Monday, November 10, 2014

Living Abroad - Decisions & Dilemmas: Mobile Phones and International Travel

Some of our friends have asked about the plans and decisions we made before selling our house and car and moving out of the US. So we started writing down the kinds of decisions we had to make and what we found out. We thought we would add some of the things we discovered and the decisions and dilemmas we dealt with.

We don't know what we don't know until we ask questions of ourselves and our environment. Here is Ray's take on the technical issues of cellular or hand phones:

Interesting how important mobile phones have become to all of us. Without them we feel like we are cut off from our friends and the companies we do business with. Traveling overseas can be a real problem when trying to keep in touch.

Pat and I had service with AT&T for many years. I didn't want to change carriers, primarily because I had been with them long enough that my data portion remained unlimited, having been grandfathered in. I have talked to several people that remain with AT&T because of their grandfathered, unlimited data plans. Guess what! We changed and don't regret it at all.

While we were in Charlotte, planning our move to Singapore, Tom told me about talking to T-Mobile and that I should go see them. I did. I cancelled our AT&T service and paid the penalties for early termination and paid off the phones. I took our existing phone numbers with us to T-Mobile and that change happened before I left the T-Mobile store. Oh, and our total bill went down!

We now have no roaming charges when we travel the world, including unlimited data. If we are somewhere with wifi, calls and texts to, and from the U.S. are free! Otherwise, the cost is $0.20/minute. That is also the cost of calls to/from non-U.S. numbers. One of the best advantages is that my data applications I rely on work every where with no additional costs. I don't have to turn off my email, texting and other apps, just because I am not in the U.S..