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T-Mobile: Most International Travelers Perfectly Happy With 2G
by Karl Bode 08:51AM Tuesday Jul 01 2014
Last fall as part of the company's "uncarrier" brand strategy, T-Mobile announced that the company would be offering their users free data roaming while travelling internationally -- albeit it EDGE (2G) speeds. While EDGE (128 kbps or so) speeds may turn off many, T-Mobile states that fewer than 1% of the 2 million people who have used a Simple Global Plan have opted to upgrade to a higher-speed option -- suggesting 2G's fast enough for most.

Not too surprisingly, when you offer free international texting, free EDGE data and calls at the flat rate of 20 cents per minute, people take you up on your offer:
quote:
A survey T-Mobile released last month found that, since the implementation of its new roaming strategy, its customers have called three times as much when abroad, texted seven times more often, and used 28 times more data than they did previously. What's more, 53% more of its customers now roam on cellular in supported countries than before it unveiled the plans.
Of course when your option is free 2G connectivity or spending big bucks on what are frequently absurd overseas data roaming rates, it's little surprise users make due with EDGE speeds.

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robbyglack

@67.176.23.x

most would not use it at all

for cast majority of users its not between tolerating low speed or paying for faster. its about using the free slow data versus nothing(or free wifi hot spots)
BosstonesOwn

join:2002-12-15
Wakefield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

Re: most would not use it at all

Depends on how you travel, with business... I must have data and can not rely on hotspots. That being said if I am doing more then email I will purchase the faster speed packs, if not 2g is fine for me. and most times the "2g" speeds are actually faster then the 2g speeds in the US.
--
"It's always funny until someone gets hurt......and then it's absolutely friggin' hysterical!"
en103

join:2011-05-02
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 recommendation

Re: most would not use it at all

Exactly. When I'll be spending 2 weeks on the road in Alberta/British Columbia, I would be perfectly fine with free 2G voice/data/sms vs. the ~$1.00/minute and $ $0.015/KB in Canada ($15.36/MB) and $0.50/sms

~ 10 years ago, I had the old AT&T Wireless 'North America package', which included calling/long distance from my bucket of minutes + sms for $9.99/month as an add on.
toothandnail

join:2014-07-01

Re: most would not use it at all

I agree. Free roaming, even at 2G will make a HUGE difference for me when travelling from WA into BC. Still plenty fast for web, gps, email etc. Anything that requires 3G can wait until at a hotspot or hotel.

bigballer

@205.214.216.x
free is free. I'll take it.

Beggars can't be choosers

fuziwuzi
Not born yesterday
Premium
join:2005-07-01
Atlanta, GA
I've used the free T-Mobile roaming in Shanghai, China and Narita, Japan. For my use (email, texting, text apps like WeChat and WhatsApp) the speed is more than sufficient. And knowing it isn't costing me a fortune makes it so much more pleasant and not having to worry whether I turned off my data roaming (and getting a huge bill if I didn't!). I was even able to use my VPN connections on the phone in China so I could use things like Foursquare and Facebook.
--
Teabaggers: Destroying America is Priority #1

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

3 recommendations

Time is money... People are willing to wait.

People traveling have different expectations than people at/near home. The fact that T-Mobile is doing this at all puts the other carriers to shame.
BosstonesOwn

join:2002-12-15
Wakefield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Time is money... People are willing to wait.

Yeap, I have had $1000 bills with VZW and travelling, with tmo same bill, with the 20 cents a minute tacked on and clearly legible as to why it was that expensive.

They can take my gsm phone from me when the world goes LTE only.
--
"It's always funny until someone gets hurt......and then it's absolutely friggin' hysterical!"

Zenit

join:2012-05-07
Purcellville, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Comcast
·Verizon Online DSL

1 recommendation

EDGE Is not that bad, really.

EDGE is perfectly usable for basic tasks - eMail, Navigation, Search, iMessage...
Its slow, but much better than nothing, and often better than overloaded free wifi.

Your full of it if you cant tolerating a little bit more for stuff, and sorry you cant stream facetwitter at 4080p Super HD wow. EDGE can help you navigate in a foreign land, and that is good enough when on vacation.

The international roaming and free calls to international numbers from the US were the best changes T-Mobile has implemented.
Papageno

join:2011-01-26
Portland, OR

While I agree with the conclusion...

...it's "make DO with" something. A spelling/usage peeve of mine, along with loose/lose, etc.
Quattrohead
Premium
join:2005-02-09

Re: While I agree with the conclusion...

The edge I got in the UK last year was just about useless, I think due to poor coverage in that town. Could have been my phone too, it was old.
en103

join:2011-05-02
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
Kudos to T-Mobile to attempt to actually make use out of their old infrastructure. There are still 'billions' (yes billions) of GSM/EDGE customers in the world. 64% actually - 4.4 billion
»www.4gamericas.org/index.cfm?fus···geid=565

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

1 edit

Lack of competition...

