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So what I would personally recommend to you i to have a unlocked device that will work in the countries you plan to visit. Then when you go to these countries buy a prepaid sim with one of the carriers there. They usually have options for travelers like yourself where you can by a plan for a week for a reasonable price. This is what I have done in the past when I stay in a country for a prolonged period of time since roaming on their network is never as good as just being officially on it due to the throttling imposed by T-mobile. This will thus save you money in the long run of things since you can just keep your old plan and still be connected to the world.
You can also try to rely on wifi as much as possible. Depending on where you go in Europe there will be a pretty broad access to public wifi sources. I do want to ask what device you currently using and if it is locked or unlocked?
I am not clear on your plan. The previous plan to the current "TM One" was called SIMPLE Choice. It included (and still does for those who didn't want to pay more since we use little data) calling to/from Mexico and Canada and 20 cent/min. calling in 140 countries. Call 611 and see if you are on the plan that includes intl. roaming.
Buying a SIM in each country you visit is a PAIN. People won't be able to call you because they won't know your number. It is ultra convenient to step off a plane and know you have instant communications to/from your home/office.
And trying to buy a SIM in some countries takes time, because of red tape involved. We've used TM's intl roaming feature in 13 or 14 countries. Made use of TM's wifi calling feature in one of the non 140 countries (Myanmar). Bought a local SIM with a couple Gigs (more?) of data for $22. Stuck it in a spare phone we carry and tethered our regular phones to that phone. Recvd/made calls, read email, texts etc.
I don't think a "Select Choice" plan can be 15 years old. T-Mobile only came out with them a few years ago to replace plans that were being obsoleted. I think I was assigned to my "Select Choice" plan in early 2014 and I was among the first. Having said that, your plan should have all the international features of "Simple Choice" plans. Free text and slow data and fairly cheap (20¢/min) calls when in "Simple Choice" counties and calling other "Simple Choice" countries. Calls back to the US and receiving calls on WiFi are free. I'm not sure what you might gain by going to a new plan.
I always recommend having a communications backup plan which is appropriate for you and your travel needs. Generally, I travel in full comms. paranoia mode. Two phones, one with a prepaid roaming SIM, the other with T-Mobile, spare T-Mobile SIM, and VoIP backup on each phone. But that's just me.
Looks like we've got plenty of community folks trying to help. Did you need more assistance? Please give us a reply back and let us know. Thank you!
By the way, how on earth do I change my username?
I do not want it to be my phone # or full name.
It's really annoying to not let us change our usernames ourselves.
Thanks so much for all your responses, much appreciated.
But yes, my plan was not originally a "simple choice" plan - but it has been for several years now, it was converted to what it is currently when my original plan was discontinued, and it has been modified over the years from limited to unlimited text messages, limited to essentially unlimited data (3 GB high speed). My plan for phone + text has been $20 per month since 2003, raised to $25 awhile back but that's it. Bill was higher for a few years when the limits for calls and texts were decreased. Has since increased because of the data plan but not that expensive.
The technical name of my plan now is "Select Choice Unl TT+D 25"
I am perfectly fine with slow data while international since it is easier to find wifi most places, so that is very helpful.
I will probably confirm this with customer service a few weeks before I start my travels though, since I tend to be paranoid. I also thought I recently read that T-mobile was ending coverage for Canada and international in normal plans?
Either way the suggestion of a second phone is potentially useful. I have a galaxy s6 (not unlocked).
Right, I had an old regional plan that was originally from DigiphPCS, which was bought out by PowerTel, which was bought out by T-Mobile about 2000. No one at T-Mobile could even tell me what my home region was. I was probably the only person at T-Mobile who still had that plan. All remnants of that plan disappeared when they converted me to Select Choice. I got unlimited nationwide service, unmetered texts and Simple Choice international roaming. I pay about $5/mo more but it's well worth it.
There was a $10/mo (?) bolt-on Canada & Mexico option for older Select Choice and Simple Choice plans. I don't know if that's still being actively offered.
If you qualify you should probably request an unlock for that S6. The only advantage to a locked phone is that it will have no value if stolen. The advantage to getting it unlocked is that, if all else fails, you can use a local prepaid SIM. You should always set a phone screen lock and SIM PIN when traveling.
"Slow" intl. data has been fast enuf for using Google maps for driving. Even could use it when in Hong Kong on way in taxi to airport to listen to a football game from home. (Don't count on music audio.) Anyway, I'm usually the type that doesn't want to abuse the system by over using unlimited data.