Questions on use overseas


    I understand the basics of using the phone while traveling overseas, but have some specific questions:


    1. When someone calls us from the USA while we are traveling, will they incur long distance charges or are they placing a domestic call?


    2. We were told by a T-Mobile store employee that if we don't wish to pay for calls placed to us overseas, simply don't answer the phone.  Is this correct, or are we charged if the call goes to voicemail?


    3. If there is no charge for calls that go to voicemail, can we check voicemail without charges when wi-fi is available?


    4. If in fact we are charged for calls that go to voicemail, how do we set the phone to keep calls from coming through while still using the free text and data    feature?


    5. Is there an online resource that provides clear answers to the above, and other traveling questions?

      All replies

      • tmo_chris

        Re: Questions on use overseas

        Great questions!


        1: No, they will not be charged for an international call.


        2: In most cases, you will be charged one minute for delivering the call to the device, regardless if voicemail was left or not.

        Depending on the carrier’s network, you might also be charged for the delivery of the call from the device to voicemail. If you want to avoid being charged for any call, it is best to either keep your phone off or turn off cellular.


        3: There is a change for calls sent to voicemail. Also, calls to voicemail are billed at the per minute rate of the country you are in.


        4: There is unfortunately no way to turn off calls and keep sms active as they utilize the same voice network


        5: International roaming checklist - It does not answer all your questions but hopefully I was able to. There is also some other helpful information in there.

        • drnewcomb2

          Re: Questions on use overseas

          3. You can listen to voicemails using visual voicemail. This used data. (I think) not a phone call. You can also listen to voicemails when on WiFi.

          4. You can forward all incoming calls to voicemail. This way you don't receive any incoming calls and no roaming charges for incoming calls. Only two forwarding conditions create charges: 1) Busy and 2) Not answered. The out of service condition or unconditional forwards go directly to voicemail without ever being sent to the roamed carrier.


          Incoming calls and outgoing calls to the US are free when on WiFi but you must be 100% sure to use WiFi Calling. Two ways to do this are 1) to put the phone in airplane mode and then turn WiFi back on or 2) set WiFi calling to "Always WiFi". When you are on WiFi you may want to disable the forwarding of all calls to voicemail. This will allow you to receive incoming calls but if you're in a different time zone, you may not want to.


          Also, you might want to have your regular callers try to use a VoIP app like Viber or Skype (voice only) to call as they use data rather than a call. It's also to have a little calling-out credit just in case you get there and nothing else works. (Good to have a backup plan.)

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • eqr

              Re: Questions on use overseas

              Both replies helpful, but maybe a bit contradictory?


              So, I CAN forward all incoming calls to voicemail (this was what I was hoping, with an outgoing voicemail message telling folks I was traveling, and please send a text message). Where can I find instructions on how to institute this "unconditional forward?"


              By "busy" under #4 I'm assuming you mean the Reply with Text as in messaging, "sorry, I can't talk right now." from the incoming call screen.  That would be a good way to handle the situation by messaging "can't answer, send me a text."


              By using this unconditional forward, it seems I am in fact able to eliminate the possibility of receiving incoming calls (darn telemarketer scammers) while leaving open the option to send and receive iMessages and SMS.  Correct?


              Visual Voicemail refers to the voicemail tab under "Phone App" where you can see who has left voicemail and choose whether to listen to them or not?


              I've used Skype in the past when calling from Europe and have it as a backup, but it also requires wi-fi, so why wouldn't I just use wi-fi calling on t-mobile?


              Thanks for the assistance.  I'm hoping this will also be helpful to others who must have the same questions.

                • drnewcomb2

                  Re: Questions on use overseas

                  1. There exist more than a single modality for depelting a feline.

                  2. Most phones have a menu item for call forwarding. On my Samsung it's in the Phone app under Settings -> Call ->Additional settings -> Call forwarding -> Always forward. You want to enter "+18056377249" and activate. You can activate and cancel when roaming at no charge but you can't do it when you're on WiFi Calling. You have to be on a cellular signal.

                  3. One of the conditional forwards to voicemail is when you're talking on the phone. This causes your incoming call to track you down, wherever you are in the world, and then forward the call back to T-Mobile if the line is busy. This is what you want to avoid. Forwarding all calls avoids the return forwarding.

                  4. Unconditional forward prevents all incoming calls. It has no effect on SMS or iMessage.

                  5. On my phone Visual Voicemail is its own app.

                  6. I've received Skype calls while driving around in my car.

              • eqr

                Re: Questions on use overseas

                Cannot for the life of me get iPhone 6S+ voicemail working.


                I go to phone in settings, turn on voicemail.  Click on "forward to:" taken to next page where number is typed.  Next step is supposed to be click on "call forwarding" in the upper left corner to return to previous page.  When I do that, I return to the previous page and immediately, voicemail switches off.


                If I try using the **21* 1+number# I get an unknown error page telling me that nothing has been set.


                Anybody help?

                  • drnewcomb2

                    Re: Questions on use overseas

                    Try "**21*+18056377249#" then SEND

                    *#21#" SEND to deactivate.

                    "*21#" Send to reactivate

                    2 of 2 people found this helpful
                      • drnewcomb2

                        Re: Questions on use overseas

                        P.S. Make sure that WiFi Calling is not in use. Maybe turn off WiFi because the GSM service codes don't work over WiFi. I fact, I often have to try them several times if I'm on LTE. Maybe try turning LTE off and then back on after the forward takes. It's dead reliable over GSM or UMTS. Sorry I'm not much help with iPhones.


                        One thing that won't work is turning off conditional forwarding. T-Mobile has something called DCF (a.k.a. "The customers are a pack of brainless mouth-breathing dolts mode.") which will reactivate conditional forwarding to voicemail if you attempt to disable those three forwards. None of this would be an issue if T-Mobile had not implemented DCF because you could just turn off conditional forwarding to voicemail.

                        • eqr

                          Re: Questions on use overseas

                          This one worked perfectly.

                          Little nervous when I couldn't deactivate, but then I saw the typo, adding a "*"  ahead of the "#"


                          Ignoring that, set, unset and reset several times just to be sure.


                          Thanks a million!