Maybe T-Mobile would up the speed and lower the price if it had to face competitive offerings and competition from the other carriers. Just saying... since there aren't any.
CJWoodward

join:2001-08-08
Westfield, IN

not EDGE coverage, EDGE speed

It's not EDGE coverage, it is EDGE like speed. Just got back from 3 weeks in Australia and was constantly on either 3G or 4G data networks (only briefly on a 2G connection while on a remote area tour), but the speed was always limited to 128k (based on speedtest results).

128k is perfectly adequate for email syncing and other basic tasks. I found it incredibly useful to be connected all the time even at the slower data rate.
sevenbelow

join:2014-03-21
Roslyn Heights, NY

Re: not EDGE coverage, EDGE speed

I agree. I wish ATT iphone 4s allowed to disable 3g like on 3gs model. Edge is extremely reliable and consistant, especially in Manhattan.

robbyglack

@67.176.82.x

Re: not EDGE coverage, EDGE speed

said by sevenbelow:

I agree. I wish ATT iphone 4s allowed to disable 3g like on 3gs model. Edge is extremely reliable and consistant, especially in Manhattan.

agreed. t-mobile edge usually works better(more consistant/stable) than 3g/4g throttled to 128kbps

SrsBsns

join:2001-08-30
Oklahoma City, OK

I wouldn't exactly call it "big bucks"

Here is the high speed add on options for international data.

Single day pass: $15 for 100MB (high speed data capped at 100MB)
7 day pass: $25 for 200MB (high speed data capped at 200MB)
14 day pass: $50 for 500MB (high speed data capped at 500MB)

wdoa

join:2001-10-16
Spencer, MA

Cheaper than AT&T Roaming package

I'm a former T-Mobile customer who last year switched to AT&T because my wife had no coverage at her workplace, however I'll be signing up for T-Mobile ahead of a trip to Europe later this year. It's cheaper to sign up with T-Mobile than to add the sky high international roaming package to my existing AT&T plan. I'll also be checking T-Mobile's domestic coverage at the same time and if that coverage has gotten better will consider switching back full time.

Tmobiler

@161.150.240.x

Usability in Germany and India

On a recent business trip I was very pleased with the connectivity and performance in Frankfort, Germany and throughout India, from Mumbai to Banagalore. Speed was good enough for email, iMessage and every FaceTime calls to home.

dnoyeB
Ferrous Phallus

join:2000-10-09
Southfield, MI
kudos:1

Extremely Happy with T-Mobile

Last time I traveled to the UK I had to get a local sim card for $10 so I could have calls and data there. $10 is cheap, but still now I had a different number, etc.

This time with the free text and data, I immediately had Google maps at the airport and not a day later after I could find some phone company store.

The speed was perfectly fine for what I do on my phone. Not so good for watching videos. I might have upgraded if I could have figured out how. I was trying once but it was so unclear that I just let it go.

My phone only showed an "R" so I couldn't tell the protocol it was using to connect. I would expect it should use the best available for efficiency purposes even if the data speed is restricted?
--
dnoyeB
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom [is] despised, and his words are not heard. " Ecclesiastes 9:16
flyingjoey

join:2005-11-07
Jersey City, NJ

Another Satisfied Customer with T-Mo

Last November I went to my local t-mobile store purchased a SIM card (thinking that I was going to cancel the account after I returned from my trip to London/Istanbul). While traveling I managed to incur 30 minutes of roaming. Came home and was only charged 6 dollars. I also used 300 megs of data which I wasn't charged for.

It took me a couple of months to finally make the jump from AT&T over to T-Mo. I didn't mind paying the early termination fee on my main line and a hotspot. Now I have 3 lines with T-Mobile.

Last month I was on another international trip: UK, France and then Dominican Republic. This time around I used over 2.5 hours of talk time (Conf. calls etc). Paid 30 bucks in roaming fees. Again very pleased.

AnonTravel

@173.227.18.x

Used it in Manila, PI...

And dare I say it, my cousins who went with me and have Verizon and AT&T as their cell providers wept in jealousy. No problems taking pics and uploading them to G+ and Viber. Tmo has a partnership with Globe (the local cell company there), and my phone connected at 3G data (Yes, 3G and not 2G . Speaking of Viber, it's Viber out calls worked wonders over the wireless connection since I had to call work once in a while. Mind you, we stayed mostly in the "tourist" areas which have really good coverage like in the city of Makati, Green Hills, and others I can't think of right now. Of course once you travel to the provinces, no coverage whatsoever :-( But hey...free is free and the free I got is awesome!
bartolo5

join:2001-12-03
San Carlos, CA

Re: Used it in Manila, PI...

said by AnonTravel :

my phone connected at 3G data (Yes, 3G and not 2G

They throttle you at 128kbps no matter how you connect. You could be connected on LTE on the roaming country but you should still be capped at 128kbps.
masterbinky

join:2011-01-06
Carlsbad, NM

You can do that?!

