Verizon Wireless Enters the Free International Messaging Game

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As someone who is constantly on the road, I need to keep in touch wherever I am in the world. I thrive on connectivity and I make sure to keep a keen eye on my cell phone usage while traveling abroad, since as we all know, high charges can pile up on your bill faster than you can say ‘4G LTE’. That holds true even when using your phone within the US to call or text abroad. Instead of included minutes and texts, you can end up paying up to $4 a minute for talking and usually about 50 cents per text you send, which can add up fast.

Recently, T-Mobile announced unlimited global roaming roaming plans, and while I hoped that would get other carriers to introduce competitive plans, so far the response has been lackluster. Case in point: Verizon’s new “More Everything” plans.

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These plans offer more data, cloud utilization and,unlimited international messaging (including text and multimedia) – but only when texting international numbers from the US, and it does not include international data, which is usually the largest chunk of my bill when traveling abroad, but it’s still helpful for those of us who prefer to communicate with others via text when away.

As I said, we’ve seen more comprehensive international plans from T-Mobile, who is aggressively trying to poach customers from other carriers. However, given that their coverage in major cities is limited and data when roaming internationally are at slow 2GS speeds, I was not jumping at a chance to switch carriers just for the international capabilities.

As for Verizon’s new international feature, it’s pretty disappointing. Not only do you still need to pay sky-high fees for international roaming, but the international text feature is just for use in the US to text numbers in other countries. You still need to pay for international data with the Global Data Feature of $25/100MB  (comparable to AT&T’s at $30/120MB, and free with T-Mobile).

Weighing the options of the networks for international travel, T-Mobile still looks like a better choice solely in terms of unlimited data. However, you sacrifice data speed abroad and good coverage while in the US. Verizon is inching towards toward cheaper international plans though you’ll still have to pay for data. AT&T has essentially the same pricing scheme at Verizon, though you pay for messaging with rates between $0.10-$0.20/text sent depending on the plan you pay, and Sprint is hands down the most expensive at $0.50/text and $80 for 85MB, which seems absurd given that Verizon and AT&T are under $35 for 100MB.

While I’m disappointed by the limitations of these new plans, I do intend to keep Verizon as my network of choice with the hopes that the network leans in the direction of T-Mobile and making all international data part of a low, bundled fee. Are you a Verizon customer? What are your thoughts on this new feature?

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