I have recently changed my service to t-mobile. They say they have free data and texting for all of the countries I will be visiting in Europe. How do I connect while in europe? Do I need to purchase a separate SIM card? Do I have to be on WiFi? I would love to be able to use google maps while walking around the cities but not sure if I will need to be on WiFi to use the maps.
I have Tmobile as well. You don't need to do anything special to connect. Your phone will work just as it does here in the US, the sim card your phone uses in the US will allow your phone to work overseas. Wifi isn't necessary as you will be using the data networks of the cell phone networks in Europe at no extra charge if you are on the Simple Choice plan. Tmobile is one of the dominant players in Europe so you will have no problem getting a signal wherever you are.
I just read Joseph's post on T-mobile which was very helpful. However, do I have to sign in to the other networks when going between countries or will my phone do that for me? I am not tech savy, if I do need to sign in to these non t-mobile networks how do I go about doing that? I have a iphone 5s that has a wifi calling turned on, is this free to use when calling back to the states (as long as I am on WiFi)? Or do I need to use something like Viber instead?
There is no sign-in for anything, the phone will do all the work connecting to the networks, be it Tmobile or one of their competitors. Same deal when you cross borders, everything is automatic. The Wifi call feature will work overseas as it does in the US, nothing special you have to do, all voice calls will be free using the same number you use in the US.
TMobile is great over there! I just turn on my phone and it works. When I enter a new country, a little message pops up on my screen that says "Welcome to...Italy, France, Spain etc." and then phone just keeps on seamlessly working. It's just excellent.
If you want to make calls for free you need to turn on w-fi calling, otherwise the calls are 20 cents per minute. The data and texting are indeed free. You can use Google maps while you're using your data. It's not super fast to load but it's ok.
This is such great news. We leave tomorrow for Germany. I'm curious to see how well it will do while we are there. I work online and have always had to take great care to have back up plans to my back up plans to make sure I could get a connection. I have rented a cellomobile phone for the last 5 years and it has always worked great, but I'm curious to see how TMobile stacks up against cellomobile this year.
I may well be mistaken, but I thought customers had to call T-Mobile to turn on the international plan.
You do need to check in with Tmobile to make sure you have international. It sounds like OP has already talked with them about this - but if you haven't, make a quick call to them and make sure you're set up and ready to go.
T Mobile started as a European company so they have a well-established network over there.
I was in Europe for 6+ weeks in May and June. T-Mobile worked like a champ! Every time I entered a new country I got a text welcoming me to that country and explaining the coverage. Not only do you have unlimited data, but it is separate from the data you have a home. I didn't make any phone calls, but if I had, .20 isn't a bad price. You don't have to do anything special to your phone if it includes international coverage, which mine did. I would double check to be sure.
It's not super fast to load but it's ok.
From now until the end of August Tmobile is giving all US customers, 4G lte speed when traveling through Europe at no extra charge.
If you have the Simple Choice plan there is no need to contact Tmobile about your travels, international coverage is built into the plan.
Here's how I use my T-mobile phone when I arrive at a country. Go to:
"Mobile data" is normally selected and will be left selected. (unless I want to turn the phone off.)
"Data roaming" is normally deselected, and I would select it. I would leave it selected during my trip, and deselect it when I return home.
I got 2G or 3G data speed overseas. Depending on the local network speed, and I found Google Maps could either work great or could be slow. When Wi-Fi is available, I would turn that on to see if it is speedier. Only text and data are free on T-Mobile, and voice has a charge. But calling with Wi-Fi is free. One time I used it to call T-Mobile when I encountered a problem!
When you go from country to country you will get a text message stating you are now connected to ......
We kept getting phone calls from our 30 month old granddaughter at home using her mothers speed dial for our cell phone--at 3:30 a.m. when visiting Budapest.
It's seamless with U.S. service.
TMobile is owned by the German phone company, and is also the big national cell phone provider for a # of countries in Western Europe.
