My new favorite solution for international voice, text and data

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Verizon Wireless had added a new Global Bundle to their international options, allowing you to receive minutes, text messages allotment and data for a bundled price. The new bundle plans were implemented in early March and I had the chance to trial the plan in London.

As a reminder, here’s what the plan looks like:

Verizon Global Bundle

Previously, you paid per minute for phone calls and the only option available was a “discount package” where you could pay a premium to receive a discount off of the minutes, but that it was still charged a hefty (usually) $.89 cents a minute, which is astronomical.

By adding on $15 a month, you’ll receive 100 minutes and 100 sent texts. If this isn’t enough, you can pay $35 and receive 250 minutes, 250 sent texts and unlimited received texts.

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When you make and receive calls, they go in and out of your regular, US number. So, when a friend calls you, it rings directly on your phone, and when you call them, their caller ID shows your number. Further, you’re only deducted minutes when you’re actually on a call. The “standby time” when folks aren’t calling you aren’t counted. So, as soon as you hit the “answer” button, the clock starts.

Arriving in London, I switched on my phone and found it immediately connect to a local Vodafone signal and 3G data. I made a few phone calls to test out the signal strength, and it was pretty good – just as clear as in the US. Because I had subscribed to the global bundle for $15, I received 100 minutes free, and every minute over is $.25, which, while expensive, isn’t nearly as expensive as some other plans. Plus, I think it’s important to call out of my normal cell phone number, and receive calls the same way, too. For data, I had a 3G signal, and noticed that with low to average consumption, I was using about 100MB a day (at home, I have a 10GB plan a month, so you can tell I was using the internet and email sparingly). The data does a recurring billing at $25 for every 100MB used, which, while convenient, is still expensive. It does come with a convenience factor, though, and by turning off app updates and other heavy consumption items, I can surely reduce the amount of consumption to lessen the cost.

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Here’s the big thing for me why I think I’m going to stick with using this service – convenience. There’s no SIM cards to buy, no activation processes needed, and no extraneous work. I simply add the service to my plan, and away I go. Everything else is taken care of from there, and all it takes is simply switching the cell signal on and off to receive service.

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  1. Ben says

    That is still way higher than what T-Mobile offers (free international texting and 2G data, voice is $.20/minute over cellular or free over Wifi) or even the ‘death star’ AT&T ($30 for 120MB of data, and unlimited texting inc photos/video. Even with a call-heavy person who refuses to use Wifi, T-Mobile is still just $20 for 100 minutes vs. the $40 for Verizon.

      • Ben says

        Then add the 4G option of 200MB for $25 – twice as much data as Verizon for the same price.

        I used 2G in Spain (it’s over HSPA+ where available so lower latency than EDGE) for two weeks and it was fine – loaded up Google Maps, Facebook, Google Search, Yelp, and my email just fine.

      • eponymous coward says

        T-Mobile promises 2G, but in my experience often delivers 3G in places like London, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Macau last year…

      • says

        2G is not useless. It works fine for twitter, emails, and iMessage. Anyone who is bagging the “2G” international free data has never tried it. Guess what, it’s still free. You still receive/send SMS for free. If you really want 3G/4G data internationally when you can’t find a wifi hotspot, then $50 for 500mb is still cheaper than anyone else. In terms of international roaming, Tmobile wins hands down. Ironically you’ll get better coverage internationally roaming then you will domestically at home in rural areas.

  2. Rick b says

    congratulations you got ripped off. A 1gb data and voice sim from Three costs 10 pounds in UK. Why would anyone recommend this robbery international plan?

  3. says

    Too expensive for data and guess what…data is what I use a ton of when traveling like for stuff like well you know maps and gps. It’s not that bad but I think you can do better although I do see the trade off for being able to use it seamlessly.

  4. Kate says

    Personally, I can live without the cell internationally. But does anyone have a good idea for coverage for a teenager traveling from US to Australia? It’s going to be a long trip for us and we’ve promised to investigate cell phone coverage for her. She will have wifi in the hotel of course, but she is joined at the hip with her iPhone. Also, per line costs are not good for us, because we have a family plan for four, but only one who will really need the coverage.

    • Adam says

      Nothing is cheap aside from putting in an Australian SIM card for data, and use Wifi as much as possible. I use the MagicJack app to make calls back to the US while on wifi wherever and whenever I am abroad. The number will be different but you can use your existing contacts to call and the quality is really solid and it’s free.

  5. Jimmy says

    I considered doing this plan as well. Having weighed the cost of purchasing a separate cell phone and SIM card(s), I figured it’s best to just use my current VZW-contracted phone with this plan. I don’t travel internationally that often, so it’s hard to justify the cost of a separate smartphone.

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