I’m in the market for the lowest-price, unlimited data cellular plan that works internationally at no additional cost. It’s time to revisit my service to make sure I’m getting the best deal.
I’ve had my current phone plan, Google Fi Flexible, for almost a year, and it’s incredibly inexpensive and easy to use. However, it does not have unlimited data, so I pay $10 per gigabyte (GB), or fraction thereof. My base costs are $20 for unlimited talk and text. My total comes out to about $25 with taxes and fees before data.
Generally, metered data isn’t an issue because I work remotely and am on WiFi about 80-90% of the time. I only have a problem when I have to travel and can’t connect to a secure network. My last long trip resulted in more than double my normal data usage, and my bill was $72. On average, my statement is $37, which includes several months where credits canceled out my charges. The Google Fi Unlimited plan starts at $70 per month.
If I stop working remotely full-time or increase my travel, an unlimited plan that works internationally is the ideal solution. Currently, Google Fi operates in over a hundred countries by switching to the local cell towers. I used it when I visited Europe last year without needing data unless I was sending photos to an iPhone.
T-Mobile has a similar international setup, and it offers WiFi calling. Google Fi is essentially the same network with the same perks, but T-Mobiles services will work on my iPhone. Google Fi works best with Android phones, so not all functions work on my phone. T-Mobile’s Essential unlimited plan for one phone is $65 without autopay, plus $4 for voicemail transcription, with international capability. I could save $5 by using autopay, but it still doesn’t seem more affordable long-term. I already have the transcription service included and cheaper rates internationally. Taxes and fees would have me paying my highest bill consistently.
Sprint’s Essential plan is $60 per month and includes Hulu. I currently only pay $1.11 per month for Hulu, so that doesn’t help me. It only plays video in standard definition (SD) and will degrade service in congested areas. Its mobile hotspot is limited to 500 megabytes which is an odd amount for an unlimited plan. This plan sounds like it’s secretly a metered plan and Sprint hopes you won’t notice.
AT&T’s lowest unlimited plan is $70 per month with autopay and after two billing cycles. It has unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada, but it streams in SD and also meters for congestion. It offers live television, but I don’t watch TV enough to justify paying over $70 every month. As the most expensive so far, this is at the very bottom of the list.
Verizon’s unlimited plan pricing is similar to AT&T’s. However, Verizon is also promoting a metered data plan comparable to Google Fi’s. It offers unlimited talk and text, plus two GB of data for $35. The drawbacks are you have to add international functions, every additional GB is $15, and you need to lease a new phone for an additional $20 per month. I was interested in switching at first, but it doesn’t fit my criteria.
Based on my research, I have the most affordable plan for my needs. I can manage my data usage to keep my statement balance low, especially when traveling. There is WiFi for everything else.