frequently or are going to be overseas for an extended period of time. This plan covers doubles the countries supported by International Day Pass and provides you with a set amount of minutes, text messages, and data for the month. The cheapest option is the AT&T Passport 1 GB plan.

  • Price: $60 per line
  • Included countries: 200+
  • Duration: 1 month
  • 4G LTE data: 1 GB (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: unlimited
  • 2G data: unlimited
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

However, for those needing a bit more data, there's also the AT&T Passport 3 GB option which triples the data for double the price.

  • Price: $120 per line
  • Included countries: https://[www.att.com/shop/wireless/international/global-countries.html 200+
  • Duration: 1 month
  • 4G LTE data: 3 GB (where available, otherwise 3G)
  • 3G data: unlimited
  • 2G data: unlimited
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $0.35 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

If you're in a country that supports International Day Pass and Passport and you have an active International Day Pass, AT&T will use the pass instead of Passport. For both plans, there is an overage fee for data, which is $50 per GB. Neither plan will be prorated if canceled before the end of the duration.

Pay Per Use

When traveling without a package, or traveling to a country not included in a package, or when your plan expires, AT&T will switch you to its pay-per-use rates. Data is available in 200+ countries.

  • Price: N/A
  • Included countries: 200+
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: $2.05 per MB
  • 3G data: unlimited
  • 2G data: unlimited
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $1.00 (Canada & Mexico), $2.00 (Europe), or $3.00 (rest of world) per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $1.00 (Canada & Mexico), $2.00 (Europe), or $3.00 (rest of world) per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $1.00 (Canada & Mexico), $2.00 (Europe), or $3.00 (rest of world) per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $1.00 (Canada & Mexico), $2.00 (Europe), or $3.00 (rest of world) per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: $0.55 per text
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: $0.55 per text
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: $1.30 per MMS
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: $1.30 per MMS
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: $1.30 per MMS
  • MMS received from local international numbers: $1.30 per MMS

Cruise & Airlines

For those taking a cruise, you will also be charged per use. Data is available, but is nearly 3 times the cost as it is on land. Airlines are even worse, starting at $10.24 per MB.

  • Price: N/A
  • Included countries: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: from $6.14 per MB (cruises), from $10.24 per MB (airlines)
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $3.00 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $3.00 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $3.00 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $3.00 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: $0.55 per text
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: $0.55 per text
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: $1.30 per MMS
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: $1.30 per MMS
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: $1.30 per MMS
  • MMS received from local international numbers: $1.30 per MMS

T-Mobile

Simple Global

For T-Mobile customers, the best offering for international travel is Simple Global. This package is included with most domestic T-Mobile plans and gives you access to unlimited texting and 2G data in over 210 countries automatically. Additionally, local voice calls can be made at a low rate. T-Mobile ONE, ONE Plus, Simple Choice, New Classic, and Select Choice plans all include Simple Global service.

  • Price: free with qualifying domestic plan
  • Included countries: 210+
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: N/A
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: unlimited (128 kbps for most plans, 256 kbps for T-Mobile ONE Plus)
  • Calls to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls to local international numbers: $0.25 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $0.25 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

All of these plans include unlimited texting in Mexico and Canada and up to 5 GB of LTE data (speeds are reduced to 2G or 128 kbps afterward). You also get unlimited in-flight texting and either 1 hour of data (T-Mobile ONE and Simple Choice) or unlimited data (T-Mobile ONE Plus) on all Gogo-enabled flights. However, this feature is only available when traveling to, from, or within the US. Text messages are $0.50 per text when not in a supported country. Data is only available via Wi-Fi and voice rates will vary per country.

T-Mobile Essentials

For customers on the T-Mobile Essentials plan here in the US, unlimited 2G data is removed from the mix, so you'll have no data coverage unless you're on Wi-Fi. You can make calls at $0.25 per minute and text for free in 210+ countries. Text messages are $0.50 per text when not in a supported country, and voice rates will vary per country. For those traveling to Mexico and Canada, you can enjoy a similar experience to the T-Mobile ONE plan with unlimited talk and text. Data, however, is limited to 2G speeds (up to 128 kbps).

  • Price: free with qualifying domestic plan
  • Included countries: 210+
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: N/A
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $0.25 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $0.25 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $0.25 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

World Class International Roaming

For those using any other plan, you will need to add World Class International Roaming. You can do this through the T-Mobile app or on their website, and there's no cost for adding it. This option allows you to use your phone to roam internationally, although on a pay per usage plan.

  • Price: N/A
  • Included countries: 210+
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data:N/A
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: rates vary by country
  • Calls from US phone numbers: rates vary by country
  • Calls to local international numbers: rates vary by country
  • Calls from local international numbers: rates vary by country
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: rates vary by country
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: rates vary by country
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: rates vary by country
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: rates vary by country
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: rates vary by country
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: rates vary by country
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: rates vary by country
  • MMS received from local international numbers: rates vary by country

If you have stateside international talk and text, texts and calls to landlines in 70 countries or mobile numbers in 30 countries are included. If you don't have stateside international talk and text, then rates vary by country. Rates only apply to postpaid customers (prepaid rates are different). Pay-In-Advance and No Credit Check plans don't include global coverage.

