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T-Mobile has been a long-time favorite for data and voice services while abroad without needing to buy a new SIM card for each country you visit. Indeed, customers can get unlimited 2G data and texting in 210 international countries at no extra cost through T-Mobile’s Simple Global plan.

But, if you use significant voice or data while roaming abroad, trouble may lie ahead. Multiple customers on T-Mobile ONE and T-Mobile ONE Plus plans recently received a text message stating the following from T-Mobile:

The majority of the last two months of T-Mobile usage on line xxxxxxxxxx has been roaming internationally. If this line continues to roam extensively abroad over the next month, the use will violate our terms and conditions, and your roaming usage will be blocked on September 25 2018. See details:

Based on the information at the link provided, T-Mobile defines excessive roaming as “using more than 50% of your voice or data off-network for an extended period of time.”

To T-Mobile’s credit, a clause similar to the current clause that explicitly disallows usage of your device that “results in more than 50% of your voice and/or data usage being Off-Net (i.e., connected to another provider’s network) for any 2 billing cycles within any 12-month period” has been present in T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions since June 28, 2008. Most cell phone providers have a similar clause in their Terms and Conditions — T-Mobile is simply choosing to enforce it.

So, if you use a T-Mobile ONE plan frequently abroad, what can you do?

  • Buy a SIM card with data and/or voice in countries where you’ll use significant data and/or voice
  • Use data and/or voice excessively while in the US to improve your on-network vs off-network ratio
  • Ditch T-Mobile and switch to another carrier (like Google Project Fi)

Google Project Fi is Brian Kelly’s one must have travel accessory. I can personally vouch for it as well, as TPG‘s JT Genter and I have used it extensively without problems for the last 13 months we’ve lived mostly abroad. Since you pay for data no matter where you use Google Project Fi, you shouldn’t receive any text messages about using too much overseas data.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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