Ever since T-mobile in the US failed to grab regulatory approval to merge with AT&T, T-mobile has been making some bold moves in the market, moves that have gained T-Mobile some major market share. My current T-mobile plan is still coming in at $75 a month with unlimited everything including data, and it really is unlimited. It isn't the AT&T or Verizon version of unlimited, that is capped at a limiting 5GB or whatever limit you might have.
The other feature of T-mobile that was always a major selling point for me is the free international texting and data. The only problem going for T-mobile when it comes to free international data, is that the speed is highly limited, usually to 2G speeds, which I don't see in the US ever. Speeds are so slow that it might as well be un-usable.
My solution up until this trip has been to buy a T-mobile data pass. T-mobile makes these passes available for international travelers. There are some lower level data passes, but the one I most commonly used was the 500MB version that lasts for 2 weeks. The lower priced lower data version only lasts a week. My choice for the 500MB pass sets me back $50 every time that I travel. It gets to be expensive really fast.
I was planning to go this route with my phone for my upcoming trip until I remembered that Google's cell service, Project Fi, uses T-mobile combined with Sprint in the US. Outside of the US, their data plan doesn't change. You still have the same data available to you, and you still have the same speeds available. No additional charges or anything. So for a 1 month subscription, I pay $30 total. $20 for the phone line and $10 per 1GB of data. So for twice the length of time, and $20 less money, I get a full 1GB of data to use internationally.
The beauty of the Google way of doing things is that if you were to exceed that 1GB of data you originally signed up for, Google just charges you $10 extra for the next 1GB of data. No overage fees, no added costs, they charge you as if you originally signed up for 2GB. Clean simple and even at 2GB, costs less than the T-mobile data pass.
Now this does require a specific phone to use, but I happen to prefer these phones already. So I just happen to own a Google phone since I like them better, with the perk of it working with Project Fi.
An amazing deal. Just keep in mind that for my heavily used phone at home in the US, T-mobile is still cheaper. Google lets you pay month to month, so I'll only activate my account when I'm travelling internationally.
Finding ways to save money is always important and this was a big one for me and travelling in the future. Keep up the great service Google.
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8