International Pass

For those on the T-Mobile ONE, ONE Plus, Essentials, or Simple Choice plans, you can add 0.5 GB of high-speed data for $5 a day per line. The pass lasts for 24 hours and is only available in qualified countries (over 210). You also receive unlimited calling. You can purchase up two passes ahead of time, allowing you stack three together for a total of 1.5 GB of 4G LTE in 24 hours (of course, it will run you $15 for that day). However, the unlimited calling ends after the last pass expires.

Once you exceed your data, speeds will return to 2G as dictated by your plan. In other words, you still get Simple Global features if you're on T-Mobile ONE, ONE Plus, Simple Choice, New Classic, or Select Choice since they're included with your plan, but you add enhanced data for the first 0.5 GB and get truly unlimited calling if you pay the extra $5. T-Mobile Essentials users will switch to 2G speeds while the pass duration still remains and all data will cease once the pass expires.

Cruise Ships

For cruises, only T-Mobile ONE, ONE Plus, and Simple Choice plans allow you to use your phone while on the water. Like with most cruise ship plans, it is recommended that you avoid data as the price is pretty steep.

  • Price: N/A
  • Included countries: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: N/A
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: rates vary by cruise ship
  • Calls from US phone numbers: rates vary by cruise ship
  • Calls to local international numbers: rates vary by cruise ship
  • Calls from local international numbers: rates vary by cruise ship
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: deducted from domestic plan
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: deducted from domestic plan
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: deducted from domestic plan
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS received from local international numbers: deducted from domestic plan

For other plans, you'll simply have to wait until you are docked. At that point, your phone will be able to make calls, send texts, and use data based on the country's rates.

Sprint

Canada & Mexico Premium International Experience

For those subscribed to one of Sprint's unlimited plans (Unlimited Basic, Unlimited Plus, or Unlimited Premium), you automatically gain the Canada & Mexico Premium International Experience. This option provides you with free calling and texting while in Canada and Mexico and 4G LTE. Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus have a limited amount of data they can enjoy, while the Unlimited Premium plan provides unlimited data, allowing you to essentially use your same domestic plan, but abroad.

  • Price: free with qualifying domestic plan
  • Included countries: 2 (Canada & Mexico)
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: 5 GB (Unlimited Basic), 10 GB (Unlimited Plus), unlimited (Unlimited Premium)
  • 3G data: unlimited
  • 2G data: unlimited
  • Calls to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Calls to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Calls from local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS received from local international numbers: unlimited

Sprint Global Roaming

For other countries, there is Sprint Global Roaming, which is available to all postpay Sprint customers automatically. Sprint Global Roaming covers over 200 countries and provides free texting and free 2G data in these areas. Voice calls can also be made at low costs, and there is an option for unlimited 4G data for an additional fee. You must use an LTE/GSM capable smartphone.

  • Price: free with any domestic plan
  • Included countries: 200+
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: N/A
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: unlimited
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $0.20 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $0.20 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $0.20 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $0.20 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: unlimited
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: unlimited
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: N/A
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: N/A
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: N/A
  • MMS received from local international numbers: N/A

There is no sign-up. As long as you have an LTE/GSM capable phone, it is already enabled unless you have a different international roaming offer enabled. You also get free 20 voice minutes to Cuba. After these expire, calls can be made at $0.70 per minute.

Data Pass

If you want to enjoy high-speed 4G LTE data, you need to get a data pass. Data passes can be purchased for one day or the week, and they provide you unlimited 4G LTE data during the duration. Passes should be purchased in advance, as you may not be able to once you are in the country. However, be warned that there is an overage cost. Once the time expires, you will not return to 2G data. Instead, you will use 3G data and any data consumed will cost you $0.03 per MB.

These passes are added to Sprint Global Roaming, so you still will enjoy free texts and $0.25 per minute voice calls.

Cruises

For cruise ships, you can make calls, send texts, and use data at a pay per use rate. This is only available for Sprint Global Roaming users.

  • Price: N/A
  • Included countries: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: $60 for 100 MB, $100 for 250 MB
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $2.50 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $2.50 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $2.50 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $2.50 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS received from local international numbers: $0.50 per MMS

Any data use will automatically charge you $60 for 100 MB. Once you exceed 100 MB, it will charge you $100 for the next 250 MB and every set of 250 MB usage after. So be careful — that's about $500 for a single gigabyte of data usage!

Pay Per Usage

If you happen to visit a country not covered by Sprint Global Roaming, another option available is pay per usage. While the rates do vary a bit, most countries charge the following:

  • Price: N/A
  • Included countries: 200+
  • Duration: N/A
  • 4G LTE data: $0.99 per MB
  • 3G data: N/A
  • 2G data: N/A
  • Calls to US phone numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Calls from US phone numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Calls to local international numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Calls from local international numbers: $2.99 per minute
  • Texts (SMS) sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from US phone numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • Texts (SMS) received from local international numbers: $0.50 per text
  • MMS sent to US phone numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS received from US phone numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS sent to local international numbers: $0.50 per MMS
  • MMS received from local international numbers: $0.50 per MMS

This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on traveling with your smartphone. Check out the whole Travel series.

Cover image via Pixabay

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