Roaming isn't something that those of us who live in more populated areas encounter often, but it can be a common occurrence for people in more rural or less-developed places (or Europe, as many of you have pointed out). Android has always been pretty terrible at showing what kind of data connection you're roaming on in the status bar; thankfully, the latest 7.1.2 Nougat beta has brought this much-needed, yet simple update to this indicator.
T-Mobile announced some significant changes to its ONE plan recently to counter Verizon's new unlimited offer. That new plan is live today, and there are a few other small changes worth knowing about. T-Mobile's international roaming will be faster and the Plus upgrade is cheaper.
Google announced today on the official Android blog that Project Fi's international data roaming speeds will be up to 10-20x faster than before. "Before" was previously advertised as around 256kbps, so this brings speeds up to or around 2560-5120kbps (2.5-5Mbps, basically), which is pretty much in line with what you can expect on 3G in most countries. This should take Fi's international data from "usable in a pinch" to "usable."
The same pricing applies as always: you pay for the data you use abroad at the same rate you'd pay for that data in the US. The new data speeds come courtesy of the addition of Three to the Fi network.
With the endeasing of the Cuban embargo, T-Mobile is looking to expand its services to the island. As the company points out, it has many customers of Cuban descent, and they'll soon have more options when calling or visiting the country. This is thanks to a new deal with Cuban carrier Empresa De Telecomunicaciones De Cuba, S.A. (ETECSA).
John Legere, the mobile CEO who can't get Deutsche Telekom to love T-Mobile no matter how many new customers they sign up, is back with another jab at his competitors. T-Mobile already features some pretty extraordinary free international roaming extras, but now it's going whole hog on the two countries that Americans visit the most: Canada and Mexico. Starting next week if you cross the border to the north or south, your T-Mobile phone will work the same as it does in the States. Take it away, John:
Sprint is so good, you can take it with you when you leave the country. Okay, maybe its service isn't the best. Whatever. It's cheap. That's why you signed up, right?
Now when you travel to Colombia, Denmark, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Paraguay, or Sweden with an International Value Roaming plan, you can roam data for free. You're limited to 2G speeds and might not always be able to find a connection, but again, it's free. If you do need faster connectivity, you can get 3G for the not-at-all-tempting prices of $15-$50 for 100-500MB of data that last up to fourteen days.
These additions join the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Russia, South Korea, Spain, and the UK.
Sprint wants your business. Obviously. It's a carrier. So today it has announced a plan meant to appeal to those of you who travel. The package includes free international roaming, unlimited texting, and calls that cost 20 cents per minute when you travel to countries in Europe or Latin America, as well as Japan and South Korea. Think of it as International Value Roaming.
With this plan, Sprint limits international roaming to 2G speeds. If you want something faster, you need to cough up quite a bit of money for a day pass. We're talking $15 for 100MB in a single day.
Free international roaming is one of the many nice perks T-Mobile offers to entice customers. When the Uncarrier launched the feature over a year ago, it supported over 100 countries. That list has now grown to over 120. The latest addition includes Paraguay, in South America, and Croatia, in Europe.
Today AT&T announced an agreement with Canadian wireless carrier Rogers that will enable its customers to have access to 4G LTE data speeds even when on the northern side of the border. This arrangement makes AT&T the first American carrier to offer international LTE roaming, but before some of you get too excited, know that this luxury still doesn't come cheaply.
AT&T customers can roam internationally by selecting a Data Global Add-On package, the same ones needed to access 3G. These offer 120MB of data for $30 a month, 300MB for $60 a month, or 800MB for $120 a month. Without a package, you're looking at paying $15.36 per megabyte.
If you're traveling between countries in the European Union, there's good news for your wallet: it won't be quite so thoroughly mugged by international roaming charges starting today. After a vote by the European Commission last month, wireless roaming charges for text, data, and voice usage are being forcibly reduced across its 28 member states. Today's policy change will lower maximum roaming charges to 45 European cents per megabyte, 24 cents per outgoing call minute, 7 cents per received call minute, and 8 cents for a text message, plus value-added tax in all cases. Data gets the most dramatic reduction, with an average savings of 36% over last year.