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T Mobile Global data coverage

Old Oct 23, 13, 2:25 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: diburning
This is a user-maintained wiki FlyerTalkers with at least 90 posts and 90 days of membership may modify and update this information.
Please edit available network carriers or LTE networks if you find the information below is out of date.

Effective August 1st, 2018 :OPTIONAL high speed data roaming for international (non Canada/Mexico) has changed to be $5 USD per day for up to 512MB of high speed data per day. This also includes unlimited inbound and outbound calls avoiding the 25c a min call charge. You can add this via 611 or this link: https://my.t-mobile.com/odf/DataPass:ALL - It is labeled as "24 Hour Global Pass". If that link doesn't works go to "Manage Data & Add Ons" in plan settings at http://my.t-mobile.com . A pass covers ANY countries in the given validity period - NOT just one country. So if you travel within multiple countries in the 24 hour period you get a max of 512MB of high speed data and unlimited calling across ALL countries prior to pass expiration. This is OPTIONAL and is not required, free 128Kb/sec or 256Kb/sec speeds are provided for users who don't pay for this extra data pack.

Effective July 15th, 2018: Calling rates for inbound and outbound calls were raised to 25c a min from the prior 20c a min when roaming internationally. You can buy a per Intl High Speed day pass for 512MB of high speed data that also includes calling at no cost during the validity of the pass.


Effective Feb 17, 2017: T-Mobile has bumped up speeds to 256Kb/sec for T-Mobile One users - this was FREE for a promotional period and required you to edit the lines with this plan to add the free or higher tier paid "T-Mobile One Plus" line item. The free line item is "T-Mobile One Plus promo" which will allow that line to be 256kb/sec and will also give 10GB of LTE North America hotspot tethering - The change can be done at my.t-mobile.com under plan for T-Mobile One customers or through 611. With the promotional period ended you can add the base $5 T-Mobile One Plus item to get 256Kb/sec

SUMMARY: T-Mobile USA on Simple Choice or newer plans (such as Select Choice) or T-Mobile One that list "Free International Roaming included" allow for free data and SMS in 210+ countries. Data and SMS is FREE; voice calls; inbound or outbound to any of the 210+ countries while roaming are 25 cents a min. Free data is NOT offered on T-Mobile essentials users outside of Canada/Mexico while SMS and 25c a min calls are still offered.

Canada and Mexico include FREE high speed roaming (HSPA or LTE full speed) as long as you are on the Simple Choice North America plan or a T-Mobile One plan. A monthly cap of 5GB for International High speed data in Canada and Mexico is now present - data will slow to lower speeds with no overage charges. Users on T-Mobile One Plus International are exempt from this 5GB cap.

You must be on a Postpaid plan, Prepay is NOT eligible nor is MetroPCS

NOTE: Devices with fully FREE data (e.g. 200MB free for tablets) and not on an additional plan are NOT eligible - switch those devices to a supported plan PRIOR to travel or you will be charged per MB fees.

WARNING: Highly suggest going to: https://my.t-mobile.com/profile.html (or login to my.t-mobile.com select profile), go to blocking and ensure "Block charge international roaming" is set to ON - keep "Ensure Block International Roaming" is set to OFF otherwise roaming will not work even in free data countries. This will ensure in countries where you are close to another country border that may NOT be part of free data roaming you will never be charged for data by ending up roaming on the adjacent country network if your phone is set to Automatic on networks.

WARNING FOR HIGH SPEED ADD ON $5 DATA PASS: Ensure you know your end date/time and heed the SMS warnings sent. You will be liable for 25c a min per call inbound or outbound if the pass expires and you do not activate another pass. Ensure you purchase another daily pass before making phone calls. As of Early August 2018, there was no method to purchase multiple days in a row.


T-Mobile FAQ:
http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-9455

Checklist for Roaming - follow this prior to leaving!:
http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-2182

Performance:
Speeds are throttled to 128Kb/sec on all supported plans, except for T-Mobile One Plus Add on (includes the Promo Feb 2017 T-Mobile One update with free One Plus Promo) which is 256Kb/sec. Connecting to the best network type possible will ensure you hitting these speeds limits (e.g. LTE). Performance is subject to the roaming carrier networks condition (is it congested or not) and how good the back-haul from the roaming carrier back to T-Mobile is. Reminder that T-Mobile Essentials users will have NO access to free data.

Filtering:
Your connection is terminated back to the US, so anything that works on T-Mobile US will continue to work. Example: China filters social media and Google services, using these services through your T-Mobile line won't experience this networking filtering. Local services in the country you are in MAY identify you as being in the US - any services that do IP geolocation will see that you are in the US.

