AT&T's new International Data Pass will ease roaming burdens for some customers, but with a few caveats
AT&T is making international cheaper. On Monday, the carrier announced International Day Pass, a per-day subscription that will ostensibly reduce the cost of overseas data, calls, and texts for some subscribers.
It will work just like an extension of your domestic plan. For $10 a day, you will get 24-hour access to AT&T’s affiliate networks around the globe — including unlimited data, texts, and calls. Benefits are available whenever you travel in more than 100 countries, including the U.K., France, Italy, China, India, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Central, and South America.
“Traveling has its own challenges. It’s great being able to use the domestic plan you’re familiar with while abroad,” AT&T Entertainment Group’s chief marketing officer David Christoper said. “AT&T International Day Pass simplifies travelers’ lives so they can enjoy more of their favorite mobile apps when on-the-go overseas. This helps with booking lodging, catching a ride, translating, navigating, video calling, using social media and more.
International Data Pass effectively replaces AT&T’s long-in-the-tooth Passport, which started at $40 a month for 200MB of data. It’s a better deal, needless to say, but there’s fine print to worry about. The carrier warned that users who exceed 50 percent of the plan for two consecutive months are subject to having day pass privileges revoked. And it specified that plans are sold per device, meaning that subscribers in a family plan will need to buy passes separately and watch for the collective data consumption.
It’s in line with the competition, to be fair. Sprint’s International Speed Data Roaming day pass provides 100MB of unrestricted data, unlimited texting, and 20 cents per minute calling in countries covered by the carrier’s Global Roaming agreement. T-Mobile, meanwhile, offers free high-speed data, unlimited texts, and calling in more than 100 countries. Verizon offers a $10 a day TravelPass including talk, text, and data in more than 100 countries.
Which plan’s the better deal depends on where you travel. T-Mobile’s Mobile Without Borders benefit offers unlimited talk, text, and high-speed data in both Mexico and Canada at no additional charge. Verizon offers a $2-a-day package that gives you access to your plan’s domestic features with no roaming charges. Sprint’s Canada and Mexico Data pack starts at $30 for 55MB.
Also, there is an even cheaper option: Swapping your phone’s SIM card for an international carrier, like Vodafone in the U.K. or Orange in France. Generally speaking, local SIMs charge 10 percent or less per megabyte than the travel plan from most domestic carriers. If you are bound for a long-term international stay, consider following our handy guide to get started.