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T-Mobile International data warning!

Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#1
I've been using and recommending T-Mobile to those going on Camino and other international travelers for years, since it has been working so well for me. However I just got this "warning" from T-Mobile:

"The majority of the last two months of T-Mobile usage on line XXXXXXX 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 October 22 2018. See details: t-mo.co/roaming"

I didn't spend any more time abroad this year than in the past two years, however I may have used data much more this time for a couple of reasons:

I used an app with mapping a lot this time, and I tended to just use my data rather than connect to wifi because it's a hassle to ask for wifi codes all the time, and often the wifi was poor anyway. And something that's really annoying is that a T-Mobile rep suggested that I pay a little extra for the One Plus plan so that I could have faster wifi, and the ability to make my phone into a hotspot while abroad. So there I am with my faster data or crappy wifi, of course I'm going to use the data!

So, Googling around a bit, it seems that it's not really the amount of data that I used abroad, but the fact that the ratio of roaming to domestic data was so high. So I think that the best thing to do is to turn off my wifi, and use data exclusively while I'm at home, so that I can tip the ratio. So, other T-Mobile users be aware of this. Only use your data when you have to when you're on the Camino, and perhaps try to use your data more than wifi at home.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Nov 11, 2016
#3
Still the best data plan in the US. My daughter moved to Canada and she got the same warning. Which made me call customer service and they basically said boiler plate message, but to better use WiFi when possible. They just throttle speed after a while.
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#4
I too got T-mobile with the international upgrade. It worked well for me on the camino frances and in Paris for my 6 week trip. I was very happy with it but I'm disappointed to hear of the warning letter and restrictions you have come across.

The Marketing Message: ... it's for traveling abroad, not living abroad....then they change to, it's not for extended travel abroad...and then even more restrictive below, basically they give you two weeks abroad after which they can limit or cancel your service. I can see this loophole as a way out of a contract in the future. Two weeks abroad is a business trip, not travel.

The Fine Print...buried in terms and conditions:
"If more than half of your monthly voice, text, and/or data usage is on an international provider’s network for a billing cycle, you may get a warning. If the majority of your usage continues on an international provider’s network, we may limit or cancel your service as described in our Terms and Conditions".
 

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Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#7
This past August, I got the same message and warning from t-Mobile after being in Spain for a month. I was there for six weeks in total. However, the message came one-month and one day after my arrival in Spain.

I was working as a Pilgrim Office volunteer at Santiago the entire time. My use was confined to internet search & e-mail, downloading updated apps, and helping pilgrims find places using maps. In retrospect, I DID over-rely on my 'free' data plan even when I had free Wi-Fi present. To make free phone calls over Face Time Audio, I would go to San Martin Pinario, buy a coffee and sit in the large lounge, as they have excellent and free Wi-Fi.

My assessment, based on my experience and those reported above is that t-Mobile likely has a computer program that looks at your dates of roaming and data usage. AFTER one month of constant roaming, and if most or all of your usage is foreign, you get the canned message. This makes sense from all the reporting above.

In my case, I had some 19 GB in my data stash, accumulated from the past year. My 5 GB monthly data plan is about 2 GB larger than I need at home, so the excess 'snowballs" into the data stash. So, logically, I presumed that using it was okay.

Apparently, it is okay, at least for less than a month. Once you go over the month, they remind you, sternly, that this program is intended for casual overseas use, like on a business trip or typical vacation. It is not intended for folks actually 'living' overseas.

So, my takeaway is to continue as before, but be aware they are watching you and will jump in after a month of sustained roaming use. I must presume that they KNOW when you are using free Wi-Fi and when you are using t-Mobile data. Ergo, those of us who use this, still outstanding, cell phone data plan and provider, must be slightly more clever when doing so.

My assessment is that this feature has gotten so popular that some folks may be using it when they are expating or snowbirding overseas. I would...

Hope this helps.
 

ddraver

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Newbie (Nov, 18)
#9
For what It's worth. I'm on ID - the Carphone Warehouse network - the covereage in rural UK isnt the best but I basically got a huge data pack (20GB for 20 GBP/month) and I ve been living in Holland for the past 6 weeks with no bother (...yet). I had about 2 months in the UK before that.

I work winter seasons too and many seasonairs like '3'
 

tominrm

Hiking to Celebrate the End of Working Life.
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2014)
del Norte ( 2015)
Portuguese ( 2016)
Primitivo ( 2017)
VdlP (2018)
#10
I am going to Japan in 10 days, and because of the recommendations from this board I decided switch to T-Mobile service in a few days. I wonder how my trip will affect my account because I will roam 3-4 days after activating my account.