If customers had the option for 3/4G connection speeds with the same pricing and benefits and then got to decide if they could use 2G or above, they might get a different outcome. All this says is that people don't find >2G service worth the current pricing, not that they don't want it.

fiosultimate

join:2014-06-09
San Antonio, TX
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

tmobile

Since theyare cramming hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus txt fees into bills, tmobile can afford to be generous when customers are roaming

»mobile.businessweek.com/articles···ne-bills
bartolo5

join:2001-12-03
San Carlos, CA

Re: tmobile

I swear to God there has to be some major mafia movement going on backed by AT&T/Verizon about this. AT&T is notorious for having been done this for years. I'm assuming all of them do it. Very suspicious this is coming into light now and only T-Mobile is being talked about.

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH

I'll take 1X

It's 3.00 per MB in Canada 5.00 in Mexico & 20.00 everywhere else! I'll be fine with 1X thank you only if Verizon offered it...
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

1 recommendation

NOT EDGE

Why does everyone call it EDGE? EDGE is horrible, throttled 3G/4G isn't. EDGE rarely gets to 128kbps, and the latency will be WAY higher.

SrsBsns

join:2001-08-30
Oklahoma City, OK

Re: NOT EDGE

said by BiggA:

Why does everyone call it EDGE? EDGE is horrible, throttled 3G/4G isn't. EDGE rarely gets to 128kbps, and the latency will be WAY higher.

BiggA that is a great point. Its 2G speeds, not 2G network.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: NOT EDGE

Yeah. I feel like even "2G speeds" is a confusing term. I'd rather call it "throttled 4G" which is what it really is (if you count HSPA+ as 4G, but that's another story...).
bartolo5

join:2001-12-03
San Carlos, CA
said by BiggA:

Why does everyone call it EDGE?

Because in the 24/7 fast paced news world we live in today good reporting is absent and people get by with the just sound bites. This roaming service has indeed nothing to do with EDGE, it's your data connection throttled to 128kbps regardless. "EDGE speeds" "Throttled to 128kbps" "EDGE-like" would be simple terms who better describe this.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: NOT EDGE

Throttled to 128kbps would be about the only right one. 128kbps throttled 4G has no relation to the real-world experience of using EDGE...

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

It's a LOT better then it used to be.

The new plan has saved a ton of money and hassle, and the situation has improved enormously. Having said that, of course, LTE and 3G would be even better, but hey, things are improving.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
joe94395

join:2006-04-10
Taylors, SC

It is not EDGE

I traveled to China for a month this year on simple choice. It's not EDGE data, only as fast as EDGE. So you get really low latency on LTE internationally but just slower speeds. It's totally usable because everything pretty much loads right away without a high ping. I was able to even stream music when travelling and Google maps worked fine. It works completely fine for almost everything. Pretty much the only thing that you can't do is stream video. I'm pretty sure you could VOIP on 128K, though I didn't try that. Give me a low ping but slow data any day because I'm fine with that. I don't really need a blazing fast connection for most things I do on my phone.

w0g
o.O

join:2001-08-30
Springfield, OR

EDGE..

I am lucky to get a single data app to work on EDGE in the united states. my guess is that users have decided they did not care about data when they went international, therefore didn't upgrade.

edge is labeled as 128kbps or 256kbps. it ping time outs most of the time when I use it; only txt and phone actually work. another way of stating it is that the packet loss is like 95% on EDGE or worse;.

therefore I expect that when I go out of town none of the data will work, and only in large towns does LTE or 4G or data work.

it's not that much better with Verizon or Sprint. they have only 3G in these areas putting around at 500kbps. but at least it's something.

never tried AT&T but my guess is they don't have 4G in most out of town areas either.

edit: people are saying this is not EDGE. and that it actually works. even I could live with 128kbps, as long as it worked.
--
www.oregonstatehospital.net - CIA and state of Oregon set me up and targeted me with a microwave weapon, learn more.

JimDandy

@192.159.160.x

Re: EDGE..

After fifteen years with Cingular/AT&T I switched to T-Mobil entirely as a result of them offering their International plans. Data worked extremely well in Austria, Sweden, Mexico, Norway, Turkey and Germany. Really missed having the feature when in Albania and Macedonia.

Speeds are fine for checking e-mail and casual browsing. Have the option working on both phones and a mobile hotspot. Never come close to exceeding one gig cap except the time I streamed a Netflix movie.

My speeds were often better than the WiFi available in hotels where they have slow internet connections shared among many rooms using obsolete equipment such as Linksys 54G routers.

chlen
Ethically Challenged
Premium
join:2001-01-16
Saratoga, NY

many places it is 3G

When I had TMO, m wife and I traveled to Russia where it was 3G... free about 2/2 for speed.

We also had a steady 3G signal in Aruba from Digicel which was plenty and free.

Unfortunately in the USA, anything outside the immediate city is unusable Edge 2G.