A few weeks ago, I wrote that Sprint Introduced Free International Data Roaming and Texting. Last weekend when I was in Brazil and Chile during My South American Mileage Run Vacation to Foz do Iguacu, I decided to put it to the test and write about My Experience with Sprint’s Free International Value Roaming Plan.
When I landed at Foz do Iguazu International Airport (IGU) in Brazil, I was able to connect to the Vivo mobile network which was the preferred carrier that Sprint chose to automatically roam on. Brazil has four wireless mobile carriers such as Claro, Oi, TIM, and vivo. Even though the network displayed VIVO 3G on my iPhone 6 screen, I was getting nowhere close to 3G speeds at all. Of course, Sprint only advertised 2G speeds which is what I received from roaming on the Vivo network.
I was able to pull up Google Maps and look for directions, but it took longer than normal on the slow 2G network. I felt like as if I was back in the 90’s with 56k dial up modem speeds because it felt like forever to bring up search results. It was draining my battery at the same time waiting for the search results to load. I’m so used to my 4G LTE back in Los Angeles with instantaneous blazing fast speeds.
While using Instagram, it took me about 3 or 4 tries to upload a picture because it kept failing to ‘upload’ because of the slow 2G speeds. Forget about using Snapchat because you’ll never be able to upload a video on Sprint’s free international data roaming plan.
The International Roaming Value Plan was great for checking into Swarm (formerly Foursquare) and WhatsApp worked flawlessly on the 2G network. I was able to send and receive iMessages with no problems as well. It doesn’t take much data to send a few kilobytes worth of text!
In Brazil, I was able to send free international text messages and it didn’t cost me a dime when I checked my detailed usage on sprint.com.
When I landed in Chile, the carrier of choice was Claro CL (Claro Chile) but the internet did not work at all. It would bring up a blank page saying there was no internet connection. I tried everything and came up empty handed. I was pretty disappointed because Sprint promised free internet in Chile as one of the 15 eligible countries under the International Value Roaming Plan.
However, I was able to receive calls while internationally roaming on Claro even though the internet was not working. I was also able to send and receive text messages internationally for free.
Basically, I was hugely disappointed with Sprint’s International Value Roaming Plan since the speeds are unsatisfactory for a high data usage guy like myself. After all, I do use at least 25GB worth of data per month on my iPhone 6 and I am pretty much attached to my device 24/7. I couldn’t deal with the 2G speeds in Brazil and was appalled that the internet service didn’t even work in Chile.
On the positive side, it’s a free service from Sprint and it’s better than no internet. You can use Whatsapp, Swarm for check-ins, and iMessages. If you don’t mind waiting an eternity, other apps will still work but it will be a battery drain since the 2G data is very, very slow. Another positive note is that you can receive and send calls, text messages, and voice mails from your same Sprint phone number in the United States.
I’m heading back to Chile in a few weeks and I’ll report back to see if the internet is working properly.
Have you had any positive or negative experiences with Sprint’s New International Value Roaming Plan?