AT&T launches new Passport international plans
AT&T has a new set of international plans, and while they'll still hit your wallet hard, they're an improvement of what came before. AT&T's new plans, dubbed Passport, Passport Plus, and Passport Pro (not to be confused with plans for the new BlackBerry Passport), bring the same data allotments, but at least offer easier billing international data packages than we've seen before from Ma Bell, though heavy users will still find themselves shelling over the big bucks.
All three new Passport plans offer unlimited messaging, including picture and video messaging (though the media itself will count against your data cap) and unlimited use of Wi-Fi at participating hotspots in select countries (AT&T calls out the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Mexico), which was previously limited to 1GB.
When it comes to cellular data, overages, and talk, here's how things stack out:
- Passport: 120MB data, $0.25/MB data overage, and $1.00/min talk for $30.
- Passport Plus: 300MB data, $0.20/MB data overage, and $0.50/min talk for $60.
- Passport Pro: 800MB data, $0.15/MB data overage, and $0.35/min talk for $120
The biggest change is possibly the addition of data overages. Whereas before hitting the limit on a plan would merely add another matching bucket (you go over 120MB on the lowest plan, you get charged another $30 and get another 120MB of data), now you're charged a per-MB overage fee. Thankfully, AT&T has calibrated these overage rates to match the per-MB cost of the plan, so you'll actually end up paying less in overages than you would have getting a whole new bucket (or two or three).
These plans are available as both a one-shot 30-day plan good for the duration of your trip and expiring after those 30 days elapse, or you can have them as a permanent part of your plan if you find yourself crossing borders on a frequent basis.
Source: AT&T (opens in new tab)
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.
Getting a local SIM card it a lot better idea. When I travel to Toronto, Rogers (ATT's Partner in this crime) days service is next to useless. Rather than credentialing you once with ATT they do it everytime your phone makes a data call. The resulting timeout means means you often can't get anything.