Review of AT&T Passport Silver Plan (Intl Phone)
Recently I traveled to Paris for a week of vacation. I wanted to have text and data working for my smart phone, so I researched the options available from my carrier which is AT&T. They offer 3 levels of service coded as Bronze, Silver, and Gold with the key difference between the plans being the amount of data that comes with the plan, and price, of course. The Bronze plan offers 120 Mb for $30, Sliver gets you 300 Mb for $60 and Gold brings 800 Mb for $120. There are some other differences including the cost per minute for voice calling, but the amount of data is the key feature. I decided on the Silver plan given that I was pretty sure I would use less than 300 Mb in one week, but I felt like I might need more than 120 Mb. One really nice feature of the AT&T international plans is that they have a 30 day duration and you get to select the starting date. In other words, the dates for your trip do not have to coincide with your phone's billing cycle. It was really easy to set everything up on-line.
During my trip I had 3G access everywhere I traveled in and around Paris, including in the middle of the gardens at Versailles. Performance was good enough for Google maps, Facebook, and the RATP metro app that I used everyday. By the end of my trip, for 8 days and 7 nights, I had used 132 Mb of data (free WiFi at hotel.) I am sure that there are less expensive ways to get connected in Europe, but the AT&T plans have convenience going for them and I was very happy with the deal. With judicious use of WiFi I think you could stretch the Sliver plan to cover a 2 week trip. If you are going to be traveling for longer than that then you may want to explore other options as the Gold plan seems pretty pricey for what you get.
Special Note on AT&T's Passport Mobile App --
Do not use this piece of poo. One of the features that you get with the Silver plan is access to free Wi-Fi hot spots but you have to install this app (different from the myAT&T account app) which locates and authenticates for you. First of all, it never found a WiFi hot spot adjacent to any of the major attractions. But the real reason to avoid using it is that it killed my phone's battery. I have a Motorola Moto X and even after swiping right to end the app it left a service running in the background which used more of my battery than anything else. I didn't discover this until about day 3 of the trip when I finally killed it from the Apps manager and then my phone started making it through a full day. Ugh.