Optional High Speed On Demand Data Passes with unlimited calling
If you want performance that is beyond the 128Kb/sec (or 256Kb/sec on T-Mobile One Plus Add ons) then a PAID optional high speed data pass removes the throttling performance limit. Effective Aug 2018 this pass is a $5 PER day for 512MB of high speed data (per day) and unlimited calling to allowed countries, waiving the 25c per min charge for inbound or outbound calls. To add, go to: https://my.t-mobile.com/odf/DataPass:ALL and add the "24 Hour Global Pass". If that link doesn't work add at http://my-t-mobile.com under Plan, "Manage Data & Add Ons" More information: http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-7261 NOTE: As of Early August 2018 you can only purchase one day at a time, so be cautious on expiration (Notified via SMS) to add another day pass to avoid getting charged 25c per phone call. A pass covers ANY countries in the given validity period - NOT just one country. So if you travel within multiple countries in the 24 hour period you get a max of 512MB of high speed data and unlimited calling across ALL countries prior to pass expiration.

Country search:
https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/roaming

Country List at time of July 2018 update:
https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-37944

NOTE: there is no T-Mobile provided list of specific network roaming partners; you can call 611 and ask for a roaming specialist/tech and they can tell you per country roaming partners - we are attempting to capture working or problematic networks in this Wiki below also

Need Support while traveling? Read the hints below FIRST; then if support is needed call direct intl support for T-Mobile USA: +1-505-998-3793 [FREE CALL WHILE ROAMING] or if you cannot get Voice access use Skype or another service to dial.


Hints

#1 HINT: You MUST have Data roaming turned on - You will only see foreign networks on the network list - you will NOT see T-Mobile. Manually pick the networks from the list further below if you don't automatically connect.

- You do NOT have to pay for a high speed data package. 128Kb/sec (or 256Kb/sec on T-Mobile One Plus Add on) FREE throttled data is inclusive on all eligible postpaid plans

- High speed un-throttled data is also FREE for Canada and Mexico if you are on a Simple Choice North America plan or a T-Mobile One plan for up to 5GB of data per month (T-Mobile One Plus Intl users are not subject to the 5GB cap) . If you are not on these specific plans but on a legacy Simple Choice plan you will get standard 128Kb/sec FREE.

- For paid high speed packages, You can schedule WHEN optional high speed paid packages start (immediate or a time/date you set).

- On some accounts, High speed on demand data passes will will not be listed on my.t-mobile.com - under plans, "Manage Data & Add Ons". You can also contact customer care at 611 to add a data pass.

- If you purchase a package on phone or hotspot and are about to expire you can purchase ANOTHER one if you want and even though it will say "starts when your existing package date ends" it will IMMEDIATE activate it when you run out of data. Example You pay for 200Mb for one week and will eat into 200Mb, you can buy a package ANYTIME and it will future date it as being effective ONLY when the existing package date ends. HOWEVER once the existing package data amount is used up it will IMMEDIATE activate the paid pending package.

- On Demand Mifi WILL not roam at ALL if no package has ever been provisioned. Use the free data on your smartphone (or use another device with WiFi) and log into http://my.t-mobile.com Once logged in go to https://my-tmobile.com/Plan/Plans.as...vid=changeplan View plan for hotspot and and change plan, under Data Tab when viewing change plan add a package; once you confirm and submit (ENSURE before you submit you are adding to correct line!) you will get a confirmation. It was about 5 mins and then hotspot was able to connect to network.

- On demand Mifi WILL STOP working at end of time period NOT at end of data usage. So if you pick 500MB package which is 2 weeks expiration, it will actually STOP full speed at 500MB and revert to a 64Kb/sec speed till expiration; this ONLY applies to packages purchased on on demand hotspots. If you purchase a package for a smartphone you will revert to standard 128kb/sec

- Hotspots with On Demand will lose network access at end of paid period even if it reverted to lower hotspot only speed of 64kb/sec. So top up before you lose network.

- Legacy data match for tablets or hotspots (no longer offered but still allowed for current users) support 128Kb/sec on tablets and hotspots. If your data match plan details show match with North America added in the description then you get high speed in Canada and Mexico that uses your data match limit (up to 5GB) - after than you revert to 128Kb/sec. T-Mobile One Tablet will provide 128Kb/sec by default, if a T-Mobile One Plus add on is on that Tablet line (Including the free Feb 2017 One Plus Promo) speeds will be 256Kb/sec

- You can check current usage on any paid packages my viewing on the T-Mobile Application for Android or iOS or going to My T-Mobile website and filtering data usage on the line for International Data Roaming.

- When using a T-Mobile supported international data roaming plan on an iOS device internationally (in a nation on the 'free' list), you need to turn on Data Roaming on the iPhone/iPad Settings.

