Verizon's Much Improved International Plan

Our company generally uses Verizon over other wireless carriers as it is almost always the only  wireless service we can reach in the very rural locations we operate.  But the one thing I have been critical of Verizon (and AT&T) in the past has been their international plans.  Even when paying for the plans, the rates were awful (50 cents per text, and $10 got something like 10MB or something equally pathetic amount of data).  For years I kept a T-Mobile phone, and later a Google Fi phone, in reserve as my international phone.  Sometimes I rented one of those international data cellular modems or smart phone with a sim card for the local country so I paid local non-roaming rates, but this was a hassle and still expensive.

Well, this has all changed, likely due to competition from T-Mobile and others.  Verizon now has a plan that for $10 a day, one can roam internationally and have access to all the same data, text, and talk limits and rates as in their domestic plan.  In other words, travelling international ly is basically seamless now with only a $10 upcharge per day.  And this is not one of those things you have to remember to go into the website to turn on just before the trip and then turn off.  The $10 is billed in any day Verizon sees you use the phone out of the country, otherwise there is no charge.  Our family also has this feature on some of our ipads and on my aircard.

This is simply an enormous improvement over the past, and while $10 a day is real money, it is trivial compared to the other costs of travelling internationally and historic costs of international roaming.

I still like Google Fi, but it is still dependent on domestic cellular networks that are inferior to Verizon's, at least as far as I am concerned spending a lot of time in the boondocks.


  1. Christopher Udy:

    I'd love that. Except, I live pretty close to the US/Canada border. There are times (usually at my parents house, which is less than 1/2 mile from Canada) where walking from the living room to the kitchen will move me from the AT&T network to the Rogers Communications (Canada) network... I'd spend a boatload of time complaining and asking to have those $10 charges reversed.

  2. Mike Powers:

    This is what the private market does.

    If the government had handled this, Verizion would have been mandated by law to charge the same amount for international calls as it does for domestic...and charge according to a negotiated rate schedule that, somehow, doubles the cost of domestic calls while providing a ten-percent reduction in the cost of international calls. Oh, and everyone in the country is required to be a Verizon subscriber or face tax penalties.

  3. ErikTheRed:

    It's only $2/day for Canada and Mexico. I spend a lot of time near the US/Mexico border (customers literally within rock throwing distance) and I've had concerns about this becoming an issue because my phone does roam into Mexican cells ... but so far it hasn't been a problem. What I do is disable International roaming except for when I actually leave the country. I have yet to see an extra charge.

  4. ErikTheRed:

    Yeah, this has been in place for over a year now, and it's much cheaper in Canada and Mexico ($2 per day IIRC). I was deeply suspicious when they announced this plan, but it does work exactly as advertised. I've used it for several weeks in several different countries - even one instance where I roamed through four countries in one day - and haven't had any issues with billing.

  5. Ward Chartier:

    Sometimes I travel internationally for an extended time and I am a Verizon customer. I've used Verizon's international plan on a few occasions and there were no surprises. More and more I'm using platforms like WeChat, Line, and WhatsApp for messaging and VoIP phone calls. At least one of these has a feature allowing calls to phone numbers at a reasonable cost. With these platforms I only need enough GB of data to keep my telecom spending at reasonable levels. It helps that the urban areas I visit often have ways of finding free wifi.

  6. kidmugsy:

    Amazingly, a similar problem can arise on the south coast of England. The network decides you are in France.

  7. marque2:

    Wow 10 bucks a day vs free roaming in these same countries with T-mobile. What a bargain. I think I'll make the jump to Verizon, since I have too much money.

    What is really nice about T-mobile, when it detects you, or someone you talk to are in another country, you get instantly texted with the rates for texting and talk to and from that country. Drive close to the Mexican border for instance, and you get a text welcoming you to Mexico, and your calls are still free. When a friend went to China, I got a text 20 cents per minute, and texts free ...

  8. marque2:

    T-mobile has free calling in Mexico and Canada.

  9. Matthew Slyfield:

    My family's experience has been that the most reliable connection in rural areas of Wisconsin is US Cellular.

  10. Rick C:

    "Wow 10 bucks a day vs free roaming in these same countries with T-mobile. What a bargain."

    It's pretty well known--Warren even mentioned it in this very post--that Verizon has the most rural coverage in the US. Get out of the cities and highways and there's plenty of places your T-Mobile phone won't get signal.

  11. ToddF:

    Unlike my WalMart phone, the wife's Verizon phone can have its SIM flipped out. Bass ackwards from what I figured it would be.

    You really don't need to spend the $10. Just get a SIM and a prepaid plan at the airport of your destination.

  12. Dave A:

    Another option is to enable wifi calling on your phone, and only make/receive calls internationally when you're on wifi. This works a surprising amount of time, depending on the kind of travel you do. Then if you find yourself out of wifi range and need a call, simply turn on cellular and pay $10 for that day.

  13. marque2:

    Right, but he is talking about international calls. And Verizon is CDMA which is not supported anywhere but the US, T-Mobile is GSM, so there is an excellent chance, in Europe, especially where LTE is not as prevalent that you will be able to get a call through with T-Mobile and AT&T even though all the bands don't match. No such luck with Verizon, probably should get a junk phone in Europe and buy a local sim, instead of paying for Verizon, which would also be much cheaper than 300 bucks a month for Verizon non-service.

  14. ladyhawk:

    In Canada I have this same deal with Rogers, but for $5 a day for the first 10 days, after which the rest of the month is free. I thought it was overpriced till i read this post.

  15. ladyhawk:

    Which company? I use Rogers which gives me roaming for $5 per day for the first ten days, and free for the rest of the month.

  16. ErikTheRed:

    Verizon. $2 per day (24-hour period that starts when you roam into that country). Automatically turns on and off as needed.