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Being a mobile worker and relying on your cellular provider as a WiFi backup is great…if you are in one region or country. Bouncing all over the world means you’re paying through the nose unless you’ve got an unlocked device and swap out SIM cards. Even with that solution, you’ve then got a slew of different numbers impacting messaging and settings. It took me a while (and longer than it should have) but I finally found a solution that works for me. Now, mind you…it’s not normal to travel overseas at least once a month. But if you are like me and you’re tired of paying excessive bills or dealing with juggling multiple SIM cards, switching to T-Mobile might be right for you.

In The Beginning

For 10 years I was an AT&T customer, signing up when they were the carrier launch partner for the very first iPhone. While their service wasn’t always the best, the fact that I’d been able to score a first generation iPhone was all that mattered. As the mobile industry changed year after year, I was always an early adopter that was willing to sign up for their new plan just so I could get my hands on the newest iPhone.

Of course as soon as one carrier came out with a better package, the others would copy. Once the US government allowed consumers to port their numbers, there was no loyalty as people jumped ship every time there was a new device hitting the market. Well, the carriers got smart a few years ago and started offering the option of financing the devices (as they got more and more expensive).

I’d felt trapped since I had fallen into the typical 12-18 month upgrade cycle. But more so, I felt really held hostage from AT&T’s lackluster international data plans. I’d gotten smart enough to switch to a “business” plan when I started out on my own in 2012 and had actually been able to lower my bill even with adding a 2nd phone. But it was when work started taking me internationally that I felt the pinch in my wallet.

International Highway Robbery

I’m so grateful for the fact that I’ve gotten to travel as extensively overseas as I have. I’ve learned so much about different cultures, flavors and have met some amazing people. I’ve also realized that not only are Americans screwed over on vacation time (umm Australia mandates minimum 6 weeks PTO) but we’re also screwed over on mobile data.

Buying a SIM card with 20 GB of data (or even unlimited) can be as cheap as $40 + a month (or until it’s used up). Take that and compare to the international roaming packages where AT&T would charge me up to $120 for each 200 MB (WTF!!!!) you’d see it was literal highway robbery. AND, that was only for data and texts. It took a while for them to then offer you calling without charging you extra for that too.

They’d also claim that you could use their partner’s WiFi in countries around the world, but the app you needed to use was total crap. On over 20 trips to 31 countries, only TWICE did I actually find a WiFi network and ONCE did it actually connect. It took a while for some of the carriers to lessen the grip they had on us by eventually evolving into a pay per day rate that would cost anywhere from $10-$15/day. Of course there were very few countries where that rate worked and even then, it was too little, too late.

The problem was that I was tied to AT&T because I’d either purchased the phones at a discount or later financed the devices so that I couldn’t “unlock” the device. (For those of you not familiar, unless you buy these $1,000 smartphones outright, you don’t technically own them. So, they are “locked” to the carrier that you are a customer of.)

The “Un-Carrier”

It didn’t take many overseas trips for my bills to go sky high. There were months where my wireless bill would be $600, $700…even $900 for months where I’d traveled internationally no more than 7-10 days. Don’t get me started on how difficult it was for me to suspend service when I headed to Bali to work at Hubud for 10 weeks. I had friends who kept on telling me that I needed to ditch AT&T and switch over to T-Mobile. I still wasn’t sure though, because I’d heard that in some parts of the US their service wasn’t the best.

Well, I was stupid. For far too long I paid way too much, just thinking that T-Mobile wasn’t good. In fact, they are plenty fine in the US & provide FREE data in 210+ countries overseas (most of the time with 3G speeds, mind you, but 4G at least when in Europe). Switching over to them was a little bumpy. But, that’s another story for another day and the way their team handled it was absolutely amazing – I didn’t have a bill for the first three months…and then some.

In addition to texting and data abroad, they also run a quirky T-Mobile Tuesdays program where every week customers can score free swag, free pizzas, discounts on hotels, movies, etc. Add the fact that T-Mobile ONE plans also provide the following:

  • Free Netflix
  • 4G LTE service included in Mexico & Canada
  • Mobile hotspot data
  • In-flight texting and data on Gogo-enabled flights

and you’ve got a deal that you really can’t beat.

The post Switch to T-Mobile & Ditch Expensive International Mobile Charges was first published on Coworkaholic.