Troubleshooting

- If finding no networks when in new country, go to Airplane Mode - then back off Airplane mode and try again. If this fails to work FULLY power off phone and power back on. You may need to do a manual scan of networks on your device and pick one of the KNOWN networks below in the country list.

- If still not connecting to a network do ONE more phone reboot and attempt again.

- If you do connect to a network but are failing to get data, dial in your phone dialer #RON# (or try #ROF# FIRST then try #RON#). #RON# will turn intl roaming data on, #ROF# will turn it off. Sometimes cycling will cause a network to work.

- If connected to a network for Voice/SMS but still not getting data, set phone to Airplane mode ; wait till device is actually in airplane mode (15 sec or so); then take device off Airplane mode.

- If failing to get GSM/Voice/SMS services but you have data and phone shows "Emergency Calls Only" but data is working suggestion is to switch phone to 2G and connect to a network where you get data and voice/SMS. Once connected to that network switch phone back to 3G/Auto or LTE (or similar setting) and this may correct the issue. (Your mileage may vary)

- Try to change your APN to fast.t-mobile.com per the following guide, as an alternate you can try a temporary switch to epc.t-mobile.com - more details for APN change further below

- If none of these work, dial TMO Intl support +1-505-998-3793 (from another phone or Skype) and ask for "International Roaming Support" (make sure that is who they connect you to by asking the agent if they can help on a roaming support issue) - have them check your account is properly setup and eligible for International Roaming.

To set the Access Point Name (APN) and turn on data settings, follow these steps:

Note: These settings are automatically set to the correct values with the Carrier Update when a T-Mobile SIM is inserted.
  1. From the main menu, tap Settings
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Check that Cellular Data is turned on.
  4. Tap Cellular Data Network.
    Important: If this setting does not appear on the device, the device is not unlocked. Refer customer to previous carrier.
  5. Enter the following information under the Cellular Data section:
    APN: fast.t-mobile.com
    Username: <Leave Blank>
    Password: <Leave Blank>
  6. Enter the following information under the LTE Setup (Optional) section:
    APN: <Leave Blank>
    Username: <Leave Blank>
    Password: <Leave Blank>
  7. Enter the following information under the MMS section:
    APN: fast.t-mobile.com
    Username: <Leave Blank>
    Password: <Leave Blank>
    MMSC: http://mms.msg.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
    MMS Proxy: <Leave Blank>
    MMS Max Message Size: 1048576
    MMS UA Prof URL: http://www.apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf
  8. Enter the following information under the Personal Hotspot section:
    APN: pcweb.tmobile.com
    Username: <Leave Blank>
    Password: <Leave Blank>
  9. Press the Home button to save the APN and exit to the main screen.
  10. Turn the device off and back on.

Countries with reported working networks supporting data
You can call support # below to ask for other networks. PLEASE share which networks works so we can always keep the Wiki up to date. Leave any comments with performance/quality to the "Problem Carriers section"

NOTE: If you have issues connecting turn off "Enable LTE" or LTE and do 3G/HSPA(4G) only. If you are still having issues to get data but can get voice dial Intl support +1-505-998-3793 (FREE CALL while roaming). If you cannot get any service, use another phone or Skype to dial this number.

Africa
Egypt: Vodafone, Elitsalat, Mobinil
Mauritius: EMTEL
South Africa: MTN, Vodacom, Telkom

Americas
Argentina: Movistar, Claro
Aruba: Digicel (May display as 363 02)
Bahamas: BTC
Barbados: Digicel
Bermuda: Digicel
Brazil: Tim, Vivo
Canada: Bell, Rogers (Some Provinces only), Telus, Freedom Mobile (former WIND), Videotron [HIGH SPEED INCLUDED ON SIMPLE CHOICE NORTH AMERICA]
Cayman Islands: Digicel
Chile: Movistar
Colombia: Telefonica Mobiles Colombia, Movistar
Costa Rica: Movistar, Claro
Dominican Republic: Claro, Orange, Viva
Ecuador: Claro, Movistar
El Salvador: Digicel, Movistar
Guatemala: Movistar
Honduras: Tigo
Jamaica: Digicel, Lime
Mxico: Movistar, Telcel [HIGH SPEED INCLUDED ON SIMPLE CHOICE NORTH AMERICA]
Martinique: Digicel
Nicaragua: Mobinil, Movistar
Panama: Claro, Digicel
Per: Movistar
St Kitts and Nevis: Digicel
St Lucia: Digicel
Sint Maarten (NL): Chippie (UTS)
Saint Martin (FR): Digicel
Turks and Caicos: Digicel
US Virgin Islands: Innovative (counts toward domestic roaming allowance)
Venezuela: Movistar

