International Phones and Plans

Its hard to travel the globe and not be connected. When we started Spec Ops Technology we had plans to simply use unlocked phones and purchase SIM cards in the country we would primarily be working. That is fine and dandy till you miss a meeting because you were not within WIFI range to check your email or can’t remember which of the 7 SIM cards in your pocket are tied to the country you are now landing in. There are enough logistics nightmares to toss phone management into the fire. I wanted to share my findings for those traveling a lot and those running international firms.

I do some averages to hide our customer’s privacy and locations. It also helps for those not traveling to a single country, but rather across many different places. I think this more reflects the average traveler who is taking a European cruise and starts in the Netherlands and ends up in France/Germany/Belgium/etc.

The other oddball out here is I include the Tmobile Blackberry plan. It is so drastically different due to the rate structure I feel it important for comparison.

Links to each vendors international information:


My ground rules and assumptions for the table are as follows:

  1. You have a locked phone to the carrier listed
  2. You use on average ~800 MiB of data per month for standard business communications
  3. You want EVERY international option for calls/txt rates

General Findings

  • They all suck.
  • Force yourself to use a blackberry and you can get out pretty cheap with Tmobile, but be 100% your data is BIS related or your screwed
  • Tmobile has Wifi calling built into many of their phones which can save you some heartache
  • Use Google Voice to save some more money
  • HOLY TOLEDO BATMAN some of the costs here are more than a nice car

Rankings by price per month

  1. Tmobile Blackberry Plan which only helps with data. If you are wanting to use voice abroad you better get ready for some hurt. My voice alone last month was 550 USD of the 700 dollar bill
  2. AT&T Wireless 800MiB Plan with Options
  3. Verizon with the 300MiB Plan with Options and Overages
  4. Tmobile screwed over plan
  5. Sprint screwed over totally

Link to Table of Data is HERE

Updated to include 300 minutes of voice HERE