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jamesinclair

Sprint International Value Roaming Plan Experience!

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There has been discussion about this new plan in the catch-all Marcelo thread, but I think it deserves its own space. This will make it easier for people to find.
 
I went to Mexico last weekend and was able to experience the plan on both a Galaxy S4 and an Iphone6.
 
Pre-trip:
 
I don't trust telecom companies. Not trying to call out Sprint in particular, but Comcast, Verizon, AT&T…whatever. Too many times, what I have been told was not what showed up on the bill. So I took a few extra steps to protect myself.
 
First I activated the option online. I then called to confirm the plan was added, and asked why it wouldn’t let me add it for the Aquos. I was told my phone was “too old” Uh huh. I also confirmed that when travelling, there wouldn’t be any chance of being charged.
 
A week before the trip, I called again to confirm it was all set.
 
3 days before the trip, I called global services to ask about dialing and such. I asked if I could text ANY number for free. I asked if it was possible to roam accidentally into a paid area. The person I talked to seemed very unsure about anything, but the point was just to get the call on record, so if I was charged, I could easily dispute it.
 
One additional problem with the call was that the rep offered no information on my phone settings. IE, he did not instruct me to enable roaming and remove the roaming guards.
 
Trip:
 
I landed in Mexico City, turned on the phone and....no service. Damn. We were spending a long time taxiing so I went back to airplane mode.
 
lSY7g8al.png

 

 

20 minutes later, while waiting for my bag, I tried again. Service! Looks like the problem was poor reception, not that it didn’t work.
 
I was a little concerned though. Movistar? Uh oh, wasn’t the partner Telefonica or Telecel...someone with Tel, for sure. H+? Uh oh, I thought I was limited to 2G...
 
Z3WrUKbl.png

 

Let’s see if I can switch provider...
 
MNe5vyql.png
 
 
Nope!
 
Roaming network? Nope! And look, I’m on 3G now!
 
xwdKVd7l.png

 
What the, now I’m on E! What’s E!?!
 
vyIFuPol.jpg

 

 
Apparently I’m on Sprint! All this is still in the airport, by the way.... I have no idea what this was.

 

yZ5ZvtAl.png

 

 
But something isn’t going well at all... my phone is heating up very quickly, and my battery is falling FAST
 
QYKKRVRl.png

 

 

I even did a battery pull in case a zombie app was killing me, but that didn’t help me at all.... I have had zero battery issues, so this was alarming.
 
Now I’m at the house, charging. Oh look, a new network type! I’m doing the full tour of letters!

 toFkASql.png

 

 
The next morning I checked my account and there were no extra charges. In fact, my account was already showing that I was using free value plan data and texts! Success! No need to be worried about a crazy bill. I didn’t take a screen shot, and I just entered a new account cycle, but basically:
This shows up on my LAST cycle (for each line):

 

International Value Roaming 05/03-05/23   Unlimited  62,547
International Value Roaming 05/03-05/23   Unlimited  41,366
 
 
This shows up on my current cycle (for one line):
Intl. Roaming Text  442 / Unlimited
 
That is, my last cycle shows no international text (even though I was there for part of it), and my current cycle shows no international value roaming, data, even though I was there for part of it.

But alas, what matters is that it shows free and unlimited! It all worked!
 
As for speed... Overall, I found the plan very usable. Quite frankly, it was on par with Sprint 3G service I had in Fresno 2-3 years ago, so I wasn’t shocked by it at all.  
 
That is, Google Maps would load well enough, but no point in trying the satellite view. Google loaded immediately, but individual webpages obviously varied immensely. I was able to use Uber and Facebook, and even upload an image or two. Nothing could be done in a rush, but I was ready for that. So if you wanted to use Google Maps to find a restaurant and their hours, you need to set aside 5 minutes of time for your result. No instant gratification.
 
First speed test, ping is sky high because of the server it picked (upload test failed)
 
0VTXMsXl.png

 
This is the signal for the tests
 
tQftv7Gl.jpg

 
Second attempt
 
ei7ilywl.png

 

Third attempt
 
UHlOxjRl.png

 
Finally gave me an upload result
 
0o7Fqakl.png

 

 
 
As for the battery, it was an issue throughout the trip. It would drain VERY fast. During parts of the day, I would go on airplane mode to preserve battery.
 
r6brZR7l.png

 

Now, it's entirely possible my phone was experiencing a problem, but I have a feeling the issue was that my phone was constantly trying to grab onto Sprint CDMA coverage, killing my battery. Does this sound possible? Also, note the network signal, why would it show so broken like this? I was in dense, urban areas all the time, and always had plenty of bars (excluding the airport). Any thoughts on this?
 
