T-Mobile’s global data reality: customers satisfied with 2G roaming

T-Mobile’s global data reality: customers satisfied with 2G roaming
One of T-Mobile’s bolder “un-carrier” moves was the implementation of free global data roaming to over 100 countries. Even though the data speeds were 2G, the fact that it didn’t cost any extra was a huge move.

There are options with T-Mobile to get faster data while roaming, $15 for 100MB in a day, $25 for 200MB for a week, and $50 for 500MB over two weeks. It seems no one is buying that faster data.

According to T-Mobile’s Executive Vice President of B2B, Drew Kelton, less than 1% of customers that are roaming internationally are buying the faster data options, and just keeping with the standard fare that comes with the Simple Global feature introduced last October. “It tells us we should only pay for what we need,” said Kelton at a conference earlier this week. Despite whatever grumblings some customers may have had with the 128kbps EDGE speeds, the feature is clearly a success.

Since T-Mobile introduced Simple Global, more than 2 million customers have roamed using the feature. That constituted a 28-times increase in data usage. Calling is available at a flat rate of 20 cents per minute, and users called three times more often. T-Mobile’s global roaming is a hit, as many things are when they don’t cost extra.

sources: Light Reading via FierceWireless



1. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Hinting at uncarrier 5.0 being raising the throttle speeds?

9. ECPirate37

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

I used this when I recently traveled to England, Scotland, Finland, Estonia, and Denmark. With the 2G speed (which like NexuaPhan was closer to 3G speeds most places. However I did notice a lag with loading websites), I was still able to use the Google Navigation, and I was able to make phone calls using Viber and FacebookMessenger. I tried to buy the 4G speed while in London, and it billed me. But it kept me on the 2G speed. I contacted T-Mobile and they walked me through the setup again. And still 2G. They ended up crediting it to me. I'm wondering if others had this problem, and that might skew the number lower.

2. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

FYI. The data speeds are 3G in a ton of countries. Was just all over Europe for 3 months. I always had 3G speeds. It was waaay fast than 128kpbs. I'm guessing T-Mobile has different agreements with different carriers and they don't want to make a promise of 3G if's only 3G in select countries.

4. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

That's exactly what I've been saying. It's getting annoying now correcting all these damn articles which spread misconception. Nowhere in the fine print does it say 2G. What it does mention in the fine print is that generally you should EXPECT 2G speeds (128 kbps) and it's simply because not every country has 4G, or even 3G set up, so they can't promise you 4G and then you go to a country with only 2G and then you'd b****. There have been plenty of people reporting they've been getting 4G Lte in some countries, and UNLIMITED of it!! Very few parts of Europe have 4G, as is my understanding, so it's quite clear you'd mostly be getting 3G, which is exactly what you did. I'm glad that yet another user knows the facts and not the bs hearsay.

7. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

I know i use it in mexico i go to Mexico every 2 months , roaming under movistar it is 128 kbps, on telcel which is like the Verizon of mexico cuz it has 3G coverage literally everywhere speed is much faster than 128 kbps, no need to buy the speed boost on telcel cuz speed were 2-4 mbps which is decent for fb,email etc..

14. perezrule

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 05, 2014

how did you make it to connect to Telcel. I only can connect to Movistar.

8. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Hell 128 Kbps was around my speeds on Sprint in Seattle last year before we left them for AT&T. On a daily basis I only had speeds of 50-200 Kbps on their 3G EVDO network being that there was no LTE to be found. So even if it was 128 Kbps it's worth the free cost T-Mobile customers are paying. :)

11. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

In Alaska T-Mobile roams on 4G on GCI (throttled to about 2mbps), while AT&T will only let you get 2G speeds so it does depend on the carrier.

12. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

we are talking international roaming...

13. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Alaska is a wholly different country...

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

This kind of competition is why both U.S. DoJ and FCC are not going to allow Son-boy to acquire T-Mo. Increasingly, I am thinking that Son-boy is needing to acquire T-Mo to recover from a bad decision to acquire Sprint. A bad decision on Son-boys part should not result in less competition for the rest of us.

5. joe1blue

Posts: 169; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:Not allow Softbank/Sprint to buy and/or merge with T-Mobile. It will create job loss, and less competition. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/not-allow-softbanksprint-buy-andor-merge-t-mobile-it-will-create-job-loss-and-less-competition/fgMjkRvY

6. drazwy

Posts: 354; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

The vast majority of the time when I go somewhere and I can't get Tmo, i'm not getting ANY signal from anyone that is over 2g so it doesn't matter. Anything 3g and under isn't even worth trying to use so I just put the phone away. Speaking of throttling. I don't have throttle issues anymore as I'm unlimited, but when they did throttle you, it's so slow, they might as well just cut you off like the other carriers. At their throttle, it's so slow you can't even bring up a google search page. It's amazingly slow.

10. scsa852k

Posts: 331; Member since: Oct 16, 2012

Although it's only 2G speed, you can still run most of the messaging apps, which IMO is most important these days. The fact that you can use WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Kakao, Line, etc. outside of Wi-Fi zone overseas at no extra cost is definitely a huge perk for those who travel a lot.

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