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International Data Plan questions

I have gone through and read prior posts, and want to make sure I have this down correctly and how to use my phone and IPAD. We will have both of our phones and I got the Verizon Global International information, as I also read this in another post:

100 min. talk
100 min. text (incoming texts are free)
100 mg data.

1). Is this for each phone?
2). I know to turn my data off. My phone has two option tabs. One says "Mobile Data" and I have that checked. I'm assuming I have to uncheck that, correct? One says "Global Data Roaming Acess" and I have that checked "off"...which I will keep there, correct? So, the biggy is the first one, I think.

3). We really only have our phones for emergencies, as we will have 2 college kids. We might tell them to text us every other day just to let us know all is OK. (that's free). We don't plan on contacting them unless there is an emergency. Maybe if we needs to text each other once in awhile, but I doubt we will even do that.

4). Can I use wifi to text or make a phone call?
5). Can I use a citygo app with data off?

6). IPAD....I plan on using research or coming here with questions using this? All I need to do is find a wifi at hotel, etc. and I don't have any charges or anything, correct?

Please forgive my simplistic questions...I've just never done this before. Thanks.

Posted by
6 posts

I have traveled all over Europe using my iPad and have never had any trouble - it all works just like normal. Most restaurant/cafe/pubs have internet access and you can ask for the code - as long as you are a customer, and most hotels have internet access you can hook into.
An alternative to your cell phone would be to buy an inexpensive Skype plan to call the states. I lived in Ireland for a while and paid something like 6 euros a month to make unlimited calls to states. Not sure if it would work from a variety of countries but it's worth looking into.

Can't help with the Verizon. I have t-mobile which gives me unlimited texts in European countries, and 20 cents a minute local phone calls.

have fune!

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks Kerry...that's good to know about my IPAD. I'm FB friends with one son, so that might be a nice way to stay in touch with him. the other refused to Friend me....haha.

Posted by
6543 posts

The main reason I went with T Mobil was to get access to their great European cellphone service. They're owned by Deutz Telecom--the phone company for Germany and many countries in Europe.
Their $50 plan has unlimited everything in Europe and $.20 per minute calls. And there's no 2 year contract.
My 3 year old granddaughter knows how to call us on her mother's speed dial. She kept calling us when we were in Budapest last year--just like she was calling is across town. But of course it was 3:30 a.m.

Posted by
7689 posts

Lulu, we successfully used the What'sApp texting app last year to communicate with a nephew doing a study abroad in Barcelona and a nephew at home while my brother and I were in Ireland and Belgium. It works on wifi and everyone needs to have the app on their phone. Very easy and of course the kids were the ones that knew about it, lol!

David, I need to check out the T-mobile kiosk next time I go to Costco.

Posted by
672 posts

I use T-Mobile for my iPhone for the same reason. I pay $39/month with no contract. Phone calls from outside the U.S. are 20¢ a minute, texts are free and I have data to use when WiFi isn't available. This is a great plan for those who travel outside the country a lot.

If your iPad is WiFi only (mine is), there are no charges. You just need to find WiFi, which shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by
544 posts

Hi Lulu,

  1. About the Verizon prices, they are per line, not for the whole account. I would avoid this unless you really want to use the Internet when you're on a bus or in a car where there's no wifi.

  2. Since you've unchecked global roaming data, you are already properly setup. Your phone will not connect to data outside of the U.S.

  3. Use Facebook and email to keep an touch when you're on wifi in the hotel or a coffee shop.

  4. You can't use wifi to text or make a call. Only to use apps like the ones other people have talked about. Facebook and email will work perfect.

  5. I don't know about the citygo app. I use google maps when I'm on wifi in the hotel or other free hotspot like a coffee shop. There's way to save maps to use offline, but I think it's easier just to carry one of the free maps from the hotel or your Rick Steve's book.

  6. You are right that wifi is often free in the hotels.

Good questions!

Maybe try taking your iPad to a coffee shop here at home to practice getting on wifi in a new place? It's always easier to mess with this stuff at home first.

Posted by
524 posts

I'm definitely going to check out that What'sapp texting app! so, it basically bypasses the phones texting?

Also, I have the IPAD air....I'm pretty sure it's just wifi...now I'm going to have to go home and check. I'm pretty sure it is.

When everyone says that have T-Mobile, that confuses me. Do you mean that is just your service provider? Mine is Verizon, so I'm assuming I have to get the international plan from them, right?
Edited: I just found this...

"• WhatsApp Calling: Call your friends and family using WhatsApp for free, even if they’re in another country. WhatsApp calls use your phone’s Internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes. Data charges may apply."

So, now I'm confused. Does this eat into the 100 mg data that I'm allowed?

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks Eric....that helps quite a bit. I think my understanding is that What'sapp can be used on my phone but only where wifi is available? And it won't eat into any of the Verizon international data or texting limitations. This would be nice if I'm somewhere that I didn't want to bring my IPAD. But, I agree...using the IPAD in my hotel room to email and FB message is the ideal.

Thanks again...I'm just trying to get a handle on how this all works!

Posted by
62 posts

You can use citygo without data. You download the maps you want and just need gps enabled for the app to work.

Posted by
4689 posts

Nancy: " I use T-Mobile for my iPhone for the same reason. I pay $39/month with no contract. Phone calls from outside the U.S. are 20¢ a minute, texts are free and I have data to use when WiFi isn't available. This is a great plan for those who travel outside the country a lot."