Asia Pacific
Australia: Telstra, Vodafone AU, OPTUS
Cambodia: CamGSM, Cellcard, Smart
China: China Mobile, China Unicom
Guam: Guam Telecom (Guam is considered outside the U.S. by T-Mobile)
Hong Kong: Smartone, Three
India: Airtel (Most Metro areas/regions), Vodafone
Indonesia (Bali): Indosat, Telkomsel
Japan: DOCOMO, Softbank
Macau: CTM, Three, Smartone
Malaysia: MAXIS
New Zealand: Vodafone, Spark NZ (no 2G), 2Degrees
Pakistan: Pak Telecom Mobile Limited (Ufone), Pakistan Mobile Company Limited (PMCL) (aka Mobilink), Telenor Pakistan, Warid Telecom
Philippines: Globe, SMART
Singapore: Starhub
South Korea: SKT, KT, Olleh
Sri Lanka: Mobitel
Taiwan: Taiwan Mobile
Thailand: AIS, DTAC
Vietnam: Viettel

Europe
Austria: Three, A1, T-Mobile Austria
Belgium: Orange (Mobistar), Proximus
Bulgaria: Telenor BG LTE is primary, saw A1 on 2g and Mtel on LTE very briefly
Czech Republic: Radiomobile/T-Mobile CZ, Vodafone CZ, O2
Denmark: 3 DK, Telenor DK
Faroe Islands: Foroya Tele
Finland: Elisa
France: Bouygues, Free, Orange, SFR
Germany: T-Mobile DE/Telekom.de, EPLUS
Greece: Cosmote
Hungary: T-Mobile
Iceland: Nova (LTE, better in cities), Siminn (3G only, better for rural)
Ireland: Vodafone, Three, Meteor
Italy: TIM, Wind, Vodafone IT
Luxembourg: Tango
Netherlands: KPN, T-Mobile, Vodafone
Norway: Telenor
Poland: T-Mobile
Portugal: MEO, NOS
Romania: Orange, Telekom, Vodafone
Russia: MTS Global
Spain: Movistar, Vodafone ES, Orange
Sweden: 3 SE
Switzerland: Orange, Swisscom
Turkey: Vodafone
UK: EE, Three, Vodafone
Ukraine: KYIVSTAR, MTS

Middle East/Near East
Bahrain: Viva / Batelco
Israel: Partner
Kuwait: Zain
Qatar: Ooredoo
UAE: Etisalat, du

LTE verified carriers:
MUST have a device supporting global LTE bands
- Argentina: Movistar
- Australia: Telstra (requires Band 3 / Band 28 device), OPTUS (5G)
- Bahamas: BTC
- Bahrain: Batelco
- Belgium: Proximus
- Canada: Bell, Rogers, Telus
- Chile: Movistar
- China: China Mobile (TD-LTE in some regions needs appropriate device or in some regions as LTE Band 3), China Unicom
- Colombia: Movistar
- Costa Rica: Movistar
- France: Orange, SFR
- Germany: T-Mobile DE/Telekom.de
- Guatemala: Movistar
- Hong Kong: Smartone
- Ireland: Vodafone
- Italy: TIM
- Japan: Docomo, Softbank
- Luxembourg: Tango
- Malaysia: MAXIS
- Mexico: Movistar
- Netherlands: T-Mobile NL, Vodafone
- Norway: Telenor
- Sinagapore: Starhub
- Sint Maarten (NL): Chippie (UTS)
- Spain: Orange
- Taiwan: Taiwan Mobile
- Thailand: AIS, DTAC
- UAE: du
- UK: EE, Vodafone (see footnote - NOT everywhere)

Problem carriers and LTE support notes
(Do not list carriers where you cannot get basic voice service)
- Argentina: Movistar (reports of poor performance), Claro (seemed much better, but difficult to gain initial connect/registration)
- Bermuda: Reports of getting UMTS (non HSPA 3G) only
- Canada: Wind performance seems better than other Canadian carriers (Your mileage may vary)
- China: China Mobile is 2G only unless you have a device supporting TD-SCDMA (3G) or TD-LTE Band 39/40/41. China Unicom roaming returned in April 2017
- Faroe Islands: Vodafone (Voice/SMS only, NO data service)
- Germany: Vodafone Germany (Voice/SMS only, NO data service in some regions)
- Hong Kong: Smartone, had to switch to 2G get access to network THEN switched phone back to 3G/Automatic if had problems getting access to network. Three: Reports of no longer working and only Smartone working
- Mauritius: Reports of issues connecting to Emtel sometimes - YMMV
- New Zealand: 2Degrees (limited coverage w/ reports of not working at all)
- Singapore: M1, SMS MAY require manually entering M1's SMSC +6596845999 if SMS doesn't work
- South Korea: SKT may require LTE to be disabled or conneciton may not be authenticated. Olleh/KT require multiple attempts to connect to network.
- UK: EE LTE roaming returned 1/21/17 - Reports of Vodafone LTE roaming in select parts of the UK only (not happening everywhere seems to be coverage challenged areas of EE only)
- Vietnam: Viettel
Print Wikipost