By the way, I am going to Kumano Kodo to hike (Dual Pilgrim) but I am not sure if it will happen. Osaka Kansai Airport(KIX) was hit badly by typhoon 21 on Sept. 4 and has been basically closed and started operating in very limited capacity. Not certain when it will operate near full capacity.
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/photo/AS20180912003214.html
Nakahechi Train, which is the most popular trail in Kumano Kodo, had a few landslides and blocked in several location requiring detours. As of today I do not think it is passable without extensive detour in many places. If anyone plans to go there need to check with local sites before making arrangements.
http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/kumano-kodo/nakahechi/
 
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
#11
If your contract is with an EU country then they expect you to use greater than 50% of your allowance at home averaged over 4 months. Then they will write to you and give 14 days notice before they surcharge. If you use your phone a lot before you go on the Camino you have approx 10 week's worth of roaming at your home tarrif.

The general rule is that as long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad, you can roam at domestic prices when travelling wherever in the EU. This is considered a fair use of roaming services.

If this is not the case, your mobile operator may contact you. Operators can detect possible abuses based on the balance of roaming and domestic activity over a fourmonth period: if you spend a majority of your time abroad and consume more abroad than at home over the four months, the operator can ask you to clarify the situation within 14 days. If you continue roaming more than you are at home, your operator may start applying a small charge to your roaming consumption. This will be capped at 3.2 cents per minute of voice call and 1 cent per SMS. For data, the maximum surcharge will be €7.7 per GB (as of 15 June 2017), falling to €6 per GB (as of 1 January 2018), €4.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2019), €3.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2020), €3 per GB (as of 1 January 2021) and finally €2.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2022).
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Coast - March 2019
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
March 2019 the Portugal Coastal Route
#12
When I have walked the Camino and the Coast to Coast in England I left my phone in airplane mode so I would not have to answer it. I used it for specifically taking photos while walking and at night if we had Wi-Fi I would make my calls over Facebook.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#13
I've been using and recommending T-Mobile to those going on Camino and other international travelers for years, since it has been working so well for me. However I just got this "warning" from T-Mobile:

"The majority of the last two months of T-Mobile usage on line XXXXXXX 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 October 22 2018. See details: t-mo.co/roaming"

I didn't spend any more time abroad this year than in the past two years, however I may have used data much more this time for a couple of reasons:

I used an app with mapping a lot this time, and I tended to just use my data rather than connect to wifi because it's a hassle to ask for wifi codes all the time, and often the wifi was poor anyway. And something that's really annoying is that a T-Mobile rep suggested that I pay a little extra for the One Plus plan so that I could have faster wifi, and the ability to make my phone into a hotspot while abroad. So there I am with my faster data or crappy wifi, of course I'm going to use the data!

So, Googling around a bit, it seems that it's not really the amount of data that I used abroad, but the fact that the ratio of roaming to domestic data was so high. So I think that the best thing to do is to turn off my wifi, and use data exclusively while I'm at home, so that I can tip the ratio. So, other T-Mobile users be aware of this. Only use your data when you have to when you're on the Camino, and perhaps try to use your data more than wifi at home.
B
Still the best data plan in the US. My daughter moved to Canada and she got the same warning. Which made me call customer service and they basically said boiler plate message, but to better use WiFi when possible. They just throttle speed after a while.
we experienced the T-mobile speed throttling pretty quickly while on the Camino. We had a t-mobile sim phone and an unlocked iPhone. So we picked up an Orange data plan in Pamplona (summer sale = 9 GB $20 euro). We used that when wi-fi was no good, and t-mobile was slow. One trick we learned was to just take a picture of wi-fi password when going into a cafe, and then sharing it with the table. Many had a piece of paper on the bar or wall. Seems like a combo of things gets you through but mapping software chews up data!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#14
B

we experienced the T-mobile speed throttling pretty quickly while on the Camino. We had a t-mobile sim phone and an unlocked iPhone. So we picked up an Orange data plan in Pamplona (summer sale = 9 GB $20 euro). We used that when wi-fi was no good, and t-mobile was slow. One trick we learned was to just take a picture of wi-fi password when going into a cafe, and then sharing it with the table. Many had a piece of paper on the bar or wall. Seems like a combo of things gets you through but mapping software chews up data!
But I specifically paid extra so that I could have faster data speeds in Spain on the suggestion of the T-Mobile rep!
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#15
My USA plan, T-mobile One Plus Unlimited 55+ has unlimited data and streaming, I signed up about 8 months ago. The only restriction is after using 50 Gigs in the 30 day period they can throttle down the speed if the network is busy. I'm giving this detail just in case it is useful in comparing experiences among T-Mobile customers (apples to apples). When you go to their "Terms and Conditions" page, you have to pick the period when you signed up, see below, because the benefit and restrictions are always changing.

