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T-Mobile Service at Home and Abroad

I have the opportunity to change carriers from Verizon because my company will no longer be paying for my mobile phone service after the end of this month. T-Mobile offers international service as part of a plan that I'm considering. I've read both positive and negative reviews about its domestic coverage, but haven't seen anything about its international service. So, my question is this: If you have T-Mobile, what have been your experiences at home and abroad? I travel often for both business and pleasure, so having global service as part of my regular plan is attractive.

Posted by
113 posts

Works great abroad - in most countries. See web site for locations. Unlimited text and internet; though at 2G and sometimes 3G levels. Then again, you can find wi-fi almost everywhere.

Posted by
9026 posts

In a nutshell coverage is better in Europe than it is in the US. In the US it's fine in the middle of population centers big and small and along the interstate, but lacking in some "in-between" areas. Even with it's short comings, I'm happy overall. If international coverage is important, Tmobile is the way to go.

Posted by
9126 posts

I’ve had T-Mobile for years. Internationally it works great. Unlimited text & data and $.25/min. for calls. Domestically coverage at my house could be better sometimes, so they provided a booster and it’s fine.

Posted by
2927 posts

Ditto! No complaints about service -- might occasionally drop in remote parts of southeastern US, but the seamless coverage I get on international travel far outweighs that. I have been to Croatia, Italy, Greece, Netherlands, Ireland, and other countries and I love that you just turn the phone on when the place lands and you are good to go.
Some say the service can be slow, but I've never had a problem, even to rural areas in Italy and Greece.

Posted by
22018 posts

If you have a reasonably new cell phone, you might also check on Google Fi. I don't use a lot of data and am saving a lot on Google Fi (compared to T-Mobile) because Fi has a low rate for phone and text and charges by the GB for data usage. It's $10 per GB, and I've never used that much in a month because I use hotel Wi-Fi for most things when I'm traveling.

Posted by
830 posts

We've used it just fine for data and texts in Hungary, Austria, France, Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland. It is a bit slow -- like 2g -- though I 've read you can pay extra before a trip to be able to access 5g. I think it's $5/day, 35 for 10 days and $50 for 30 days. Calls are 25 cents a minute. Of course you can use your phone in wifi mode if you have access at your hotel, etc.

Posted by
7213 posts

For the most part, the big cellular companies are somewhat generic in quality and how they operate.

T Mobile is owned by Deutch Telecom--the German telephone company. Naturally, they have a big presence in Europe.

When traveling, we use T Mobile's international plan which works just like it does in the U.S. There are no sims cards to have to deal with. And no having to deal with "customer service" with a rep that doesn't speak our language.

Our 3 year old granddaughter once called us at 3:00 a.m. when we were in Budapest--using her mother's speed dial. When we return home, we cancel the international service.

Posted by
5142 posts

I used T-Mobile overseas a few times. The international roaming was a little slow sometimes but basically worked. T-Mobile US doesn't actually have service in Europe - they have roaming partners. Your mobile coverage in the US depends on where you live and how well T-Mobile covers your area. Some people get terrible T-Mobile reception at home (though WiFI Calling basically solves that inside your house). Some (especially in cities) get as good of coverage as with Verizon, maybe better.

With T-Mobile roaming, your phone always connects to the fastest network their roaming partner has - 4G, 5G, whatever. But they "throttle" your speed to the equivalent of "2G" speeds (but you aren't really connecting to 2G networks, unless that's all your phone can find).

I stopped using T-Mobile because it was just more expensive for my phone needs at home, where I can get unlimited talk + text and 2GB of data (usually all I need) for $10 to $15/month with no international roaming. When I go to Europe, I use an old Dutch Vodafone SIM I've kept alive for years (no longer possible to buy them on eBay unfortunately). If you don't mind playing with your phone when you get to Europe, you can buy a SIM too in most countries (the rules vary by country; in some countries you need to register the SIM using your passport, maybe even a local address; in others you just buy the SIM at a convenience store and self-activate). If you mostly need just mobile data, the European can save you a lot of money, when you figure the yearly cost of using your phone + roaming for one or two trips. The biggest downside of a European SIM (besides fussing with it) is that you won't have your US phone number for calls or texts while your US SIM is not installed. I use Google Voice anyway (not tied to my US SIM card), so I can still call and text from Europe with normal US number, even with my Dutch SIM in place. I have a Dutch phone number too if I really wanted to use it but have never really needed it.

If you're interested in the European SIM approach, consider a prepaid service in the US like Tello or Mint Mobile - both use the same T-Mobile network in the US that T-Mobile users use but at a fraction of the cost. But...no international roaming. If you go to Europe every month, you might do better just going with T-Mobile or Google Fi for easy roaming.

Posted by
3425 posts

I much prefer T-Mobile to Verizon. We changed to T-Mobile after Verizon charged us daily charges while in Europe even though my husband had called and arranged for the monthly charge, but had no way to prove it.

EDITED: People on another thread say that you can turn on Verizon's International Plan and only pay the $10/day charge if you use your phone. That was not our experience-they charged us $10/day every day we were in Europe, even on days we didn't use our phone and it seems like I remember them continuing to do so even when we returned to States until we saw the big charge on our next bill and had it turned off.

Posted by
326 posts

Thanks, everyone, for your very helpful replies!

Posted by
1133 posts

We are long time T-Mobile users. When traveling in the U.S., we'd sometimes lose coverage, but it has gotten better over the years. We dismissed the idea of changing mainly because of the great international coverage. Having done the foreign SIM shuffle in years gone by, it is such a nice feeling to turn on the phone once we arrive overseas and it just works.

One downside these days to using our home phone numbers: spam calls, which in Europe might come ín the middle of the night. Set the do not disturb feature on your phone so you only get calls from numbers you care about.

Posted by
326 posts

The convenience of being able to use my phone as soon as I land overseas is really what's attracting me to T-Mobile. Thanks, Paul.

Posted by
3026 posts

Cellphone coverage is very personal and hit or miss. It can vary not only by part of country, but by state, county, city, neighborhood, even street. I keep Verizon even though in my house it's hit or miss, but now that I've turned on wifi calling it's very strong and dependable. And yes, they have a $10/day plan for Europe where you are only supposed to be charged when you're "logged in" meaning not in airline mode.

As noted, for some odd reason there are companies that resell airtime from the big names and charge less (not sure how you make money that way but whatevs). They are called MVNOs, but beware that their version of T Mobile may act differently in Europe. There are online articles and charts that track that sort of thing.

Posted by
326 posts

An update: decided to switch to T-Mobile and will have the opportunity to test its international service when I go to Portugal in July.

Posted by
326 posts

I just returned from Portugal today and can report that I didn’t have any problems using T-Mobile’s service as soon as I landed. I’m really pleased with the company and its service.