Best international phone plans for travel in 2024

Same coverage: Cut your bill by $600 per year

Big Wireless
$75
/mo
Unlimited data
$900/yr
vs
Tello on T-Mobile
Tello logo on phone
$25
/mo
Unlimited data
$300/yr
See at Tello
US Mobile on Verizon
US Mobile logo on phone
$25
/mo
Unlimited data
Boost Mobile on AT&T
Boost Mobile logo on phone
$25
/mo
Unlimited data
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MoneySavingPro independently researches the products & services to bring you our recommendations. We may earn money when you click our links - disclosure policy.

Exhausted by the big three's confusing plans and high costs? You're not the only one.

As the major wireless companies boast about their record profits and simultaneously announce price increases, it's clear they've not fully appreciated the needs of today's globally connected consumers.

With over a decade of experience in the wireless industry, I've witnessed the growing divide between exorbitant prices and the actual value offered to customers-especially those seeking international connectivity.

However, the good news is that switching to a carrier that better suits your global lifestyle has never been easier.

Saving you the extensive research, I've thoroughly reviewed 30 alternative carriers and over 100 prepaid phone plans.

To save you time, I have excluded carriers that:

  • Only offer unlimited data plans
  • Only advertise multi-line prices
  • Have confusing phone bills with unexpected fees
  • Lure customers with "free" phones
  • Constantly try to upsell additional lines
  • Bundle plans with unnecessary subscriptions
  • Need loads of small print to explain their offers
  • Want you to go to a store
  • Need a commission-based salesperson
  • Reward customer loyalty with increased prices

Understanding the unique demands of international phone users, I've curated a list of the best value plans across all three major networks, tailored to suit varying levels of data consumption and international calling needs.

Whether you're a frequent traveler, have family abroad, or conduct business across borders, the best value international plan will depend on your phone usage and preferred network. However, there's an international plan waiting for you.

Best international plan on T-Mobile

These are the top 3 plans from low-cost carriers with T-Mobile coverage to consider.

Cheap T-Mobile plan

Tello 2GB plan

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
2GB
data
$10/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$780 in annual savings

Best family plan on T-Mobile

Mint Mobile 15GB plan

Image of cell phone with Mint Mobile
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
15GB
data
$15/mo*
$20/mo
See at Mint Mobile

*$45 for 3 Months

4.2 Read our Mint Mobile review
$675 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on T-Mobile

Tello unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$25/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$600 in annual savings

Best international plan on Verizon

These are the top 3 plans from low-cost carriers with Verizon coverage to consider.

Cheap Verizon plan

Twigby 2GB plan

Image of cell phone with Twigby
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
2GB
data
$5/mo*
$15/mo
See at Twigby

*$5/mo for 1st 3 Mths

4.4 Read our Twigby review
$750 in annual savings

Best family plan on Verizon

US Mobile 10GB plan

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
10GB
data
$18/mo*
See at US Mobile

*$210 for 12 Mths

5 Read our US Mobile review
$684 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on Verizon

US Mobile unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with US Mobile
  • Verizon coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$25/mo*
See at US Mobile

*30 Day FREE Trial

5 Read our US Mobile review
$600 in annual savings

Best international plan on AT&T

These are the top 3 plans from low-cost carriers with AT&T coverage to consider.

Cheap AT&T plan

Red Pocket 1GB plan

Image of cell phone with Red Pocket
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
1GB
data
$10/mo
4.1 Read our Red Pocket review
$780 in annual savings

Best unlimited plan on AT&T

Boost Mobile unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Boost Mobile
  • AT&T coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$12.50/mo*
$25/mo
See at Boost Mobile

*50% Off 1st Mth

4 Read our Boost Mobile review
$612.50 in annual savings

Best overall value International plan

Tello unlimited data plan

Image of cell phone with Tello
  • T-Mobile coverage
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Instant eSIM activation
Unlimited
data
$25/mo
5 Read our Tello review
$600 in annual savings

Big wireless: Big prices, big profits, little value

The average phone bill is $155 per month, and while 38 million Americans live in poverty, the government cut funding to the Affordable Connectivity Program, which was assisting 22 million low-income families with subsidized internet and cell phone service.

At the same time, the big three spent January celebrating record profits and multi-billion dollar shareholder dividend payouts while simultaneously announcing yet more price hikes.

So, big wireless continues to raise prices, and the government drops assistance to those in need. However, you do have options, so the power is in your hands.

Take back control of your phone bill

A big wireless unlimited plan will cost you $1,600 extra over the next 3 years compared to getting the same service from an MVNO.

