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Old Sep 1, 16, 4:44 pm   #1
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Prepaid vs T-Mobile for my itinerary

I'll be traveling from US to England for four days and Italy(Rome, Venice, Florence) for 11 days. I will need to stay connected to the office with data, occasional phone and texting.

I spoke to T Mobile today. I have an unlocked phone, iPhone 4, that should be ok for the trip. T mobile said service would be $70 per month and an additional $25 for the plus service they just rolled out which I understand provides 3 and 4g service vs 2G where available. Since I'll be using in large cities I expect I'd benefit from the higher speeds. But, it's pretty pricey. I would however like to test T-Mobile service out anyway, I may decide to switch if the service seems comparable to ATT.

I currently have ATT but getting international service seems pretty expensive as well, especially for phone calls. Any comments on adding international appreciated.

Prepaid sim purchase in Europe. Maybe I should just go this route. I assume cheaper but what about for phone calls? And, I'd not get a chance to test T mobile out in the states as well without committing. I assume I'd have to get two different prepaid sims when I go to Italy from England?
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Old Sep 1, 16, 5:06 pm   #2
  
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Quote:
Since I'll be using in large cities I expect I'd benefit from the higher speeds.
Both ATT and Tmobile are moving away from 3G/"fake"4G to LTE. 3G will start becoming slower after every year

your iPhone is super old... Doesn't support LTE

I'd recommend getting a modern smartphone (you can find one for every price point from $50 to $200).

iPhone 4 is fine for international (you'll mostly connect to 3G overseas), but pointless for paying so much money stateside



but back on topic on international roaming - some prepaid providers allow roaming within EU , eg
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Euro3
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Old Sep 1, 16, 5:16 pm   #3
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I have no intention of using the 4 other than the time in Europe and a week in states, maybe a month longer. Should be able to unlock my 6 in a few months if I choose to switch.
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Old Sep 1, 16, 5:55 pm   #4
  
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then it's a question on whether switching/testing T-mobile right now (stateside + international) versus getting a prepaid int'l SIM

the int'l roaming speeds is slow (128kbit/s, or 16kBytes/s), but calling USA numbers is only $0.20/minute

If you want high speed data and not much calling, I'd suggest a prepaid SIM like the 3UK that I listed

more options:
http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.c...uropean_Union2

Quote:
And, I'd not get a chance to test T mobile out in the states as well without committing
You can always pay $30 for 1 month of T-mobile prepaid in the states to test their network

http://howtoretireearly.net/the-tmob...-prepaid-plan/

You won't get the best experience testing a iPHone 4 on T-mobile. iPhone 4 is missing LTE, especially their low-band which gives you more coverage/building reception
(if tmobile has lowband LTE in your area. your iPhone 6 doesn't support this lowband either, need a 6S)

http://www.cnet.com/news/t-mobiles-l...you-go-inside/
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Old Sep 2, 16, 7:17 am   #5
  
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I used to get prepaid international sim cards. But once TMO went global with free data/text, I stopped.

Get the cheapest TMO plan as all international data is 3g on your iPhone 4....but for emails, more than sufficient. Text is text, speed not relevant. Voice is $0.20/minute, very reasonable. And you've got the convenience of one number for the entire visit.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 12:01 pm   #6
  
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These new TMobile One plans are completely un-compelling for me. If I weren't already grandfathered on a previous TMobile plan, I don't think I'd be looking at them now. I have two phones that get 6gb/mo each and maybe burn through 1.5-2gb of that only (since streaming things like Pandora didn't count against the caps anyway). If I'm already locking away 4gb+/mo in my data stash per phone, why would I want to pay an additional $40/mo to be "unlimited"? I think I'd go to Verizon first.

Now, aside from the new $70 starting price point, the international roaming on TMobile is convenient. 95%+ of what I need when traveling will be fine at the throttled speeds (email, google maps, etc). But if you're looking at that $70/mo starting point just for this, maybe you should look at the international prepaid SIMs available at your destination instead.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 12:11 pm   #7
  
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Originally Posted by elCheapoDeluxe View Post
These new TMobile One plans are completely un-compelling for me.

