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T-mobile Simple Choice in Europe
Old 10-04-2016, 10:59 AM   #1
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T-mobile Simple Choice in Europe

Our T-mobile Simple Choice plan worked very well for us in Europe during our recent trip. All over NL, and large sections of France. We often had LTE available, even though T-mobile only promises 2G speeds for their unlimited free data service.

Even in remote areas - crossing through by train - we usually had data service and only dropped out when we were going underground. There are actually a lot of tunnels in France and Spain.

We did run into a bit of a problem in Barcelona when our phones switched to their provider Movistar and all of a sudden we lacked data. I think Movistar didn't see our phones as data roaming devices, and so was only providing call service and strangely delayed and somewhat unreliable text service.

Apparently this kind of thing - incompatible configuration - can happen sometimes, but can be fixed.

Fortunately the day after we arrived (after finding a thread or two - it wasn't easy to track down our problem) we had an extra hour in the morning due to a late pickup and called T-mobile international support and they walked us through the "magic" actions to reset and reestablish our data connections for both iPhones. 30 minutes - back in business with much relief!!!

The following flyertalk thread explains the solution - just in case you ever run into such an issue. It could happen anywhere, apparently. Some countries are better about having correct configurations for phones than others. trouble with T-Mobile data Spain - FlyerTalk Forums
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:12 AM   #2
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If you don't know the plan - it's a regular monthly (non contract) talk, text, and data US plan that also provides coverage for Mexico and Canada, and then overseas offers free text, free data roaming and 20 cent per minute calling when traveling in 140 countries not in North America.

We adopted it because of the convenience for overseas use - especially when traveling in more than one country (where switching local SIMs and thus phone numbers gets cumbersome) and having the same US number was convenient (especially for those security code texts you need when you log into web sites from overseas). But also because the early support for WiFi calling made it a good choice at our home in the US. We'd had serious trouble with local cell signal strength and it became a non-issue with WiFi calling capability built into iPhones.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:48 AM   #3
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We were in Australia this Feb and found this T mobile offering worked quite well, even in Tasmania. Likewise in Peru, the previous Fall. Plan also provides greatly discounted voice rates for those quick calls for reservations.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:51 AM   #4
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They had full high speed LTE in July and August for Europe.

So I used it a lot in Greece, including tethering other devices to my iPhone. I downloaded videos from my Tivo back home and streamed some videos.

Now they brought it back for the rest of the year:

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Travel without limits
Enjoy unlimited data and texting in 140+ countries and destinations at no extra charge. It's all included in our Simple Choice and T-Mobile ONE unlimited plans.

Travel with T-Mobile and enjoy unlimited 4G LTE data in South America and some of the most popular destinations in Europe just like you do at home, until 2017!

No one is breaking down international borders like T-Mobile.

Includes: Armenia, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and anywhere in South America.
International Plans | Traveling Abroad without Roaming Fees | T-Mobile
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:19 PM   #5
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We caught the tail end of that. But I was still getting LTE in lots of places in September.

I also used data tethering.
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Old 10-04-2016, 02:11 PM   #6
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T-Mobile worked well for me in Europe too. And, I have noticed in the States, coverage is improving.
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Old 10-04-2016, 03:40 PM   #7
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Works many places in the Caribbean islands also (USVI, Puerto Rico). Now, right here in mainland US, OTOH, it sometimes is reminiscent of a third-world country. That or it is suddenly 1990 again, with calls dropping regularly.

Oh well!
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Old 10-04-2016, 04:31 PM   #8
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Just a heads-up on Simple Choice. You don't get data in Europe with the prepaid version, only the regular version.
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Old 10-04-2016, 06:55 PM   #9
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T Mobile beats having to deal with SIMS cards and customer service phone numbers where they only speak non-English.

T Mobile is owned by the German phone company, and they're the national phone company for many entire countries in Europe.

Last time we were over there, we were getting phone calls from home seamlessly. Like when our 2 year old granddaughter called Mimi on her mother's speed dial at 3:30 a.m. Budapest time.
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:24 PM   #10
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Did the callers from home get billed for calling long distance since you were roaming on a foreign network when you got the calls?
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:44 PM   #11
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Did the callers from home get billed for calling long distance since you were roaming on a foreign network when you got the calls?
I'm pretty sure callers get treated like it's a US number.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:22 AM   #12
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This is one of the best deals available for international travel (and families for that matter). We've used it for the last few years without any issues. And we were lucky to catch their LTE Europe promotion this summer. We have four phones in our family and everyone appreciated faster internet while traveling.
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Old 10-06-2016, 01:59 PM   #13
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I had to give up my T-Mobile plan and switch to AT&T because T-Mobile's coverage where I live stinks. It hasn't gotten any better either because recently my sister had to switch after moving back home from San Jose, CA. I think you are good to go in major cities, but not so much once you get beyond the population centers.

It worked like a charm when I traveled to London, and I agree that it's the obvious choice for anyone who is planning to travel often AND has good coverage back home. Since I only travel internationally at most twice a year, I just buy AT&T's sliver plan and consider that fee a part of the total cost for my trip. For my next phone, I'm considering a dual SIM model so I can buy a local SIM and install it while keeping my other number running. T-Mobile would be easier, darn it.
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:14 PM   #14
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T-Mobile sounds really good. With the iPhone and AT&T over wifi we managed very well out of the country this last couple of years. Even when roaming incoming calls from the US don't produce charges.

