T-Mobile International Pass – What Are The Real Benefits?

T-Mobile is one of the mobile service carriers that has been making more strides when it comes to international coverage. One of the biggest problems though that we see people reporting is that there is a little bit of that fine print that you ought to read before you make any type of purchase. They come out and they say that they offer free texts and data to people who have Magenta, T-Mobile ONE, or a Simple Choice plan. That sounds great right? It is, we have a couple of articles that revolve around this topic, therefore we do have to say that it’s great that you can use data and text internationally. Don’t expect the type of coverage that you get locally. The T-Mobile international pass can bring different benefits. 

With most of the other service providers the international day pass is a way to essentially take “the same coverage” that you’re getting locally and applying abroad. It’s a good idea because you do get access to unlimited data. The T-Mobile International Pass is turning more into a way to be able to speed up the coverage that you’re able to get abroad. For some plans these passes are essentially the only way to get coverage. You’ll have different options to choose from depending on how much coverage you need and how much speed you are looking for. We are going to give you a run down of what you can get from a T-Mobile International Pass and then talk about whether or not booking one of these passes is actually worth it.  

What The T-Mobile International Pass Offers

  • International Pass: 512MB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 24 hours, for $5/day.
  • 5GB International Pass: 5GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 10 days, for $35.
  • 15GB International Pass: 15GB of high-speed data at up to LTE speeds and unlimited calling, to be used up to 30 days, for $50.


Do You Have To Buy A T-Mobile International Pass To Get International Coverage With Your Regular Phone? 

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To be fully honest with you this a little bit of a yes and no situation. We talked about how you’re going to be able to get unlimited data and texts with your regular Magenta plans and other plans that are offered by T-Mobile. If you have one of those plans that offer the unlimited data and texts there are two things that a T-Mobile International Pass is actually offering. That would be faster coverage and calls. If you want to make a lot of calls while you’re abroad those 5 dollars on the simple pass could make a lot of sense. We haven’t gotten to that yet though. 

If you don’t have one of these plans you have to check the eligibility of your plan. There is a chance that you won’t even be eligible to book an International Pass with prepaid phone plans. We’ll make another article exploring the options that you’d have as a prepaid plan subscriber when going abroad. If you can live with the 2G speeds that are offered for the unlimited texts and data abroad and you don’t need to make calls you can go on your trip without necessarily adding a T-Mobile International Pass.    

Why Getting A T-Mobile International Pass Makes Sense If You Need To Make A Lot Of Calls 

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If you are going to be making long calls or a considerable number of them in one day it totally makes sense to get the pass. Calls on your regular plan even with the unlimited texts and data are going to go for 0.25 cents a minute. With the least expensive T-Mobile International Pass you’re getting unlimited calls. If you have a call that lasts more than 20 minutes you’ll already eclipse what you would have paid without the pass and you get a little extra speed. Another one of the great benefits that you’ll have is that you can buy passes on the spot while abroad. You wake up one day and you realize that you need to make a call that may go long just make sure to activate the pass. 

When you look at it from the perspective on taking a longer vacation and having to put up 5 dollars a day to make calls it can certainly get harder and harder to try and justify the costs. What we always tell people though is that with phone coverage abroad planning ahead and essentially expecting the unexpected can help you save a ton of cash. Where most people go wrong when getting coverage abroad is trying to use their phones in the same manner as they would at home. If you want to be able to have that unlimited everything you can buy the most expensive pass and not change your habits. From our point of view that’s a little bit too much dough to give up. Most people would rather be a bit more cautious with their cell phone usage.   

Buying The T-Mobile International Pass For The Extra Speed

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This is one of the toughest instances that we’ve probably ever had to cover on the site. At the end of the day, what we try to do is give you facts so that you can ultimately make the decision that makes sense for you. In this case, there is one thing that we can’t deny. When you are used to having a phone that operates with 4G speeds as ultimately a minimum going back to 2G can seem like getting thrown back into the dark ages. It’s not just the fact that 2G is slow and you are used to something better. There is a good chance that your connection will constantly get timed out at 2G speeds. It can potentially be hard for you to keep getting texts every 2 seconds as you’re maybe used to. 