"Did you activate (or renew) service prior to August 22, 2018? If yes, please click the date for the applicable version of the Terms and Conditions: August 10, 2018 | September 20, 2017 | September 1, 2016 | March 17, 2016 | February 17, 2016 | January 25, 2016 | November 14, 2015 | June12, 2015 | March 18, 2015 |November 10, 2014 |March 27, 2014 |October 20, 2013 |December 30, 2011 |July 24, 2011 |July 18, 2010 |June 28, 2008 | December 2004"

I was gone for 6 weeks in May/June this year. I got a welcome msg from T-Mo when arriving in France, then Spain, then France again and maybe when arriving home...can't remember that. I did NOT get any warning or communication from T-Mo during my 6 weeks out of country and never bothered looking for WiFi because I was always connected for voice and data with my plan throughout the whole camino.

I signed up during an active recruiting period by T-Mobile. My brother signed up about 6 months prior and got an even better deal in the form of a free mobile hot spot device. When looking at their current offer, I see the plan I signed up for has changed from 50 Gigs down to 20 Gigs before slow down for the same price.

Maybe I slipped through the "warning" crack or maybe the date each of us signed up and the specific package we each got determines when/if we get warned about our international usage?
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#16
My USA plan, T-mobile One Plus Unlimited 55+ has unlimited data and streaming, I signed up about 18 months ago. The only restriction is after using 50 Gigs in the 30 day period they can throttle down the speed if the network is busy. I'm giving this detail just in case it is useful in comparing experiences (apples to apples).

I was gone for 6 weeks in May/June this year. I got a welcome msg from T-Mo when arriving in France, then Spain, then France again and maybe when arriving home...can't remember that. I did NOT get any warning or communication from T-Mo during my 6 weeks out of country and never bothered looking for WiFi because I was always connected for voice and data throughout the whole camino.

I signed up during an active recruiting period by T-Mobile. My brother signed up about 6 months prior and got an even better deal in the form of a free mobile hot spot device. When looking at their current offer, I see the plan I signed up for has changed from 50 Gigs down to 20 Gigs before slow down for the same price.

Maybe I slipped through the "warning" crack or maybe the date each of us signed up and the specific package we each got determines when we get warned about our international usage?
I have the same plan, and signed up for Plus before I left for the Camino, so that I would have faster speeds and the ability to use my phone as a hotspot abroad. I had excellent coverage while in Spain, so saw no reason to sign on to public wifi networks, which we are always being told can be risky. I have used my T-Mobile phone this way the past two years on the Camino. It's funny, because I didn't receive any warning messages while I was in Europe - the first warning text appeared when I turned on my phone after landing at JFK. I arrived in Europe on July 3rd, and back home in the States on August 16th. My data usage for the billing period July 8 - August 7 was 6.03 GB. By contrast typical monthly usage at home April 8 - May 7 was 3.24 GB, since I use my home wifi network when I'm at home. But the year before while I was on the Camino I used 3.38 GB during one billing cycle.

