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International coverage options with Ting

Last updated by Christian Robinette

There are several ways that you can get mobile phone service while traveling internationally depending on where you're going, how long you're planning on staying, and what type of phone you have. Each option has its benefits, and it's best to review them all to select the option that's best for you.

International roaming with Ting

Ting offers international roaming on both our GSM and CDMA networks. While GSM phones can easily roam anywhere that we have coverage, CDMA phones do need to have a removable sim card to roam internationally.

Although it's important to be aware of the cost which can often end up being significantly more expensive than you expect, for short-term travel or if you plan on minimally using your phone, this can be the easiest and cheapest option. 

If your phone can be SIM unlocked for international travel—that's any GSM device you can bring to Ting and many CDMA devices—then we recommend you do that as well. An unlocked phone would free you up to buy a local SIM card if you find yourself using your phone more than expected which lets you know exactly what you're paying and generally get service at a much lower rate than if you roam internationally. 

If we don't offer international roaming coverage where you're traveling, then you'll need to either unlock your device and use a local SIM card, use a local prepaid phone or a Wi-Fi-based service like Skype.

International roaming rates

While traveling there is an extra charge, or surcharge, for any phone use while you're outside the US. For example, if you are in Mexico and you receive a call that lasts 10 minutes, your minutes will be added to your monthly usage and an additional $0.30/minute will be added to your bill for the call.

Before you travel

  1. Log into your Ting account online.
  2. Click on Device settings.
  3. Select the device(s) where you want to enable international roaming.Device_selection.png 
  4. Scroll down to International Roaming option, and click the blue edit pencil.Device_settings.png 
  5. In the pop-up window, toggle the "Can use international roaming" slider to enable it.Enable_roaming.png 
  6. You will then be presented with a second option. You may toggle on "Can use international data roaming" if you would like to enable data roaming services. Once all the options you would like are enabled, select Save.
    Note: International data roaming can accumulate quickly, and it is generally the more expensive option. If you would like to only have text and talk, you can leave this option off. 
    Data_roaming.png 

If you want to use data, make sure data roaming is enabled in the settings on your device. Voice roaming will be enabled automatically. For CDMA devices that are looking to roam, the network mode may also need to be updated once you arrive at your destination.

Update network mode

The process of changing your network mode will vary slightly from phone to phone, but we've listed the most common Android pathway below.

  1. Tap Apps.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Select More Networks.
  4. Choose Mobile Networks.
  5. Tap Network Mode.
  6. Select an applicable network mode. We suggest Global.
  7. Your phone will reboot and should connect automatically. If not, manually search for a network via the Network operators option typically under Mobile Networks.

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International SIM unlock

Purchasing a local international SIM is ideal for long-term trips or trips where you plan on using your phone a lot. It can take the guesswork out of the rates so you can avoid a bill with unexpected charges at the end of your trip.

Your coverage and rates will be based on the provider of the foreign SIM card that you're using since you'll be getting a new local number with them. If you're checking ahead of time or doing so upon arrival, you'll want to find out:

  • Which areas they cover.
  • How they handle domestic and/or international roaming (i.e., If you're traveling to several countries in Europe or Asia in one trip, make sure they're all covered).
  • The domestic and international rates.

Before (and after) you travel

If you use a GSM phone on Ting, then your phone is already unlocked, and you can simply remove your Ting SIM card and pop in a new international sim from a local carrier. If you have a CDMA device with a removable sim card, follow our guide on international CDMA SIM unlocking for a detailed explanation of what to do before and after you travel.

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Prepaid phones

A prepaid phone is an alternative if you have a CDMA phone that does not have a removable SIM, or you're going to a country that doesn't have a GSM network provider. These are usually relatively inexpensive phones that you can load and reload as needed with a local carrier. If you need to be reachable while traveling, or you're traveling for a longer period of time, this can be a reliable alternative. You know exactly what you're getting in terms of rates, and it's easy to get up and running.

Your coverage will be based on the provider of the prepaid phone that you're using since you'll be getting a new local number with them. If you're checking ahead of time or doing so upon arrival, you'll want to find out:

  • Which areas they cover.
  • How they handle domestic and/or international roaming (i.e. you're traveling to several countries in Europe in one trip).
  • The domestic and international rates.

Before you travel

You don't have to do anything with your Ting device if you're going to use a foreign prepaid phone while you're traveling, except perhaps turn it off so the battery still has a charge when you return.

If you're traveling for an extended period of time, we can suspend your service while you travel so you'll only have the $6 line fee billed by Ting during your travel.

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VoIP calling services

VoIP calling services such as Skype, Viber, Hangout, or Facetime are all a great way to keep in touch while you're traveling. Apps like Facebook Messenger also have VoIP calling built into them which, for many people, will eliminate the need to set up another service. These options do require access to Wi-Fi or data to work, but if your hotel offers free Wi-Fi, you can use these options while connected.

These apps usually require both parties to have them and are usually free. Some of them have options for additional services, like the ability to call phone numbers directly, as paid extras if you want them.

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