Best International Cell Phone Plans
These are the best international cell phone plans, and there is no order to the way they were listed on this article. It was very difficult to rank these in any meaningful way because prices vary depending on the countries you call, the amount you use your phone, the number of lines, and so forth. This article is for people who make international calls frequently. The prices you see on this article were correct at the time of writing, but even if the prices change, you should use this article as your first method of research for when you are shopping around because this article mentions companies and cellphone plans that comparison websites leave out. Comparison websites leave them out because some of these companies/plans do not pay comparison websites affiliate money, so it is not in the comparison website’s interest to show them.
Straight Talk Wireless
Straight Talk Wireless has a phone plan called the unlimited international plan. It gives you 10GB of high speed data, unlimited national text, and unlimited nationwide calls. You also get unlimited international calling, unlimited text, and unlimited picture messaging to 15 international numbers per month. In some countries you get unlimited calls to landlines, and in some countries you get unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles.
You will get up to 15 unique destination numbers each service month, and the plan includes mobile-to-mobile calls to phone numbers in China, Mexico, India and Canada. Plus, they give a bonus of 400 minutes to call Claro Guatemala numbers. Below, you can see the destinations that you may be able to call within the terms of the unlimited plan. The plan includes various cities within the cities listed below. You have to check using their website tool to find out if you can get unlimited calls to the specific phone numbers you have in mind. Again, the list below is not the countries you get unlimited calls to. There are cities within the list below that are eligible for unlimited calls.
Each account you open with the Straight Talk Wireless Unlimited International Plan gives you unlimited calls to 15 unique international telephone numbers. You will need to check on their website to see if the phone number you wish to call will fall under the unlimited portion of the plan.
Each plan is a 30 day plan with no contract, and the plan resets each time a new plan is redeemed. There is no international roaming allowed, you must make your calls or texts from the USA or Puerto Rico.
The unlimited international plan has no contract attached, it will cost you $60 per month, and if you buy with auto-refill, then your monthly payment will go down to $59.00. For the record, we got the $60 price at WalMart, so consider trying both the website and the WalMart website if you are shopping around for the best Straight Talk price.
The T-Mobile international add-on is a great deal, but you have to buy the whole package in order to enjoy it. The total price including fees and taxes is $95.00 per month with auto-pay. This gives you their regular plan with unlimited national texts, data and talk time for $70, and their international add-on that costs an extra $25.
You will also have to pay $25 extra in the first month, so the fist payment will cost you $120. All taxes and fees are included in the prices quoted here and on their website. The $25 upfront fee is for their SIM starter kit. The places T-Mobile One Plus International offers high-speed data in Canada, Mexico and USA.
The plan allows you to call locations in 70+ countries to landlines, and to mobile phones in locations in 30+ countries. They say “locations” because there are places in these countries where you are not able to call because of local network restrictions and local network coverage issues.
National 4G LTE data in the USA, Canada and Mexico is unlimited, but data users who use 50GB of data their data in a month may notice that their in speeds slow down a little until the next bill cycle. There is no contract with this plan, it is monthly rolling plan that you may get out of easily without paying penalties.
My apologies for the basic link to the T-Mobile website, you will have to find your way from their home page to their plans. I couldn’t link to the page with their plans because it is some sort of dynamic link (or whatever that junk is they put on the end).
Tello has an international plan called the Tello unlimited build-your-own plan. The idea is that you pick the things that are important to you and you stuff them into your plan. If you agree to have one of these plans, then you may also use Trello to make calls internationally. You may make calls internationally at the rates they advertise on their website. These arrangements are the best international cell phone plans for people who do not call overseas regularly, but who still wish to save money on their overseas calls. It is for people who are looking for a cheaper rate for overseas calls rather than an unlimited overseas plan.
Calls cost around three cents per minute on average, and texts run as low as one cent. Plus, if you call Canada or Mexico, then you may call at domestic rates when you go with a Tello plan. You build your own plan, which means you have a fair amount of control over how much your plan costs. You probably won’t be bowled over by this company or its service, but they are a fair alternative if you are looking for cheaper overseas calls rather than unlimited overseas calls.
Ting is a lot like Tello in that you are able to pick a plan that suits you. There are a bunch of options that you may pick, but the one that may interest you is near the bottom of their rates page where is says that international calls and texts to 60+ countries come at no extra cost. What they mean is that the amount it costs you to call and text in the US is the same amount you pay when you call or text people in one of their 60 covered countries.
Ting’s monthly plan allows you to choose how much data, text and calls you are going to use and pay for. There are no cancellation fees because you are set to a monthly rolling contract. There are a few freebies that you may be able to sign up for, and they include free 3-way calling, hotspot, tethering, caller ID, video messaging, free picture messaging and free voicemail. Ting uses four network networks, which are T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, so there is a very high chance your area will be covered by them. Ting’s high speed Internet is not always as high speed as one expects. Sometimes you get 4G speeds and sometimes you get 3G speeds.
