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Retiring and Travelling - Telecommunications Strategy

Retiring and Travelling - Telecommunications Strategy

Old Sep 11, 2023, 11:46 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Originally Posted by Buster
I also have a Google Voice number. I've got a trip to S. Africa coming up, so I've purchased a Flexiroam esim. Haven't used this combo before, but am interested to see how it works out.
In the Google Voice app go to settings, make and receive calls, Prefer WiFi and Data (checked). I have made and received GV calls with no issues when using an international sim when traveling in Europe and Asia. The default is often set to Use Carrier which does not work when using a non US sim.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 7:15 am
  #32  
 
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If you are going to travel internationally a significant amount, my recommendation is to get the Tmobile plan which gives you free text and 3G data. The plans are more expensive on a per month basis - I pay $60/month - but you have zero ($0) cost to automatically get the above when traveling everywhere that I have been: Europe, Asia, Central and South America, Japan, Russia. Canada and Mexico both work fine too.
There is a $0.20/min fee for receiving or initiating voice phone calls. This is fine since you have full control over either plus can avoid if you WiFi call (see below).
I've been a Tmobile customer ever since they merged with Sprint, but I think the modern version of the plan is called Magenta. It also includes a Netflix basic subscription, WiFi calling, free in flight internet/texting on a number of airlines including United.
Tmobile also allows iPhones at least to be used as hotspots for laptop based email.
I see there are 55+ versions of Magenta, so may be even cheaper than what I am paying now although my actual plan is a legacy one equivalent to Magenta+.
If you want/need greater bandwidth than 3G, you can either get the higher bandwidth options (4G, 5G) permanently or pay for passes to temporarily increase bandwidth. A 10 day pass is $35.
With this plan, there is no need for juggling phone numbers for people to contact you, or to recharge a sim, or to get a sim (which is increasingly more difficult in the West).
And finally: you don't have to worry about Google spying on you, either. I will never use a Google service: basic Android, gmail, Chrome, or even search if I can help it.
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Old Sep 13, 2023, 7:51 am
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by AsiaTraveler
The Google Fi flexible plan might be a good fit for your needs. $20/month gets you phone/text, and then data is $10/GB in 200 or so countries. If you anticipate a month of heavy data usage, you can upgrade to their unlimited data plan for a month and then downgrade again.
I've used Google Fi for years internationally without a problem. I also use Whatsapp on wifi to talk to friends and family. It's free and the sound quality is excellent.
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Old Sep 21, 2023, 9:27 am
  #34  
 
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US Mobile released some updates to their plans yesterday - including updating their "Unlimited Premium" plan to include 10GB of international roaming data in 100 countries (plus 500 minutes/1000 text), per billing cycle. That's in addition to the 100GB of high-speed data (50GB hotspot) that plan offers domestically. This is only on their "GSM 5G" plan, which is T-Mobile based and costs $50/month (their equivalent "Warp 5G" plan which is Verizon includes international data, but it's done using eSIMs that you need to obtain before use so it's as clean).

Likely not the cheapest option, but a fair compromise for unlimited data in the US, and a reasonable amount outside, without having to use eSIMs.

I've been using US Mobile for about 4 months so far, and haven't had any problems with them. Their website/app are good, and service seems fine (although I'm on their Warp/Verizon plan not the T-Mobile one at this stage). They do have a referral program, but as the person being referred doesn't get anything out of it I won't post it here. DM me if you want a link...
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Old Sep 21, 2023, 9:50 am
  #35  
 
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Another long time T-Mobile user. Travel extensively. Switched from ATT more than decade ago!
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Old Sep 22, 2023, 7:30 am
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Originally Posted by docbert
US Mobile released some updates to their plans yesterday - including updating their "Unlimited Premium" plan to include 10GB of international roaming data in 100 countries (plus 500 minutes/1000 text), per billing cycle. That's in addition to the 100GB of high-speed data (50GB hotspot) that plan offers domestically. This is only on their "GSM 5G" plan, which is T-Mobile based and costs $50/month (their equivalent "Warp 5G" plan which is Verizon includes international data, but it's done using eSIMs that you need to obtain before use so it's as clean).