T Mobile Global data coverage

Old Dec 21, 14, 12:07 pm
  #721  
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
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Originally Posted by nas6034
When you say "data disabled" do you mean you turned on "airplane mode"(which turns off cell phone signals) and then turned on wifi and connected to a wifi network and made a call?
When we landed at MLE, I got a text message from T-Mobile warning me I was not in a Simple Choice country, and that extra charges could apply. I was aware of that already, turned off "Cellular Data," and turned on "Airplane Mode." I accessed the wifi of the resort where we were staying. The phone rep spent a fair amount of time researching it herself, said she'd been unaware, and suggested avoiding such charges by making phone calls through Skype instead of T-Mobile.

I'm still confused about it.
Fredd is offline  
Old Dec 21, 14, 12:27 pm
  #722  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Originally Posted by nas6034
When you say "data disabled" do you mean you turned on "airplane mode"(which turns off cell phone signals) and then turned on wifi and connected to a wifi network and made a call?
Initially I thought that the calls Fredd made must have gone out over the local cellular network - T-Mobile's website confirms the $5.99/minute rate - but now I'm not too sure. Fredd, can you check your previous bills to see if the call Type was listed as (R) (W)? As I looked at my bill for my most recent trip abroad (September/October 2014), I saw the following for some of the WiFi calls placed:

1. Incoming to Taiwan (Wi-Fi Call) (R) (W)
2. Taiwan (Wi-Fi Call) to GRAND RPDS, MI (R) (W)
3. Guam (Wi-Fi Call) to LOS GATOS, CA (R) (W)
4. Hong Kong (Wi-Fi Call) to GRAND RPDS, MI (R) (W)

Type: (R) Roaming (W) Wi-Fi Call

Contrast this to the days before the Simple Choice changes where these calls would just code as (U), HotSpot Call. The change from (U) to (W) happened on my March 2014 bill. However, on a trip abroad in February 2014, the two WiFi calls that I placed only showed (W), not (W) (R). Likewise, in June I only saw (W).

I think the problem came in when T-Mobile introduced the new bill format in July 2014. I can't confirm this is when WiFi calls abroad started showing as roaming as I didn't leave the US between June and September.

This is certainly a departure of the advertised WiFi calling feature, which implies you'll never be charged additional fees for placing stateside calls (or any calls included with your plan) via WiFi. Even before the days of Simple Choice I used WiFi calling and texting successfully all over the place (and in some remote locations where the roaming rates would have been astronomically expensive) and was never charged as long as the call went out over WiFi.

Finally, texts made via WiFi don't seem to be billed as roaming.
Majuki is offline  
Old Dec 21, 14, 12:32 pm
  #723  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Originally Posted by Fredd
When we landed at MLE, I got a text message from T-Mobile warning me I was not in a Simple Choice country, and that extra charges could apply. I was aware of that already, turned off "Cellular Data," and turned on "Airplane Mode." I accessed the wifi of the resort where we were staying. The phone rep spent a fair amount of time researching it herself, said she'd been unaware, and suggested avoiding such charges by making phone calls through Skype instead of T-Mobile.

I'm still confused about it.
I'm now fairly certain there is an error with T-Mobile's billing of WiFi calls made overseas and that you in fact did made these calls using WiFi calling. Can you check to see the call Type for the calls to Canada made in the Maldives? Were they Type (W) (R)? If that is the case, there is a billing issue that I want to bring to the attention of TmoNews.
Majuki is offline  
Old Dec 21, 14, 12:40 pm
  #724  
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
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Originally Posted by Majuki
I'm now fairly certain there is an error with T-Mobile's billing of WiFi calls made overseas and that you in fact did made these calls using WiFi calling. Can you check to see the call Type for the calls to Canada made in the Maldives? Were they Type (W) (R)? If that is the case, there is a billing issue that I want to bring to the attention of TmoNews.
Majuki, I have checked now and they're definitely listed as follows:

Maldives (Wi-Fi Call) to VICTORIA, BC (R) (W) 32 (Min) $191.68

It was a surprise to me on other wifi calls in places such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia to find out I'm paying 20 cents a minute to T-Mobile. If that's the case, I suppose it's logical that they charge me the high rate for such countries as The Maldives.