International calls and international roaming is charged as an extra when your bill is generated. If you stick to the 60+ countries that Ting covers with their plans, then you shouldn’t pay any more for your overseas calls than you do for your national ones. Ting has a very long list of which countries get free calls, which are charged at the normal rate and so forth. Here is a link to Tings International calls rates.
Maybe Sprint doesn’t have the best international cell phone plans, but it does have an okay global roaming plan for people who spend a lot of time abroad. It is available to anyone on a Sprint cellphone plan, and the cheapest Sprint cellphone plan starts with a monthly payment of $45. You will be able to get unlimited texts while abroad, and it costs about 20 cent per minute when calling from abroad. You can get at least 2G in most countries, and data is free in most of the countries the Sprint covers. If you want faster Internet speeds, then you will have to pay by on a daily or weekly basis, which may cost more than your willing to pay if you are a heavy user.
MetroPCS is a great example of why you should use articles such as our “Best international Cell Phone Plans” to do your own market research (shopping around) because MetroPCS international offers rarely ever appear on comparison websites. In fact, the international stuff is difficult to find on the MetroPCS website unless you know what you are looking for.
You start with a regular plan from MertoPCS and then add on the international stuff. I personally love the MertoPCS website because they have poured large chunks of information into just one page in a way that thrills nerds like myself. Pick a plan, and then buy an international add-on via their “Services” page. MertoPCS used to have a “World Calling Plan,” but they have decommissioned it.
For an extra $5 per month, you may use their “Canada Unlimited” service that gives you unlimited calls and texts between the US and Canada. For an extra $5 per month, you may use their “Mexico Unlimited” service that allows unlimited calling to landlines in 200 locations in Mexico.
There is also the MertoPCS Global Voice service that gives you voice calls to selected locations within 140 countries, and you may add that onto your regular plan for an extra $10 per month. However, you have to check beforehand to see if the numbers you wish to call are in covered countries/locations, plus your base cellphone plan has to come to $30 or higher in order to add this one on to your account.
I don’t want to get into the minutiae of the regular MertoPCS plans. In short, I think they are okay compared to others, and I like the fact that they put all the important details on one page (even if they do put it in small print). The image below is something I squeezed together from their plans page that gives you the gist of their regular plans. If you are interested in them, then go to the MertoPCS plans page and read through all the text (small print included) before making your choice.
Cricket Wireless Mobile
Cricket Wireless Mobile has a talk and text plans upon which you may add international add-ons. You have to buy one of their regular cellphone plans first, and then you may add on their “Cricket International” and “Cricket International Extra” features for making overseas calls and texts.
You will need to buy one of their regular plans first, which means picking one of their plans that range in price between $25 and $60 per month. When you make your first payment, you will need to pay an extra $9.99 upfront. You get a monthly rolling contract, no overage fees, but their unlimited data plan will throttle your speeds after 22GB of monthly use.
There are also individual country add-ons. These apply to certain countries that are not covered by other networks or by the international add-ons mentioned above. The individual country add-ons are Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Philippines and Vietnam. Again, this feature is another reason why article such as our “Best International Cell Phone Plans” are vital to your research when you are shopping around for the best deal because comparison websites rarely tell you when cellphone network providers offer things such as this.
Boost Mobile allows you to add international features onto your existing cellphone plan. If you are a new customer, you will have to sign up to one of their regular plans and then pick between the many add-ons that Boost offers.
Boost Mobile has an international cellphone plan called the Todo Mexico Plus. It gives you unlimited calls to Canada (oddly enough) that excludes the northern territories, you get unlimited landline calls to all of Mexico, and unlimited cellphone-to-cellphone calls to Mexico. They give you unlimited SMS text messages to 70 other countries, and they give you a bunch of other extras such as roaming data in Mexico, calls back to the US from Mexico, and so forth. This plan has to be added to your regular Boost Mobile cellphone plan for an additional $5.00 per month
There is also the international connect plus plan. It costs $10.00 per month on top of your current Boost Mobile plan, and it gives you unlimited international text messaging to 70 countries, unlimited calls to Canada and unlimited calls to Mexico. Get unlimited calls to over 70+ countries with landlines. You will be able to talk to over 50+ countries to landlines or mobile phone with 200 minutes talk time. They also say they have cheap rates for people who go over 200 words.
As you can see from the image above, there are also additional add-ons you can buy. The add-ons that Boost Offers may be perfect for you, but just like with all the cellphone network providers, I implore you to read their terms and conditions. Even on their services and plans pages, there is a lot of small print that says things such as how some territories are excluded from their plans, or how some landline numbers are excluded.
