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Off-Topic: Cell Phone Data Plans Abroad

I travel a lot visiting distilleries around the world. I need to check my email at least at night, but I also have fantasies of uploading pictures and video from my phone as I roam about during the day. When I'm in a place without wi-fi, I'd have to use an international data plan. So I decided to price those out for the top three US carriers. 

These are only the data plans, not voice roaming. I hardly use the phone for phone calls so I don't worry about that much. As far as I can tell the international phones and cards are good for phone calls and maybe texts but not data. 


  • Has a separate email plan for POP3/LAN accounts for $65/month unlimited use 
  • Global Access for web/data $129 for up to 100MB in Europe, or $20.48 per Megabyte


  • In 90 international countries, packages cost 20M for $25, 50M for $60, 100M for $119, 200M for $200


  • $15 per Megabyte in Europe

Conclusion: It seems Verizon would be best for business travelers who communicate via email only. I need more general data transfer (web use) though, and for that it appears AT&T has the best data rates. 

I already have AT&T so I guess I'll just stick with that, but I still may not use it for international data. 

When I was in Jamaica a few years back I bought one of these data plans but unfortunately the phone (same iPhone I still have) didn't provide any realistic way of tracking data use (wifi and non-wifi data use recorded together so couldn't tell which data you were paying for vs. getting for free) so I went way over my limit and ended up with a huge bill on top of the plan. 

Anyway, just thinking out loud over the internet and thought I'd share in case anyone else was wondering the same thing. If I'm wrong, let me know! 

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.