I traveled with for three weeks in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and France. Others I traveled with had T-mobile and had great service with no extra fees. I, on the other hand, had paid AT&T $60.00 extra and had horrible reception and most times no service at all. As soon as my contract is up I'm switching to T- Mobile.
I recently spent 2 1/2 months in Europe and Israel using TMobile.
Before leaving home, make sure the plan you have with T-Mobile includes international.(If you have one of the Simple Choice plans you have it.)
Make sure data roaming is turned on.
That's it. No need to do anything else with your phone.
As stated before, when you arrive in a new country, it will take a few minutes for your phone to connect to the nearest tower. You will see which service you are connected to on your phone and get a welcome message. (And sometimes the closest tower might be in another country. While at the Dead Sea in Israel, I got a message from T-Mobile welcoming me to Jordan.)
It really is very simple. I made a few calls and the quality was fine. If for some reason your phone doesn't connect, turn it on and off. That usually works.
If for some reason you are out of an area covered by the T-Mobile plan, you will get a message warning you of the fact.
Vicky - just one addition to all of the above. In order to use Wi-Fi calling, you have to be signed in to Wi-Fi. You sign into Wi-Fi in Europe the same way you do at home. You will often have to input a password, or sign in using a web page.
I am overwhelmed by all of your great information! Thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions.
If you need to call someone in the U.S., you can also call them via FaceTime ( video or audio), as long as they have an iPhone & a FaceTime account... And...It's free!
After reading this thread, I may just have to switch to T-mobile!
Have a great trip!
One minor point to mention is that the level of data service that you have when roaming may vary. As Michael posted above, T-Mobile is currently offering 4G/LTE service for roaming customers for a limited time. If you're going to be travelling when this offer isn't in effect, you may only have lower speed data service.
This from their website....
You will have unlimited web speeds great for web browsing and e-mail, social networking and occasional use of certain features like GPS/maps. Some applications like streaming music or video will be more difficult abroad compared to when you’re on T-Mobile’s domestic network. Higher speed data passes are available for purchases when abroad:
- Single day pass: $15 for 100MB (high speed data capped at 100MB)
- 7 day pass: $25 for 200MB (high speed data capped at 200MB)
- 14 day pass: $50 for 500MB (high speed data capped at 500MB)
Simple Choice North America is now available to new & existing customers. This plan gives you unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada from the U.S. for FREE. Plus, get 4G LTE data and unlimited calling and texting when you’re in Mexico and Canada, just like in the U.S. Most existing T-Mobile customers can switch to Simple Choice North America at no extra charge. To learn more, please click here."
If you're going to be travelling when this offer isn't in effect, you
may only have 2G level data service.
Although Tmobile advertises 2g service, often it is faster. Sometimes you will get 2g, other times 3g or even 4g. In the end it will average out to 3g; overall very usable.
My experience was the same as Michael's. While TMobile only guarantees 2G, I often got much higher speeds. Sometimes, the cell data was faster than my hotel's wifi.
I thought of another question dealing with texting from Europe to US on my T-Mobile phone. Do I need to enter the US country code, or the country code of the country I am in, while texting back to the US?
I do nothing different whether I'm texting or phoning anyone back home. It just works like normal. I get a welcoming text every time I enter a new country and I don't need to do anything in settings.
In Ireland last summer it took me a couple of tries to figure out dialing numbers in-country. For calling back home it was easy although I seem to remember that you needed to dial + before the 1.
I've been with Sprint for 17 years. After reading these posts I think I will file for divorce In October when my contract is up. TMobile just sounds sooooo easy.
Elaine, before you switch, ask other T-Mobile users in your area. Don't just ask T-Mobile or look at their maps. Their coverage can be spotty. When my daughter went to college we had to get her a different carrier because of it. And I often get better coverage when I travel in the US than I do at home. Works great in Paris, though!
Another thing to do is to download offline maps before you go of areas you're visiting on your google maps, just in case, even though we never needed them.