This network plan may interest you if you are traveling on business or on a vacation to another country and you wish to call the US. It gives you unlimited talk time to the US, and unlimited texts to anywhere in the world. The International Day Pass will cost you $10.00 a day, you will be able to text and talk back to people in the US from 100 countries within a 24-hour period. You may even be able to use the data allowance you have on your AT&T plan that you use at home, but check the terms and conditions on this one because there are a lot of them.
In fact, read the terms and conditions on all of this plan because there are things such as usage restrictions. The terminology on the usage restrictions is outright confounding. For example, they say that if your usage exceeds 50% of your total voice or text usage for two consecutive months, then your plan is removed (I have no idea what that means).
In order to apply for an AT&T international day pass, you need to be an AT&T customer who already has an eligible domestic postpaid wireless plan required. Once you add your day pass, it stays on your account until you remove it by calling 800-335-4685 or at att.com/myatt. The small print on the Day Pass page nearly had us remove this entry from our “Best International Cell Phone Plans” article because even our research team had a hard time picking through it. The way they have worded their small print seems to purposefully try to confuse the messages they are trying to convey.
Note to the web master responsible for the US Cellular website, “Quit adding pop-ups that offer a mystery prize, your visitors are not idiots.”
US Cellular has 5 plans to choose from that are just for international uses. There is the international long distance plan that costs $3.99 per month. The plan gives you discounted landline calling rates for over 200 countries, which means it is good for people who make numerous landline calls overseas each month. You also get unlimited landline calls to Mexico.
The “Unlimited Calling Canada Plan” allows you to contact friends and family in Canada for just $5.00 per month. Give the company a series of phone numbers, and once the plan is up and running, you may call those numbers as often as you like without having to pay extra.
There is a Pay-As-You-Go international calling plan that gives you lower calling rates to over 200 countries. Prices go as low as 20 cent per minute with no monthly fee to deal with. It is most suitable for people who only call overseas occasionally.
There is the “Unlimited Talk and Text to Mexico and Canada Plan” that will cost you $10 per month. You have to call US Cellular or visit a store in order to get this plan. There is also the “Unlimited Calling to Mexico Plan” that allows you to call landlines in Mexico as much and as many times as you want.
Just like the AT&T website, there is a whole mess of small-print terms and conditions that come with this plan. They are tucked away behind a link on the web page that says, “*Things We Want You To Know.”
Verizon has an international calling plan for people who are traveling to other countries and who wish to call back to the US, or who wish to call other countries. You need a regular domestic Verizon plan to start with. If you pay Verizon’s TravelPass fees, then you may take your domestic plan with you.
For example, if you pay $5 per day, you may use talk, text and data in Canada and in Mexico as if you were in the US. For example, if you have an unlimited talk plan at home in the US, then for $5 per day you may have unlimited talk in Canada or Mexico. And, if you pay $10 per month, then you may enjoy the same deal in up to 130 countries.
There is also a monthly option that offers calls and texts in other countries, but you may struggle to get and use data in some countries. You may buy the monthly plans as one-offs that expire after a month, or you may set a monthly recurring charge for longer trips. The image below shows you their monthly international travel pricing.
If you are traveling outside of the US and you prefer Pay-As-You-Go plans, then Verizon has one of those too on their Verizon international prices page, which also includes international data in selected countries and on selected airlines. They also have a Cruise ship Pay-As-You-Go pricing plan too.
The lowest priced plan costs $29 and gives you unlimited domestic and global text, unlimited calling to the USA, unlimited calling to 75+ international destinations. This plan also has call-anywhere credit where you may use $5 of international calling credit to any country. You get 4GB of 4G LTE to be used in another country.
We were unsure as to if we should include Ultra Mobile. They have some of the lowest prices we could find, and we were worried there was a catch or con in place. There are a few downsides to using Ultra Mobile. Firstly, their prices are usually slightly higher than what it says on their website because of fees, but they are still very low priced even if you add in the extra fees. Another problem is that there is occasionally a loss of signal, which is true even if you are in an area with good coverage. Finally, they have absolutely terrible customer service. I honestly prefer the thick-accented Indian support workers that come with HSBC over the outright rude, unprofessional and untrained customer support staff who work for Ultra Mobile. I can only imagine that the working conditions are awful at Ultra Mobile for their staff to be so unhappy and rude on such a consistent basis.
If you are looking for a cellphone network service provider who will give you a good price on international calls and texts, then Ultra Mobile is the one for you, and good for you for reading all the way to the end to find the cheapest international cellphone plan. But, as I mentioned, despite being the cheapest, there is an ugly side to Ultra Mobile.