A big wireless unlimited data plan will cost you $2,700 over the next 3 years for just 1 line. In comparison, unlimited plans from a low-cost carrier over the same period would cost only $900.

So, buying directly from Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T is now 3 times more expensive for the same coverage. This does not include fees and taxes or future price hikes.

Why is it so much more expensive to buy the same service directly?

With big wireless, you are paying for multi-billion dollar ad campaigns, stadium sponsorships, and thousands of stores with commission-based salespeople - all these expenses get passed onto you to maximize profits and dividend payouts.

With this next generation of MVNOs, you switch online and just pay for phone service.

Cut your phone bill, not your coverage

These low-cost carriers offer a great alternative with transparent pricing, a range of data plans to customize to your needs, and more highly rated customer service.

You can keep your phone, number, coverage, and most importantly, your money!

Even better, it's quick and easy. You can complete the entire switching process online in minutes with an eSIM-compatible phone.

So, now is the time to re-evaluate your options, take back control of your phone bill, and free yourself from price hikes forever!


Compare the cheapest international cell phone plans

Carrier Data Monthly Price Annual Price Savings
Tello 2GB $10/mo $120/yr $780/yr See at Tello
Mint Mobile 15GB $15/mo*$20/mo $225/yr $675/yr See at Mint Mobile
*$45 for 3 Months
Tello Unlimited $25/mo $300/yr $600/yr See at Tello

Check out our international cell phone comparison to help find the best deal.


How to choose the best value carrier for international plans

  • Network preference: Good network coverage is essential if you're looking for an international phone plan, ensuring you stay connected no matter where you are in the world. MVNOs provide access to the same 5G & 4G LTE networks as the major providers, so it's important to choose an MVNO that operates on your preferred network.
  • Data allowance: Unlimited data plans might seem necessary if you're an international traveler or those with loved ones abroad, but with Wi-Fi increasingly available worldwide, the average monthly cellular data use is around 10GB. However, if you're opting for unlimited, remember that there may be caps on high-speed data.
  • Hotspot data: Hotspot capability can be invaluable in providing internet access for laptops or tablets when abroad. While most carriers support hotspot use, the data allowance varies. Some also offer data-only plans, ensuring you can stay connected even without Wi-Fi.
  • Number of lines: Big wireless providers often advertise lower prices for bundling multiple lines, but MVNOs offer competitive pricing even for single lines, which is ideal if you're an individual traveler. Additionally, many offer discounts for adding more lines, perfect for families or groups traveling abroad.
  • Phone options: MVNOs support bringing your own device, so you don't have to pay out for a new phone you don't need. However, if you're in the market for a new device, many MVNOs provide affordable options with flexible financing.
  • International calling: International calling options will vary with each carrier. Make sure to check the calls are included when calling from outside of the US, not just from inside the US to other international countries.
  • International roaming: Roaming availability varies greatly among MVNOs. Some include certain countries, others offer it at an additional cost, and some low-cost carriers don't offer this option at all.

Check out our cell phone plan comparison to ensure you find the best deal.


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International phone plans FAQs


Recap: What is the best international plan for travel?

The big three are signaling their intention to continue raising prices, a strategy seemingly aimed more at boosting their bottom lines in a competitive market than at responding to any real economic pressures.

For those facing the challenge of managing household expenses and the rising costs of essentials, there's good news regarding mobile bills.

You can still access the same quality cell phone service at a significantly lower cost, potentially saving you up to $600 annually per line on an international phone plan.

I recommend checking out our cell phone plan comparison to find the best plan for your international needs.

How we choose the best carriers and plans

To select the best carriers and plans, MoneySavingPro's team of experts evaluated over 30 different carriers.

Carriers were rated in five categories, with a star rating from 1-5, with 5 stars being the best. We then calculate the overall star rating using the five categories:

  1. Value for money: We compare carriers based on price, features, benefits, and promotions. It's not just about the lowest price but getting the most bang for your buck.
  2. Coverage: We look at network 5G and 4G LTE coverage across the US. We use coverage maps to determine service availability and data speeds in urban, suburban, and rural locations.
  3. Customer experience: We take into account items such as current user experience, website and app usability, ease of switching, and customer service in terms of availability, channels, and satisfaction ratings.
  4. Transparency: We assess whether carrier pricing is clear and straightforward. We examine the fine print to check for hidden fees, confusing terms or conditions, and misleading offers to ensure upfront, honest prices and advertising.
  5. Range of choice: We evaluate the diversity of plan options to determine if they fit the individual needs of all customers.

Read more about our carrier ratings methodology and our editorial process.

We regularly update our comparisons. Updating cell phone plans weekly and our content monthly to ensure we are showing the latest and most accurate information.

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