I would have thought that making a wifi call with T-Mobile would be just the same as calling domestically, i.e. free but I suppose that's my own ignorance. But if I'm still paying 20 cents a minute, what's the advantage of calling using wifi as opposed to the foreign cell towers?

Originally Posted by Majuki
Finally, texts made via WiFi don't seem to be billed as roaming.
While in the Maldives I was also billed 50 cents each for a total of five texts marked "Roaming - Text" that I sent to Sri Lanka, Canada, and the U.S.

Last edited by Fredd; Dec 21, 14 at 1:00 pm Reason: clarity - one more question
Fredd is offline  
Old Dec 21, 14, 1:19 pm
  #725  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Originally Posted by Fredd
Majuki, I have checked now and they're definitely listed as follows:

Maldives (Wi-Fi Call) to VICTORIA, BC (R) (W) 32 (Min) $191.68

It was a surprise to me on other wifi calls in places such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia to find out I'm paying 20 cents a minute to T-Mobile. If that's the case, I suppose it's logical that they charge me the high rate for such countries as The Maldives.

I would have thought that making a wifi call with T-Mobile would be just the same as calling domestically, i.e. free but I suppose that's my own ignorance. But if I'm still paying 20 cents a minute, what's the advantage of calling using wifi as opposed to the foreign cell towers?

While in the Maldives I was also billed 50 cents each for a total of five texts marked "Roaming - Text" that I sent to Sri Lanka, Canada, and the U.S.
Were the calls placed in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia to the USA or to Canada as well?

With the current roaming rates, it's the same 20/minute if you're calling from a Simple Choice country to a non-US number included in Simple Choice - eg) Hong Kong to Taiwan - so it makes no difference if you use the cellular network or WiFi. In this scenario, it's better to place the call over the more reliable cellular network than WiFi if you're going to be charged the same price. However, if you're calling Hong Kong to the USA, then it makes more sense to use WiFi since there is no charge over WiFi vs. 20/minute when using a mobile network in Hong Kong.

You weren't ignorant. Making a WiFi call with T-Mobile should be no different than calling domestically if you're calling a stateside number (or an international number if you have an international calling plan). Historically, this has 100% been the case. The change seems to have happened in July when T-Mobile changed its bill format. Whether or not this was an intentional change is unknown.
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Old Dec 21, 14, 1:27 pm
  #726  
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So you don't need a special router for Wifi calling, as long as you have a compatible phone and OS, it will just work?

I have weak T-Mobile signal at home.
wco81 is offline  
Old Dec 21, 14, 1:39 pm
  #727  
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
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Originally Posted by Majuki
Were the calls placed in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia to the USA or to Canada as well?
They were all placed to Canada. I reviewed the four bills I've received since acquiring an iPhone 6 Plus and as it happens I haven't yet made a WiFi call to the U.S.

With the current roaming rates, it's the same 20/minute if you're calling from a Simple Choice country to a non-US number included in Simple Choice - eg) Hong Kong to Taiwan - so it makes no difference if you use the cellular network or WiFi. In this scenario, it's better to place the call over the more reliable cellular network than WiFi if you're going to be charged the same price. However, if you're calling Hong Kong to the USA, then it makes more sense to use WiFi since there is no charge over WiFi vs. 20/minute when using a mobile network in Hong Kong.
It seems sensible for me to use Skype then if possible, as even the bargain rate 20 cents per minute starts to add up if "chatting" for 20-30 minutes.

You weren't ignorant.
Thanks. I've just quoted you as an expert witness to Mrs. Fredd.

Making a WiFi call with T-Mobile should be no different than calling domestically if you're calling a stateside number (or an international number if you have an international calling plan). Historically, this has 100% been the case. The change seems to have happened in July when T-Mobile changed its bill format. Whether or not this was an intentional change is unknown.
That would have been my impression. I'm still a very happy and satisfied T-Mobile customer but it's good to realize that T-Mobile WiFi calls don't necessarily translate into free calls.

I appreciate the information you've provided. ^

An afterthought: My impression after talking to the rep was that it was T-Mobile charging me the $5.99 per minute for my calls in the Maldives. If they had been billed by a Maldivian phone company I doubt they would have volunteered to reverse the charges.
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Old Dec 21, 14, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Fredd
Thanks. I've just quoted you as an expert witness to Mrs. Fredd.
I'll relay that to Mrs. Majuki.

Originally Posted by Fredd
My impression after talking to the rep was that it was T-Mobile charging me the $5.99 per minute for my calls in the Maldives. If they had been billed by a Maldivian phone company I doubt they would have volunteered to reverse the charges.
This is correct. T-Mobile was the one to terminate the WiFi call in the US from Canada. The local mobile network in the Maldives took no part in the transaction. I still think this is a billing issue with T-Mobile, but there haven't been very many test cases.

