A Look Back at Three Months of T-Mobile International Usage

photo1i’ve had my T-Mobile SIM for almost four months now, paying $20 a month for basically unlimited international roaming (albeit at slow data rates). i’m trying to be a good customer and stay within the fine print terms which, in a nutshell, say:

Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our U.S. network. … As long as the majority of your usage is on T-Mobile’s U.S. network, you will experience unlimited data and text.

there is no clear-cut definition (publicized, at least) of “primary usage” that i can find. an AP article that i linked to in my first post on this subject says “customers need to spend at least half their time in the U.S. in any three-month period.” a T-Mobile rep said it’s meant for people who “use the domestic network and take occasional trips abroad.”

technically i fall into these categories? i’ve only roamed internationally for about three and a half weeks since i got the SIM card, and when i’m not traveling, it does sit in a phone that uses up data by doing app and system updates…

but i charted my usage out thanks to their detailed online statements; the bottom unlabeled bars are the total.

imagewhile i technically meet the time requirement and i fail at the “majority of usage” requirement. i guess i’m just waiting until they call me out and cancel my plan? though they also do say they will give you a warning so you can change your usage habits beforehand.

i have an international trip coming up next week, the last week of this billing cycle, and i have about 79 MB of international usage and 126 MB of domestic usage so far, which just about evens up the total tally. i already didn’t use the SIM card a couple weeks ago when i was in Lithuania, or else i think the numbers would be a lot worse. i’d love to get a SIM card when i land in Chile but as far as i can tell, there are no good data plans for prepaid SIMs? i guess i’ll have to chance it next week on the T-Mo SIM and then lay low for a while after.

luckily, i just lowered my plan to $10 a month from $20 a month! i discovered a “Change Plan” button on my Plan page of the My T-Mobile website, and they’re having a 2014 promo! so, if worse comes to worst and i can’t use the SIM abroad for a while, i’m only going to be paying 50%.




8 Comments on "A Look Back at Three Months of T-Mobile International Usage"

  1. Thanks for posting your updates with this. Could you clarify one thing better, how is your plan only $20 per month and includes international roaming?
    I thought a person had to be on the $50 per month, non-prepaid, plan to qualify for international roaming.

    • hi adam! the $20 plan is data-only, no voice minutes included (or possible, even, it’s just data meant for tablets, but it works in my [unlocked] Verizon iPhone 5s, again, for data only). i think any postpaid (i.e., you get a bill) plan that has “Simple Choice” in its name — that has a credit check associated — qualifies for the unlimited international roaming.

      Qualifying Simple Choice customers (new and existing with approved credit) – excluding pay-in-advance and Simple Choice no credit – are eligible.
      Also includes DHI, Mobile Internet, Classic and Value plans that launched since March 2013
      All Simple Choice plans for business are also included

      (this is a Simple Choice Mobile Internet plan)

      • Excellent! Thanks for this information. Everyone seems to be talking about the ability to globally roam with TMobile but you’re the first I read that brought to light it can be done for this cheap tacked onto an existing plan!

  2. Thanks for the Promo plan tip! $10 for 1 GB domestic mobile data makes it pretty cheap, never mind the roaming.

    You could always stream a few videos or something to eat some data. I have also used it to tether for work stuff. Maybe load it in at the domestic airports to get some extra bandwidth? Though I’ve heard tmo reception at SFO is not very good.

  3. Hi,
    I just got T-Mobile and live in Mexico half of the time, I was wondering if anything done over Wi-Fi (texting, voice calling and internet) while in Mexico is “logged” as being outside of the U.S.A.? ( we have wi-fi at our vacation home that we use.)
    We just got our phones yesterday, so I don’t have one of those pretty charts that you showed to check anything.
    Thanks if you can answer this!

    • Hi Diana! That’s a good question. I would imagine if you don’t use actual cell minutes or cell data, they don’t care, but that’s just speculation. The safest option would be to put your phone in airplane mode and just enable wifi, although I don’t know how reasonable that would be.

      But yeah, I really don’t know how they measure usage, but if you are truly wifi only and not connected to the cell network, they wouldn’t know, right? 😀

      I hope t-mo is a solution that works for you though! The price is definitely right!

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