Likely not the cheapest option, but a fair compromise for unlimited data in the US, and a reasonable amount outside, without having to use eSIMs.

I've been using US Mobile for about 4 months so far, and haven't had any problems with them. Their website/app are good, and service seems fine (although I'm on their Warp/Verizon plan not the T-Mobile one at this stage). They do have a referral program, but as the person being referred doesn't get anything out of it I won't post it here. DM me if you want a link...
I signed up yesterday for their WARP 5G $10, 2Gb Unlimited Talk & Text plan. It includes all fees & taxes and was a pretty easy process. It is a sharing plan and you can add additional lines for $8 each. I chose this mostly for having the option to switch to Verizon in the rare instance when my T-Mobile service becomes spotty. I used to have the Xfinity cellular for two lines at about $19 a month, but only 1Gb of data on our two main lines. It was also Verizon service. I am impressed so far with the US Mobile organization, and their setup. There is no commitment and as for the $10 a month, I spill more than that, LOL. They have a pretty decent app, with a good layout that is easy to use and understand. Seems like a pretty squared away organization.

I wanted to have this in place for my iPhone 15 Pro Max as an esim to transfer today when I do the setup from my current 14PM to the new phone.
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Old Sep 22, 2023, 3:56 pm
  #37  
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My US T-Mobile plan gives me data and voice in over 200 countries. The speed is generally fine, but I also usually download offline Google Maps data fr wherever I go. There have been very few places where I didn't have service and I purchased a local SIM card, but those were not places most people would travel to. I've got an older plan where I pay $17/line/month + taxes.
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Old Sep 26, 2023, 9:29 am
  #38  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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I've been exploring the US Mobile plans since enrolling in the "Warp 5G" service a few days ago.

They have a nearly perfect travel plan based on T-Mobile domestic service for $50 a month (Plan is GSM 5G, Single Line=$50, 2=$90, 3=$120) inc. taxes & fees. It includes 100Gb of 5G high speed data & 50Gb of hot spot in the US. The place it really shines is in the included international features. You get 10Gb of high speed data, 1000 texts, and 500 minutes of calls in 102 countries around the world per billing period. Oddly, the 500 minutes of calling does not include calls to the US, but I think WiFi and IMS functions are easy and practical for those calls.

They have sim cards and esims, and a decent phone app. The web site is easy to navigate and use for info and account details. I must say, if I didn't already have T-Mobile with grandfathered roaming service, this would be a serious contender for domestic and travel cell service. I have only contacted customer service once, but comments are generally quite favorable on Reddit from current users.

These features were introduced around 9-20-23, so take a look if you haven't been there lately.
https://www.usmobile.com/

Edited to add: In backtracking this thread I discovered I had duplicated docbert advice with my posting about the recent version of US Mobile's plan for travel. I apologize to the community and especially docbert for this faux pas on my part. They say never ruin an apology with an explanation, so I'm sorry for this apparent plagiarism.

Last edited by draver; Sep 27, 2023 at 7:04 am
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 5:09 am
  #39  
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Just want to report back so far on my poor man's solution: iPhone 11 + Tello voice/text only + various eSIMs (Eskimo, 3 HK and ChungHwa Telecom in Taiwan).

It seems the 3HK eSIM is kind of slow but it works - can't beat the price 1 year 30 GB + 5 GB for social media for about US$35 (US, Canada, NZ, AU, UK and HK). The Eskimo one seems faster even though it is farther (in Singapore) relative to North America. Yes, I get a HK IP.

Tello has worked well for me. I just use the $7/month 500 minute plan with no data. When I am outside the US, with Wifi Calling enabled, it says Tello over Cellular Data (or Wifi if I have Wifi). The good thing is they don't have roaming so I don't have to worry about accidentally racking up roaming charges.

The big thing with Tello and I guess with any carrier is that iPhone Visual Voice Mail requires a data connection. So, it is back to voicemail the old fashion way.

By the way, I still have the legacy T-Mobile PAYGO. I was able to add $1 and extend the validity by 1 year!

Last edited by username; Oct 2, 2023 at 5:17 am
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