Originally Posted by Fredd
That would have been my impression. I'm still a very happy and satisfied T-Mobile customer but it's good to realize that T-Mobile WiFi calls don't necessarily translate into free calls.
Here's the deal though. WiFi calls should be the same cost as calling using a T-Mobile USA tower. So, in your case, assuming you don't have an international calling plan, calls to Canada from the US are normally $0.49/minute. My theory is that they implemented the billing this way to avoid discrepancies that would otherwise exist while roaming in a Simple Choice country.

Consider the following example that assumes you're a Simple Choice customer without an international calling plan:

If you were in Australia, a Simple Choice country, and decided to call Canada over the mobile network the price is 20/minute. If you decide to call Australia over the mobile network the price is 20/minute. If you decide to call the USA over the mobile network the price is 20/minute.

However, if T-Mobile were to treat WiFi calls as calls originating from the US, which they technically are, then the calls placed over WiFi in Australia to Canada, Australia, and the US would be 49/minute, $1.99/minute, and 0/minute, respectively.

I don't know how the billing is setup technically. My suspicion is that they're going off of the last point of contact that they had from when your phone was connected to the local cellular network. For instance, if you last connected to a mobile network in the Maldives, they would assume you're in the Maldives. The only other way is to do a lookup of the lessee of the IP address, but if I had to guess they're determining the governing rate for WiFi calls via the first way. If this is the case, this could conceivably lead to the scenario where you flip your phone into airplane mode/WiFi calling mode, make a call home, depart from Male, arrive home in Seattle, turn your phone back on at home, have the phone start making WiFi calls from your home network, and get charged outrageous roaming rates even though you're in the US!

Now, I haven't tested out all of these scenarios, and I've only called stateside numbers via WiFi while abroad. I have called international numbers but only over the mobile network. I will be going to Hong Kong in January and will be able to test to see if I get charged placing a call over the WiFi network to a number in Hong Kong. I subscribe to an international calling plan, so I shouldn't be charged.

I think T-Mobile is simply using the billing rate for the location from which they think you're placing the call. Perhaps WiFi calls from the Maldives back to the US wouldn't be charged the roaming. For instance, if it looks to see if there's a roaming/LD charge associated with the WiFi call only then will it look up and bill you the roaming rate. If it's setup this way, then T-Mobile subscribers using WiFi calling in the Maldives would not see roaming charges if calling to the US, but you would have because you called Canada. The billing system used the Maldives roaming rate to charge the call when you should have been charged $0.49/minute.

I'm going to bring this to the attention of TmoNews. I think the reason why we haven't seen any reports of this so far is that the vast majority of T-Mobile subscribers are calling US numbers via WiFi while abroad.

This is an interesting case for sure...
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Old Dec 21, 14, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Majuki
I'm going to bring this to the attention of TmoNews. I think the reason why we haven't seen any reports of this so far is that the vast majority of T-Mobile subscribers are calling US numbers via WiFi while abroad.

This is an interesting case for sure...
Thanks for a very plausible explanation. ^ If you find out anything more about this issue, I for one would be very interested in an update.
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Old Dec 21, 14, 7:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Fredd
Thanks for a very plausible explanation. ^ If you find out anything more about this issue, I for one would be very interested in an update.
I'll keep the thread updated. I've sent an e-mail to the editor of TmoNews. We'll see what comes of it. ^
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Old Dec 21, 14, 9:25 pm
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And I'm curious to see now how it would work over wifi in a foreign country if you have the new international calling plan.

I also wonder if the billing system is wonky maybe you can connect your phone to a stateside Vpn so the Tmo server would think you're in the us.
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Old Dec 22, 14, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by nas6034
And I'm curious to see now how it would work over wifi in a foreign country if you have the new international calling plan.

I also wonder if the billing system is wonky maybe you can connect your phone to a stateside Vpn so the Tmo server would think you're in the us.
I'm also curious about these scenarios. I think, however, that the billing doesn't depend on how the IP address, so a VPN wouldn't work. This goes back to my earlier comment that it is conceivable that such a scenario where you're charged a $5.99/minute roaming rate could occur if you had the phone in airplane mode from MLE and ended up back stateside and started making calls over WiFi. I have further evidence that might support this:

When I was in Guam in September I had the following calls:

1. 9/25 to GRAND RPDS/MI (W)
2. 9/25 to Guam (Wi-Fi Call) to GRAND RPDS/MI (W) (R)
3. 9/25 to Guam (Wi-Fi Call) to GRAND RPDS/MI (W) (R)
4. 9/25 to GRAND RPDS/MI (W)
5. 9/28 to TAIWAN (J)
6. 9/28 to GRAND RPDS/MI (W) (R)

J is the international discounted calling for which I was charged $0.18/minute. I suspect this call was made over WiFi - but I don't remember - since if it had gone out over the cellular network it would have been $0.20/minute. However, it doesn't explain why for some WiFi calls T-Mobile thought I was "roaming" but not for others.
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Old Dec 22, 14, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by nas6034
And I'm curious to see now how it would work over wifi in a foreign country if you have the new international calling plan.
I think you're mixing apples and oranges.

