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The complete guide for both the frequent overseas traveler and the casual foreign tourist.

Using Your Own Phone in Foreign Countries
Roaming Questions & Answers

An International "Travel" Phone
Foreign Data Roaming

Using Your Own US-Based Phone:

US wireless phones vary considerably in their international roaming capabilities. Choose your current carrier from the dropdown list to get an overview of how well it roams, and if it doesn't, what you can do to get coverage where you need it.

AT&T Discounts
AT&T has excellent international roaming capabilities. Their phones are GSM-based and work in over 200 countries. There are several Voice and Data Roaming packages available. They have a helpful online Travel Planner. AT&T phones work on most cruise ships. AT&T's Prepaid roams in Canada and Mexico at reasonable rates.

Click Here to Get Details on AT&T International Phones & Plans

Cricket is owned by AT&T and roams in Mexico and Canada.  Details on our International Prepaid Roaming Page.

MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile. MetroPCS phones roam in Mexico.
Details on our International Prepaid Roaming Page.

With a Sprint "International" phone you are able to roam in several countries with their "Open World" plan with Unlimited Calls, Text and 1Gb Data across the Americas including
Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay. Also, with Sprint Global Roaming you can get Free Unlimited Text, Calls for 20/min. and Unlimited Data at up to 2G speeds in over 140 countries, with extra Data passes at up to 3G speeds for an additional fee. Sprint phones work on most cruise ships.
Click Here for Details & Discounts on Sprint Phones

T-Mobile has excellent international roaming capabilities. Their phones are GSM-based and work in over 200 countries. Roaming charges can be very reasonable with their regular plans especially for Data. Roaming in Mexico and Canada may be included without any extra charges including data. T-Mobile phones work on most cruise ships. Data is often limited to 2G speeds outside of North America.
Click Here for T-Mobile International Phones & Plans

US Cellular phones with postpaid plans roam in Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Canada, parts of Mexico, and on most North American cruise ships. Rates vary from .99 to $1.99 per minute. Text and Data roaming is only available in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.
Get US Cellular Phones @ Less Than Retail!

Verizon Wireless
Verizon has an international roaming feature, TravelPass, that allows subscribers to deduct their activity from their regular monthly plan for a fee of $2 per day in Mexico and Canada and $10 per day in more than 65 other locations, including destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region. The daily fee is activated only when a subscriber uses their device to take a call, connect to a data service or send a text while in one of the covered countries. Each session extends for 24 hours, during which time usage is covered by the fee. Another session will begin and another fee will be activated when a subscriber calls, texts or uses data after the 24-hour session has expired. You can leave the service turned on at no charge so the feature will be ready to go when you are. A compatible device is required.
Click Here to Get Online Deals on Verizon Phones & Plans

Prepaid Phones
Prepaid phones with roaming capabilities outside the US.

Country-Specific Reviews:

    Canadian Carriers, Coverage Maps, US Phones in Canada

    US Phones in Cuba, Coverage Maps, Calling To & FROM Cuba

    Mexican Carriers, Coverage Maps, US Phones in Mexico, Calling Procedures

The Best Methods for International Roaming:
  • The Easiest option is to either use your carrier's roaming add-on features or just pay roaming fees, if your phone works at your destination. Paying per usage can make your Roaming costs less than you think. SMS (Texting) is often an economical alternative, but make sure any texting package you have includes international usage. There's a big advantage to dealing with your "home" carrier, not the least of which is accessing US-based, English-speaking customer service. You might also save by not having to buy minutes for a foreign SIM that you can't use at home. Make sure you know what the charges will be for cellular Data roaming, they could be significant.

  • The Cheapest option for Voice calls is using an Smart phone app that is used through an available wi-fi connection. For greater mobility you can buy a Local SIM to use in your unlocked GSM phone to access a cellular data connection that will allow you to use an app, such as Google Hangouts, that will allow free incoming and outgoing calls to & from the US. Local SIM's also have a wide variation of capabilities including calls to the US at "regular" rates.

  • Also, consider carriers that offer packages that include International roaming, especially for data. It may be at the same charge you are paying now, but beware, some international plans do not include certain features like Text Messaging or Mobile to Mobile, so you may have some extra charges. Also, data outside the US may be "capped" or operate at lower rate, as low as 2G. There are many benefits to be able to deal just with your "home" carrier, not the least of which is the advantage of accessing US-based, English-speaking customer service.

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