Now, aside from the new $70 starting price point,
The new TMO One is not great, that's for sure!
But from this website, appears they're still offering a lower simple choice plan at the old $50/month, 2gb limit?
http://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans.html
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Old Sep 2, 16, 1:40 pm   #8
  
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Interesting. That isn't in any of the pages under the "Plans" menu. And on the page I did pull up it implied that "existing customers could keep their old plans" which *seems* to imply no new activation of the old plans would be allowed. How did you navigate to it in their site? Or was it a link in from Google not in the menus....
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Old Sep 3, 16, 6:25 am   #9
  
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I would go the local sim route. Britain is easy...you can read up on their web sites (O2, Vodafone, EE, 3) just add .co.uk to their names and all the information is on their web sites. For 10 you'll be covered for 30 days with 500 mb of S high speed data in the UK; there are add ons that makes calls within the UK during that period free and international calls dirt cheap. The problem is that when you leave for Italy, while calling and text calls within the eu are very reasonable now, calls to North America are expensive. So likely, for another €10 or so you can get an Italian sim but again you have to check out their web site for the best plans; I am not all that familiar with Italian sims. Now yes two different numbers. My suggestion? Look up localphone.com. For a fee of $5 and an additional $1/month they will give you a local number for just about every place in the world. That number can easily be programmed on their web site to ring to your mobile phone at very low rates. So you forward your calls on your AT&T number to the local number you purchase and set the local phone number purchased to ring to your European sim. Voila. Less than $50, you're all set.

It's just too bad that T Mobile pulled its simple choice plans along with the summer prootion of unlimited 4g data in Europe. I guess corporate greed always is the bottom line.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 7:26 am   #10
  
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Look at Project Fi

I was a T-Mobile Simple Choice user until recently mainly because of their lower cost international service compared to the others but was getting frustrated with their pokey 2G in most countries I visited. I switched to Google's Project Fi before my trip to Europe two months ago and have never looked back. Project Fi is $20 per month for unlimited voice & SMS in the US and $10/GB for data with credit for unused data. International roaming calls are $0.20/minute but free to the US if using Wi-Fi calling.

The speeds in Europe and elsewhere are not throttled. Where Wi-Fi was not available to make Wi-Fi calls I used Skype to call back to the US using the data service which turned out to be far cheaper than the already inexpensive $0.20/min roaming voice calls.

You'll need a Nexus phone to activate the service. I activated my service on a Nexus 6P and then put the activated sim back in my unlocked iPhone 5s. I also got a free companion data sim which I used with my iPad sharing the data with my primary number. You can also use the data sim in another unlocked phone for a companion and use Skype, Viber, etc., via the data service to communicate with them when travelling.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 9:38 am   #11
  
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Originally Posted by ROW2Aisle View Post
I was a T-Mobile Simple Choice user until recently mainly because of their lower cost international service compared to the others but was getting frustrated with their pokey 2G in most countries I visited.
While I totally agree 2-3G is not great, I've had about 90% success with calls via skype, wechat, whatsapp and line in most of asia. Same for my wife.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 1:51 pm   #12
  
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Prepaid data in Italy is great, very competitive and fast, especially with TIM.

I don't know about calling or texting back to the US though.

I have a T-Mobile phone and use a prepaid SIM for unlocked devices like iPad and a older iPhone.

But I don't get a prepaid SIM if I'm only in a country a couple of days.

For Italy, TIM has some good data-only deals:

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Italy
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Old Sep 3, 16, 6:07 pm   #13
  
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TIM has a 30 day deal, I believe, set up specifically for visitors to Italy which includes plenty of data and international calls to North America but you have to check it out on their web site.
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Old Sep 4, 16, 1:55 am   #14
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The other consideration is that within the EU there are caps on the rates that EU mobile phone/SIM providers can charge and nowadays I use my UK SIM within the EU without bothering to "go local" any longer. I currently am on giffgaff in the UK, and if you wanted me to send a giffgaff SIM to you so you can activate it before you leave I am happy to do so. There is a "Refer a Friend" scheme and the net is we both end up getting 5 credit. Other than that I would go for Three because of their "Feel at Home" product.
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Old Sep 4, 16, 5:37 am   #15
  
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The other consideration is that within the EU there are caps on the rates that EU mobile phone/SIM providers can charge and nowadays I use my UK SIM within the EU without bothering to "go local" any longer. I currently am on giffgaff in the UK, and if you wanted me to send a giffgaff SIM to you so you can activate it before you leave I am happy to do so. There is a "Refer a Friend" scheme and the net is we both end up getting 5 credit. Other than that I would go for Three because of their "Feel at Home" product.
I agree with you completely regarding using a British sim whether it's giffgaff (which piggybacks within the UK on another's towers, I forget which but it really doesn't matter) or 3 and is fine for making calls, sending texts and using data within the eu (regardless of Brexit?). The one caveat, though, with all the UK sims is once you leave the UK, calls to outside the eu say to North America become prohibitively expensive. There are workarounds but it's an extra little nuisance and it took me awhile to figure them out whereas if, and it's a big if, T Mobile USA is viable, you step off the plane, you turn on your phone and you're up. Not saying it's a bad idea but it does require a bit of research to go the UK sim only route.
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