The 'new' international calling plan applies for calls originating stateside to ~30/70 countries [mobile/landlines]. The earlier international program was all calls originating overseas to ~120+ countries -- charged at $0.20/minute.

Wifi calling is free only to calls to a USA number, regardless of call origin. This is great when overseas and calling stateside on wifi. Canada doesn't count as USA for wifi calling. Wifi calling to any non USA number is charged based on call origin: if from overseas, $0.20/minute, if from USA and you sign up for new international calling plan, free to the qualifying ~120+ countries. And you don't sign up for new plan, then at the much higher international roaming rates.

Last edited by dtsm; Dec 22, 14 at 2:00 pm
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Old Dec 22, 14, 3:40 pm
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Is the audio quality of Wifi calls better, regardless of what kind of signal you can get?

I'm thinking of switching from AT&T to T-Mobile. I get bad reception at home for both, though they're about the same in most of the places I frequent.

I guess if I traveled more in the US, especially outside of major metro areas, I could regret switching.
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Old Dec 22, 14, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by dtsm
I think you're mixing apples and oranges.

The 'new' international calling plan applies for calls originating stateside to ~30/70 countries [mobile/landlines]. The earlier international program was all calls originating overseas to ~120+ countries -- charged at $0.20/minute.

Wifi calling is free only to calls to a USA number, regardless of call origin. This is great when overseas and calling stateside on wifi. Canada doesn't count as USA for wifi calling. Wifi calling to any non USA number is charged based on call origin: if from overseas, $0.20/minute, if from USA and you sign up for new international calling plan, free to the qualifying ~120+ countries. And you don't sign up for new plan, then at the much higher international roaming rates.
My post above cites a counterexample. I was in Guam and when my wife called Taiwan via WiFi we were billed at $0.18/minute. (We have the international calling plan.) While Guam is the US and part of the NANP, it's outside of T-Mobile USA's service area. When placing and taking calls over the cellular network we were billed $0.20/minute.

What we're saying is that billing someone $5.99/minute for calling Canada from the Maldives via WiFi (when the call is terminated by T-Mobile in the US) is ridiculous. A VoIP call presents the same to T-Mobile regardless of where the call originates; it's simply data. For these purposes a WiFi call should be billed as if the call originated over T-Mobile USA's own network.

Now, the reason why it is no longer billed this way - it certainly used to be - is unclear. I speculated above that the reason was to harmonize the costs associated with calling abroad while in a $0.20/minute location. You wouldn't want WiFi calls to be costing more than calls going out over the cellular network, so I am guessing T-Mobile tried to simplify billing by tying the per minute rate to the cellular rates for the origin country. In doing so they created this corner case that Fredd hit upon.

For example, had Fredd placed a call to Canada from the US over T-Mobile USA's cellular network, the per minute rate would be $0.49. Had he placed a call in the US over WiFi to Canada the per minute rate would be $0.49. Had he placed a call over Bell's network in Canada to a Canadian number, the cost would be $0.20/minute.

However, the discrepancy comes in where you go to place a WiFi call in Canada to Canada. We already know that if it goes out over the cellular network it would be $0.20/minute. However, if we were to continue to treat all WiFi/UMA calls as originating in the US, then the cost would be $0.49/minute, the same as if you were calling from the US to Canada. To avoid this discrepancy and harmonize the rate, I am guessing T-Mobile is simply using the current country as the billed rate, which resulted in the $5.99/minute charge in the Maldives.

The problem here is that while I don't doubt T-Mobile incurs extra costs when one of its subscribers uses a mobile network in the Maldives, when it receives a WiFi/UMA call, it doesn't matter where the call originates. It's just data routed over the Internet and the cost to receive the data is the same, regardless of whether the call originated in Male, Las Vegas, Calgary, or McMurdo Station.

This is a legitimate billing concern, and I don't think it was T-Mobile's intention to implement things this way. You can infer this from the CSR's confusion plus this would be a typical underhanded mobile carrier move, an image that T-Mobile is trying to shed.
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