Oct. 10, 2013 -- Forget turning off data when you get on that international flight: T-Mobile is making it much easier for globetrotters to use their phones without breaking the bank. On Wednesday evening the cellular carrier announced its newest "un-carrier" move, bringing unlimited international data and texting to its Simple Choice customers.
That means that if you are a Simple Choice subscriber, you will automatically start getting unlimited data and texting in more than 100 countries. T-Mobile lists the countries on its website here, but everywhere from Germany to Spain to China to Japan are included.
Yes, that means if you are on the Simple Choice plan, which starts at $50 for unlimited texting, voice and 500MB of data, you will automatically start getting the international calling service included in your plan on Oct. 31. T-Mobile will begin offering the free international features on Oct. 20 for new customers.
International voice calls aren't included, but T-Mobile dropped the price of those too, to 20 cents a minute when you are in those countries. T-Mobile says there aren't any extra monthly fees or activation costs.
The move is pretty unprecedented. And if you're wondering why, here are what the other main U.S. carriers charge for data overseas.
Verizon - If you sign up for Verizon's Global Data plan before you head overseas, they will charge you $25 for 100MB of data. If you want to pay as you go, it will cost you $20.48 a MB in any country outside Mexico and Canada.
AT&T - AT&T has better worldwide service than Verizon and better pricing, though it is still costly. For $30 a month you can get 120MB of data in over 150 countries. It goes up to $60 for 300MB of data.
Sprint - Sprint's no better than the others: $40 for 40MB and $80 for 85MB.
T-Mobile's international data offerings, its contract-free plans and its phone upgrade program have all raised the carrier's reputation, but while it announced on Wednesday that its 4G LTE network is now available nationwide --- in 233 cities across the U.S. -- Verizon and AT&T still offer a wider LTE footprint and faster speeds. That said, T-Mobile now looks to be the best choice for those globetrotters.