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Comparing T-Mobile's Tourist plan with Roam Mobility

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image by GotCredi used under Creative Commons License

Image by GotCredi used under Creative Commons License

I received a handful of emails asking me to company the new T-Mobile Tourist plan with the Roam Mobility talk+text+data plans.

For $US30, T-mobile gives you:

  • a single use disposable SIM (valid for 21 days)
  • 1000 minutes of local USA calling
  • 2GB of high speed LTE data
  • Unlimited international text messaging to 140 countries

For $CAD4.95 a day, Roam Mobility gives you:

  • a reusable SIM (expires after 6 months without a plan)
  • unlimited nationwide calling (USA) and Canada
  • Unlimited international text messaging to 140 countries
  • ~400MB of LTE Data a day 

What happens when your SIM expires

With the T-Mobile and Roam Mobility plan, when the SIM expires, you lose your assigned number and need to get a new one. T-Mobile give you one free with their plan while Roam Mobility charges you $CAD9.99 per SIM.

Data usage

Both companies give you unlimited data over 2G and limit the quantity of LTE data provided. T-Mobile gives you 2GB to use anyway you want. You can use all the data in the first week and then end up stuck with low speed 2G for the remainder of your trip. The only way to get more LTE data is to buy a new plan.

Roam Mobility allocates about 400MB of LTE per day of service purchased. If you buy 21 days of service (3 weeks like T-Mobile), you get 8.4GB of data. If you manage to consume it, you drop to unlimited 2G data. 

Neither service gives you the option of adding additional LTE data capacity easily but the Roam allocation should be more than adequate for 98% of users.

What about WIFI Hotspots like a Mifi

 

T-Mobile will allow you to use your SIM in an unlocked WIFI hotspot but you will likely consume your LTE data allocation in no time. The Roam Mobility service isn't built for this type of use but they do allow you to enable the Hotpost function on your smartphone.

Calling from the USA to Canada

T-Mobile does not provide any international calling in the existing tourist plan. Roam Mobility gives you unlimited calling back to Canada.

Calling from USA to International locations

Neither providers allow you to make international calls. You will have to rely on VOIP type solutions (Skype, Hangouts, Facetime, etc).

Conclusion

Neither solution is perfect but I believe the Roam Mobility solution is still a better value.

I am also testing the KnowRoaming service but their current unlimited $7.99 data package is limited to 3G and relies on T-Mobile's older, slower, less reliable non LTE-network.