T-Mobile just made an announcement that starting on Oct. 31, 2013 most of its customers will automatically get unlimited data and texting in more than 100 countries worldwide at no extra charge. In addition, voice calls will be discounted to a flat rate of 20 cents per minute when roaming in the same countries.
What does this mean for apps like Voxox?
This is actually great news for messaging apps like Voxox because having more operators (aka carriers) with affordable international data plans means that our users can get more out of their Voxox plans.
As an OTT app, Voxox offers free Voxox-to-Voxox calls, and when calling non-Voxox numbers worldwide, our users actually pay up to 10 times less than T-Mobile’s newly discounted global rates. (Many of the destinations on our rate list are less than 2 pennies per minute of talk time.) So, with a free unlimited international data plan like T-Mobile’s, our users can take advantage of VoIP and communicate anywhere they happen to be with even fewer constraints than before.
In fact, having more and more operators focus on bettering their international data plans and services ultimately means that more Voxox users will be able to save money and stay better connected while traveling abroad.
For example, AT&T also has a competitive international data plan that makes it easy to use Voxox around the globe. AT&T’s international data plans start at $30 for 120MB. As long as you’re not going too crazy with checking your Facebook and email (pro tip: turn these off until you need them, so there are no surprises), this plan should be plenty to make all the calls you need via VoIP, as well as sending any texts you may need to send, and then some. And the nice thing about using an app like Voxox is that you don’t need to mess with a new SIM card or creating new prepaid accounts for every country you visit– you can just use your same phone number and make calls as you wish. (Now there’s that highly touted savings and convenience of Voxox in action!)
How do different operators’ international data plans compare?
Here’s a quick comparison table of international data plans that major U.S. operators AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon currently offer as their least expensive options with the most countries covered. Some of the operators below have additional plan options that include fewer countries and/or a higher data allowance (with a higher monthly charge). And there are various caveats, of course. For a full overview, you can visit each operator’s website linked below.
|Description||Monthly Data Allowance (lowest cost international data plans - global)||Monthly Charge (added to current plan cost)||Number of Countries/Territories||Usage Overage Rate per MB|
pooled domestic and international
included in existing monthly plans starting at $50/mo
So, how much bandwidth do you need to make a VoIP call?
All these numbers can be a bit confusing when you’re just trying to figure out how much mobile data usage to budget for on your trip. AT&T has a handy calculator that you can use to see just how much mobile data you might need to cover you on your trip. Once you know how much bandwidth you’re likely to use for checking email, Internet browsing, etc., you can approximate how much bandwidth you should factor in for your communication apps for travel while abroad. With Voxox, to make a VoIP call over a mobile data connection, you’d need roughly:
384 KB per minute
3.8 MB every 10 minutes
23 MB every 60 minutes
Based on the chart above, if you plan out your overall mobile Internet usage well, you can communicate comfortably.
How Voxox can help international travelers
As you can see by the figures in the international data plans chart above, the ability to stay connected to the Internet while traveling abroad can be expensive. According to T-Mobile’s press release, “Americans take about 55 million trips to destinations outside the U.S. every year. When U.S. customers use their phones abroad the way they normally do at home, their costs often total $1,000 a day or more. So more than 40 percent of customers turn off data roaming completely. Another 20 percent more say they would if they knew how.”
This is where Voxox helps to ease the financial burden when you need to make calls, send text messages, etc. Sometimes you can get away with simply using a free Wi-Fi connection on your mobile along with Voxox to make calls and send texts while abroad, without even having to spend money on an international data plan at all. But not everyone has this flexibility, so it’s good to know that T-Mobile’s got our back, and good to see other operators continuing to focus on making their international data plans more accessible and affordable.