Twice last year in Canada I paid $30 for 30 days of overseas coverage which I used mainly for Google Maps when navigating in large cities. Google Maps now has a great feature where you can download maps for the areas you are going to be, so in Belgium this year I would download maps for where we were going to travel when in wifi and it worked great, recalculating routes etc when needed even with the phone in airplane mode. (a downloaded map stays on the phone for 30 days by default).
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:25 PM   #15
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I had to give up my T-Mobile plan and switch to AT&T because T-Mobile's coverage where I live stinks. It hasn't gotten any better either because recently my sister had to switch after moving back home from San Jose, CA. I think you are good to go in major cities, but not so much once you get beyond the population centers.

It worked like a charm when I traveled to London, and I agree that it's the obvious choice for anyone who is planning to travel often AND has good coverage back home. Since I only travel internationally at most twice a year, I just buy AT&T's sliver plan and consider that fee a part of the total cost for my trip. For my next phone, I'm considering a dual SIM model so I can buy a local SIM and install it while keeping my other number running. T-Mobile would be easier, darn it.
Interestingly enough we had lousy Verizon cell reception at home. T-mobile wasn't better - but they supported WiFi calling with iPhones so now cell reception at home doesn't matter as our phones automatically switch to WiFi when we get home. Reception is OK driving from home to town and in town.

We seemed to be OK in Hawaii and driving from TX to GA. Rarely no signal.
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:26 PM   #16
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We liked T-Mobile's data feature and used it a lot. Just to mention it did not work in some small countries, one of them is Andorra in Europe. In that case, you can get a Google map downloaded when you have Wifi, as someone already mentioned.
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:31 PM   #17
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One annoyance with T-mobile is they like to tack their "recovery fee" to anything extra. So because we had some small call charges we got fees of $4 tacked onto last months bill for two phones. Nuts.

The billing is weird though - we also sometimes get at least partial refunds in months following extra fees. So I don't know yet what the extra cost will be - something lees than $8.

Not much - just annoying.

If someone could get away with text and data only, they would see no extra charges at all.
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:38 PM   #18
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I just switched to Google Project FI. It has the same international aspects as T Mobile, i.e., free roaming, calls and texts. Cheap international calls when on WiFi (it will automatically switch to Wifi when available) Use ur regular number while travelling. The good thing is that I also got my phone bill down to about $25/mo. They charge $20/mo for calls and text. $10/ gig data. The disadvantage is that you need a special Google phone I.e., Nexus, but the phones are very good and Google seems to subsidize them.


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Old 10-07-2016, 09:19 AM   #19
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I have Sprint service here in the U.S. on a Samsung Galaxy S5 smart phone. I called Sprint just before my recent 3-week trip to France, Germany and Russia in September to ask about my options when traveling.

Sprint gave me simple instructions on how to change the settings on my phone upon arrival in Europe which gave me free texting and free data on 2G, and phone calls at 20 cents/min. It seemed to work well-enough, especially as I had WiFi access when staying at my relative's homes. Sprint also offers a paid plan for higher speed service when in Europe. I don't recall what the price is, but as it's on a monthly basis, it seemed reasonably-priced for someone who might need the higher speeds. I appreciated having access to emails and texting while 'on the run', just as I do when at home.

I loved not having to worry about buying (and learning the specifics of) a disposable phone with a new phone number (that I would need to notify my friends and family of), buying and keeping tabs on SIM cards, etc. Plus, as I use my phone when traveling mostly for its camera, that made it doubly nice to be able to rely on the same phone as I do every day and to not need to buy and keep track of more "stuff".

Upon my return to the U.S., I changed the phone's settings back as per Sprint's instructions. Easy peasy.

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Old 10-07-2016, 09:49 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
I have Sprint service here in the U.S. on a Samsung Galaxy S5 smart phone. I called Sprint just before my recent 3-week trip to France, Germany and Russia in September to ask about my options when traveling.

Sprint gave me simple instructions on how to change the settings on my phone upon arrival in Europe which gave me free texting and free data on 2G, and phone calls at 20 cents/min. It seemed to work well-enough, especially as I had WiFi access when staying at my relative's homes. Sprint also offers a paid plan for higher speed service when in Europe. I don't recall what the price is, but as it's on a monthly basis, it seemed reasonably-priced for someone who might need the higher speeds. I appreciated having access to emails and texting while 'on the run', just as I do when at home.

I loved not having to worry about buying (and learning the specifics of) a disposable phone with a new phone number (that I would need to notify my friends and family of), buying and keeping tabs on SIM cards, etc. Plus, as I use my phone when traveling mostly for its camera, that made it doubly nice to be able to rely on the same phone as I do every day and to not need to buy and keep track of more "stuff".

Upon my return to the U.S., I changed the phone's settings back as per Sprint's instructions. Easy peasy.

omni
Sounds pretty much equivalent.

We never felt the need for higher speed coverage as we had WiFi at all hotels and we often had LTE anyway even though it was not guaranteed.
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