Still the best data plan in the US. My daughter moved to Canada and she got the same warning. Which made me call customer service and they basically said boiler plate message, but to better use WiFi when possible. They just throttle speed after a while.
I'm sorry, but that seems like an abuse of the service, which is for people who are traveling in other countries, not living in them. Perhaps it's because of that type of use that they are cracking down more on everyone? And I have read of several cases where either roaming privileges were canceled, or the account was closed altogether.
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#17
My data usage for the billing period July 8 - August 7 was 6.03 GB. By contrast typical monthly usage at home April 8 - May 7 was 3.24 GB, since I use my home wifi network when I'm at home.
My data usage at home is radically different...maybe their algorithms compare average monthly data abroad to average monthly date stateside. I always exceed 50 Gigs/mo stateside as it is my hotspot used for streaming TV, movies, internet, texts etc... I cut the cable completely when I signed up for T-Mobile. It was the first "reasonably" priced plan in my opinion making this option viable for my needs and my budget. My data usage while traveling abroad was minimal, probably below 10 Gigs in 6 weeks. Since my usage dropped radically from the norm, maybe the red flag for international usage was overridden by the low relative usage while abroad?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#18
My data usage at home is radically different...maybe their algorithms compare average monthly data abroad to average monthly date stateside. I always exceed 50 Gigs/mo stateside as it is my hotspot used for streaming TV, movies, internet, texts etc... I cut the cable completely when I signed up for T-Mobile. It was the first "reasonably" priced plan in my opinion making this option viable for my needs and my budget. My data usage while traveling abroad was minimal, probably below 10 Gigs in 6 weeks. Since my usage dropped radically from the norm, maybe the red flag for international usage was overridden by the low relative usage while abroad?
Wow, that's a lot of data that you use! Yes, I think that it's based on a ratio. So since you are a heavy use at home, your usage abroad doesn't approach more than 50% of your domestic usage. I actually just called T-Mobile, and was reassured that I'm not going to get cut off of unlimited roaming, that in general the cut off is if you are abroad for more than two months.
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#19
....was reassured that I'm not going to get cut off of unlimited roaming, that in general the cut off is if you are abroad for more than two months.
When I signed up for T-Mobil I was planning a 6 month trip to South America and T-Mobil had the best coverage for the areas I was planning to travel. The sales people at the counter assured me I would have no problems with a 6 month trip out of country. They might have said something like, call T-mobil before you leave to tell them about your trip plans...I can't remember but I was specifically changing carriers for cord-cutting AND the international coverage for an extended 6 moths trip to South America.

Maybe I'll have to fedx my phone home to the states every two months for some domestic usage and then have it sent back to me for the next two months of usage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#20
When I signed up for T-Mobil I was planning a 6 month trip to South America and T-Mobil had the best coverage for the areas I was planning to travel. The sales people at the counter assured me I would have no problems with a 6 month trip out of country. They might have said something like, call T-mobil before you leave to tell them about your trip plans...I can't remember but I was specifically changing carriers for cord-cutting AND the international coverage for an extended 6 moths trip to South America.

Maybe I'll have to fedx my phone home to the states every two months for some domestic usage and then have it sent back to me for the next two months of usage.
Just send the Sim card. :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#21
When I signed up for T-Mobil I was planning a 6 month trip to South America and T-Mobil had the best coverage for the areas I was planning to travel. The sales people at the counter assured me I would have no problems with a 6 month trip out of country. They might have said something like, call T-mobil before you leave to tell them about your trip plans...I can't remember but I was specifically changing carriers for cord-cutting AND the international coverage for an extended 6 moths trip to South America.

Maybe I'll have to fedx my phone home to the states every two months for some domestic usage and then have it sent back to me for the next two months of usage.
I don't think that the sales people are fully versed on all the restrictions
 

ForrestUS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Finisterre starting May 12th
#22
I myself have with T-Mobile 55 + unlimited data plan which I signed up for in December of 2017.. I travelled extensively throughout Europe ending with the Camino for 90 days ending in mid June of 2018.. it was frustrating as I had this message continuously pop up on my screen though my usage data was never that high as I had a tablet with me which I used to for Wi-Fi at every destination I stopped at to stay.
 

wynrich

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2013, 2014
Portugués 2016
Norte 1st half 2018
Norte 2nd half 2019
+ Via Francigena 2017
#23
My husband and I have done several Caminos in Spain, Portugal, and Italy using Vodafone SIM cards and have had good luck with them. They have been inexpensive (15 euros or so these days?) with plenty of data that lasts for a month and if you need it longer, it can be renewed easily (such as in a newspaper kiosk). We had T-Mobile on our phones as well but found Vodafone was much faster. We always visit the Vodafone store soon after we arrive. There are always several Vodafone stores in the larger cities such as Pamplona, Porto, San Sebastian, etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2014
Sanabria 2018
#24
We are on the 55+ Unlimited Plan, and had no issues when we were in Spain to visit family and then walk the C. Sanabrias in May followed by walking the Pieterpad in June. I did get a text warning in June regarding voice usage, but a quick 5-minute toll-free call back to the states removed any concerns. I have to agree with previous posters, its for travel use and not for living abroad; get a local number if you do. T-Mobile has given us nothing but excellent service (writing this as we roam Canada for over a month at no extra cost), something I can’t say about our previous carrier.
Buen Camino.
 

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