Both frequent travelers and the occasional vacationer will need to prepare in advance to secure mobile data and phone service abroad.
There are many options available depending on the person’s current situation, according to Engadget.
The easiest route to take is to just do nothing, and that is possible for those using T-Mobile, Sprint, or Google’s Fi service because each of these offer some unlimited data coverage in most foreign countries.
T-Mobile and Sprint will cap the user at slower 2G speeds, but Google Fi will let you use up to high-speed 4G data if it is available. Check with a provider to be sure, but usually, this option requires enabling ‘roaming data’ in the phone’s settings to work.
Customers signed up with AT&T or Verizon, unfortunately, won’t have the luxury of free roaming data and will instead have to purchase roaming passes that are often expensive for what they offer. With monthly packs, for instance, AT&T will sell 1 gigabyte of data for $60 while Verizon has half a gigabyte for $70, but some plans might offer a few free passes each month.
To avoid this extra expense, local SIM cards can be an excellent option for saving money as long as the provider has unlocked the phone. For this option, head into a local telecom upon arrival, such as Vodafone in the UK, and purchase a temporary, ‘pay-as-you-go’ SIM or whatever variant they say is best for your situation. Unfortunately, a new SIM means a new phone number and anyone calling the usual one will be sent straight to voicemail as if the phone had been turned off. To make matters worse, certain new phones or devices that are still on an installment plan through the provider likely cannot be unlocked to use a local SIM, but those that hang on to older devices might be able to find something new enough to use for a short trip.