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If you’re going to be traveling abroad for work, or you have friends or family living in another country, you’re going to need a good international phone plan. The last thing you need is to rack up enormous roaming fees or come home to a huge cellphone bill. Avoid a charge in the hundreds (or worse) by going with one of the best international phone plans of 2020 and knowing you won’t be charged outrageous roaming fees.
How international phone plans work
There are three types of international phone plans you can choose from.
Bolt-on packs: This option allows you to add international calling to your existing plan. A bolt-on pack is a good plan if you’re going to make international calls quite often. Many people choose this option if they have family or friends living overseas..
Pay-as-you-go options: You get charged for each international call you make. The pay-as-you-go plan is perfect if you’re going on a work trip and need to stay in touch with your family while you’re away.
International day passes: This option gives you a full day of international calling. You can choose more than one day, of course, depending on your needs. But this approach is particularly useful if you know you will be using a lot of data.
Overall, don’t wait until after you’ve arrived at your destination to purchase a SIM card. You will most likely need to use your phone before you can get your hands on one. So, be prepared and get an international phone plan before you leave.
Best international calling plans for 2021
This international calling plan includes:
- Unlimited talk and text
- Unlimited 4G LTE data
- Mobile hotspot data with 3GB at the 4G LTE, and then unlimited mobile hotspot at 3G
- International texting available in over 210 countries and destinations
- International data available in over 210 countries and destinations with 2G data speed
- Unlimited data, talk and text in Canada and Mexico with 5GB of 4G LTE and unlimited 2G
- In-flight Wi-Fi for one hour and unlimited texting
- Unlimited SD video streaming
- Unlimited data and texting in over 210 countries and destinations
- Use your phone on the airplane. Text family and friends or check your social media.
- Easy to use and ready to go once you land.
- Charges for phone calls outside of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. If you’re going to be making a lot of calls, you’ll need to choose another plan.
Sprint Global Roaming
This plan includes:
- Unlimited talk, text and data nationwide and in Canada and Mexico
- 5GB of 4G LTE data
- Free basic data and texting in over 200 countries and destinations
- Compatible with certain 5G phones
- Mobile hotspot with 500 MB of LTE data
- SD video streaming
- Unlimited basic data and texting in over 200 countries and destinations
- Discounts for customers 55 and older, as well as for military members
- Good coverage
- Also charges for phone calls outside the U.S., Canada and Mexico. If you need to make many calls, you might want to look elsewhere.
AT&T International Day Pass
International calling here includes everything you already get in your current plan, plus:
- Use in over 200 countries and destinations
- Unlimited talk and text
- Unlimited texting abroad
- Doesn’t start charging until you make a call or send a text from abroad
- Good coverage
- Data speed may vary
Mint Mobile UpRoam
This international calling account includes:
- Unlimited talk and text in the U.S., Canada and Mexico
- 4G LTE data
- Free mobile hotspot
- Data, talk and text available in over 160 countries and destinations
- Calls in Canada or Mexico are 6 cents/minute
- Calls abroad are 25 cents/minute
- Texting in Canada and Mexico are 2 cents/outgoing text
- Texting abroad is 5 cents/outgoing text
- Data in Canada and Mexico is 6 cents/MB
- Data abroad is 20 cents/MB
- International calling included in all plans
- Calls from the U.S. to other countries are just 1 cent/minute and up
- Slow data speeds
Google Fi Flexible + 3GB Data
This phone plan includes:
- International calls from the U.S. start at 1 cent/minute
- Unlimited calls and texts
- Flexible coverage
- Fast data speeds
- Pay for the data you use
- Must have a compatible phone
You have a few options to choose from when traveling abroad or calling a loved one outside of North America. Check out the pros and cons of each provider’s offering, then choose the best international phone plan to fit your needs and budget.
For more wireless tips or to get insights on all things connected, be sure to bookmark our Resource Center.
By Nicky LaMarco
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