How did you manage that price? When I had T-Mobile's Simple Choice plan, it was $50/month. If I wanted to use their international roaming, I had to be on Simple Choice. Did you get some sort of grandfathered deal on an old plan?

I just dumped T-Mobile only because I've found much cheaper cell service, to the point where it's still much cheaper for me to buy a SIM card (or two) when I go overseas once a year to use my phone in Europe. I already use Google Voice anyway so I can use my same number in Europe to make/receive calls at no extra cost (besides the cost of a local SIM or WiFi).

Posted by
672 posts

Andrew,

My plan is actually through Mobal, but it uses the T-mobile system. Years ago, I was on Verizon, but I used a Mobal SIM card when we were out of the country. Then, one day, we got an email from Mobal offering their Mobal Freedom Plan, so I dropped Verizon and switched over to that. So, maybe it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. We are out of the country 13 - 14 weeks per year, so this has been great for us. Same phone, same everything no matter where we are. I use the data a lot for directions (we both seem to be a little challenged in that area).

Posted by
661 posts

Lulu, cell phone packages are very confusing and they always seem to be changing. Don't be shy about asking questions.

This summer I bought a package for AT&T as you are describing. Keep your data turned off (AT&T website gave pretty good instructions on how to do this for my phone).

Most of the time, I used hotel wi-fi to access the internet. It was usually free but in some budget hotels I had to pay a few dollars. I would do my research on wi-fi in the evening. I could also keep in touch via email (when on wi-fi) and texting. I used the phone a little to make travel arrangements.

The real key to keeping charges under control is to watch your data use. Keep it turned off!

Posted by
544 posts

Lulu, you asked:

"I think my understanding is that What's App can be used on my phone but only where wifi is available?"

And you're exactly right "What's App" uses the internet and will connect through wifi if and when you're connected to a wifi hotspot.

Have you decided to add the 100min/100text/100mb plan from Verizon?

Posted by
925 posts

Lulu - looking forward to seeing what you decide and how it goes. I too am on Verizon. They just announced new plans but I doubt any of it applies to travel rates - could be though...

Posted by
5318 posts

Lulu, I'm impressed that you can get your college-age kids to email/text every other day. When my daughter was on the other side of the country, she would only respond to emailed direct questions with consequences:
"There's a charge on my card from xxx in Boston. Did you do this ? Otherwise I'll report the card stolen..." or "What time does your plane land, if you want to be picked up ?"

In fact, email might be a better way to keep in touch because of the time zone differences -- you can go on about your amazing experiences at a time that's convenient for you, and they can read it when they wake up.
If you're looking at CityMaps2Go, yes it works great with no data connection as long as you downloaded the map using wifi.

Posted by
5318 posts

Lulu, I'm impressed that you can get your college-age kids to email/text every other day. When my daughter was on the other side of the country, she would only respond to emailed direct questions with consequences:
"There's a charge on my card from xxx in Boston. Did you do this ? Otherwise I'll report the card stolen..." or "What time does your plane land, if you want to be picked up ?"

In fact, email might be a better way to keep in touch because of the time zone differences -- you can go on about your amazing experiences at a time that's convenient for you, and they can read it when they wake up.
If you're looking at CityMaps2Go, yes it works great with no data connection as long as you downloaded the map using wifi.

Posted by
901 posts

Lulu, I have Verizon as well. if your kids also have iPhones or iPads you can face time them for free using wifi. That's what we did in France using our iPad that did not have any Verizon-affiliated wifi plan, using only the hotel free wifi. Works great.

Posted by
1455 posts

Lulu, with all you've been gig through and now trying to finish the details for this trip...ask all the questions you want/ need. I struggled to wrap my brain around this communication stuff and I didn't have half the stuff going on that you do.

We have Verizon and ended up going with their global plan. It was $40 for one line for the things you listed. We felt we only needed one phone to have an international plan. There are cheaper ways of doing it, but sometimes that one too many things to wrap your brain around. Part of our decision was based on communicating with travel partners we were meeting in Barcelona. They were able to get their local Verizon office to set up their global program, but my local office wasn't very familiar with global programs and quoted me a higher rate. Other posters on this site said to be sure and call the Verizon Global people and set it up with them. They are right. The global office started it automatically on a date I selected and turned it off on the day we arrived home. Few things work that efficiently.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
300 posts

If you want to make use of the 100 MB of international data (it's not a tremendous amount so be careful) you'll want to turn Mobile Data and Global Data Roaming Access both ON.

You can leave Mobile Data on and if the Data Roaming is off you won't connect to data networks outside your home country.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks again everyone! Yes...I need to be mindful of texting the kids because of the time difference. i do think email will be the way to go, so I will plan on doing that.

I'm just going to plan on not using it much at all..only emergencies. Use wifi and my IPAD. I looked and I didn't pay to use the 4G for my IPAD, so it's only Wifi abled.

I also downloaded the citygo app, but don't remember if I used wifi or not when I did that. I don't think I used wifi. So, should I delete it and do it again?

Posted by
1039 posts

Just a warning for those of you that are planning on signing up for Verizon's International Phone Plan, I was told that I would have to cancel it upon my return or it would continue on each month. I was able to activate it on the date of my choice, but they would not deactivate it on a specific date. It would be up to me to remember to call them and let them know that I no longer wanted it.