When you just take those things into account it can totally make sense to add more speed. Here is where this next question becomes very relevant. How much speed are you actually going to be adding to your phone if you buy the T-Mobile International Pass? The T-Mobile page makes it very clear that what you’re getting are LTE speeds. How fast is that really? In the best case scenario LTE speeds are considered 3.9G. You’ll be paying extra cash on a daily basis to be able to reach speeds that for many people are lower than the minimum speed that they are used to working with on a regular basis. Yet, there is no question that LTE speeds are much better than 2G. 

Where is the dilemma with speed? You’re not really guaranteed that you’ll be able to get full LTE speed coverage. There could be areas abroad where you’ll be getting no coverage at all. If you already booked the pass for the day just based on speed in the worse case scenario it would be like throwing a five dollar bill into the toilet. If you’re going to be abroad for a couple of days the medium tier option is a decent deal if you’re going for speed. You’ll be paying for 7 days of coverage and getting 10. Still in these cases, you should be very much on top of the amount of data that you’re using. If you use up the 5GB in just a couple of days the 10 day period really doesn’t matter. You’ll have to pay more if you want more speed.   

Buying A Local SIM Card Or The International Pass


Certainly we could say that both options bring different benefits to the table. Therefore, it can be really hard to pinpoint something as the best option for each and everyone of you that ever reads this article. Here is the situation though, in most countries you are going to be able to get a decent SIM card with potentially 4G coverage for right around 30 dollars. In some places you can get coverage for less of course. That 30 dollar range is a good average though. With the pass that type of money is only going to get you 10 days or 5GB of “high speed data”. This high speed data is going to be slower than a local 4G or 5G network. Let’s look at the flipside though. 

If you go out and buy a SIM card you’ll have to give your contacts, at least the important ones a new phone. Some people may be trying to reach at your regular number and find that you’re not available. If you go with the coverage that your regular provider is offering you keep your phone and you don’t have to go through a SIM switch. Even though technology has evolved and a SIM switch these days not equal data loss necessarily it is something that can happen. Particularly if you don’t have a good backup for your data in the cloud.      

There are a couple of things that you can’t deny. If you are looking for faster coverage the local SIM card is going to be the best option out there. Direct connection to the local network is typically going to work much better than having to bounce off a couple of places to get coverage with your regular number. Keeping your number though makes things much easier in general. For a lot of people having to do a SIM switch is something that scares them. We feel that it shouldn’t get to that point, but we understand where they can be coming from.

Real Benefits Of The T-Mobile International Pass

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To this point we pretty much covered all of the tangible benefits that the pass really does bring to the table. When it comes to speed the problem that we have is that the coverage in the country may not be reliable enough to where the “extra speed” can be guaranteed. As we mentioned recently, if they can’t guarantee the speed then it’s like throwing money down the drain. This is a concern though that we would say is more relevant when you’re traveling to a remote location. For example, if you’re traveling to a place like India there’s a good chance you’ll get great coverage in some of the main cities. If you venture off into remote locations you’re going to have a bit more trouble. One of the problems is you may think the country is on the list so I’m guaranteed great coverage. That maybe isn’t the case   

Also, no one can deny the fact that if you need your phone to make calls while abroad the T-Mobile International Pass is going to be a worthy investment. Particularly if you are only getting the low tier option that doesn’t offer a lot of high speed data. It’s a good deal because even in the low tier option you’re getting unlimited calls. Plus, you still have the unlimited 2G data and texts. It could be just a couple of days that you need to use the pass. If you sprinkle an added cost of 5 dollars here and there on your trip things won’t seem too bad. 

Final Verdict On The T-Mobile International Pass  

T-Mobile is really putting in the effort to try and help people keep their regular coverage even while they are abroad. We talk a lot about the fact that 2G speeds are incredibly slow. There is hope though that things will get better in the future. Many of its competitors are trying to see what they can do to be able to offer even the 2G unlimited texts and data that T-Mobile is bringing to the table. We certainly feel that they should be commended for that. As far as the pass itself it’s worth it for some people in specific situations. We talked about paying 5 dollars for unlimited calls with your regular number. That’s not bad for one day or maybe up to 3. 

There is certainly room for improvement. We get the feeling that we are headed to improvement in the coming years. For now, buying the pass just for speed can get a bit costly. Particularly because in some cases T-Mobile can’t really guarantee that you’ll get the LTE speeds all the time. If you’re a T-Mobile customer one of the good things is that you can literally go abroad try out the 2G unlimited texts and data and decide on the spot what you want to. Whether that be buying a SIM card or getting the T-Mobile International Pass.