 
I advise anyone travelling to take a second battery and be very careful with this, assuming it wasn't a problem with my specific phone.

Also, all my contacts added the +1 on their own. I didn’t have to do anything to ensure the texts would be sent.
 
Overall, having access to free texting and data was fantastic. It gave me access to Google Maps and Uber which made the trip much easier. I can live without texting, but it was nice to not have to make any adjustments. This is a huge added value to my plan.
 
One note: I never tried texting a Mexican number. I used WhatsApp so the person I texted wouldn’t incur any charges replying to a US number.

 

I hope this was helpful. :)

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This was a long start up topic, got enough screen shots? lol Thanks for the info, maybe when I travel to Mexico I wont have to worry about a big bill, thats good to hear!!

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Thanks for the info, maybe when I travel to Mexico I wont have to worry about a big bill, thats good to hear!!

 

Yes, this could be a new Sprint commercial.

 

"With Sprint, when you travel to Mexico, do not worry about a big roaming bill -- just worry about being robbed, abducted, or killed."

 

;)

 

AJ

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Yes, this could be a new Sprint commercial.

 

"With Sprint, when you travel to Mexico, do not worry about a big roaming bill -- just worry about being robbed, abducted, or killed."

 

;)

 

AJ

True!!

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Yes, this could be a new Sprint commercial.

 

"With Sprint, when you travel to Mexico, do not worry about a big roaming bill -- just worry about being robbed, abducted, or killed."

 

;)

 

AJ

Record and upload that donkey show on the Now Network's international roaming partner!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I bet the battery drain is partially because of the slow speed. The radio has to be active longer, draining the battery. I used to experience this a few years ago pre-NV when my phone idled on overloaded sites.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6

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I was a little concerned though. Movistar? Uh oh, wasn’t the partner Telefonica or Telecel...someone with Tel, for sure. H+? Uh oh, I thought I was limited to 2G...

 

I hope this was helpful. :)

 

Movistar is Telefonica's dba in Mexico and elsewhere.

 

Yes, it was helpful.  :tu:

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Pretty awesome.  It's likely throttling is in place, rather than limited you to EDGE (2G network).  They took HSPA+ and throttled you to 2G speeds.  I'm sure there's advantages of throttled HSPA as opposed to being limited to full-sped EDGE (which isn't much faster, anyways.)  Thanks for this post.  

 

I will say, pre-lollipop phones handle low signal zones a lot worse than their lollipop counterpart.  Lollipop tells applications that if there's no data session available to not use data services.  In KitKat, applications aren't quite as smart - they'll attempt to use data services, even if there is no data services and this can cause the device to hang often and drains battery quite heavily.  I'm curious how much different your experience would've been on a newer phone.

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Yes, this could be a new Sprint commercial.

 

"With Sprint, when you travel to Mexico, do not worry about a big roaming bill -- just worry about being robbed, abducted, or killed."

 

;)

 

AJ

 

I'm not sure I should like this. Although I do get the humor in it, it's still a scary topic.

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Pretty awesome.  It's likely throttling is in place, rather than limited you to EDGE (2G network).  They took HSPA+ and throttled you to 2G speeds.  I'm sure there's advantages of throttled HSPA as opposed to being limited to full-sped EDGE (which isn't much faster, anyways.)  Thanks for this post.  

 

I will say, pre-lollipop phones handle low signal zones a lot worse than their lollipop counterpart.  Lollipop tells applications that if there's no data session available to not use data services.  In KitKat, applications aren't quite as smart - they'll attempt to use data services, even if there is no data services and this can cause the device to hang often and drains battery quite heavily.  I'm curious how much different your experience would've been on a newer phone.

 

The iPhone 6 also experienced faster battery drain than it would in the US, but not as devastating as my battery loss.

 

I am on Android 4.3.

 

 

I bet the battery drain is partially because of the slow speed. The radio has to be active longer, draining the battery. I used to experience this a few years ago pre-NV when my phone idled on overloaded sites.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6

 

This is a good point. Of course it also meant my screen was on longer every time I tried to do anything as well.

 

Anybody have any thoughts on my theory that my phone was actively searching for a native Sprint signal?

 

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Yes, this could be a new Sprint commercial.

 

"With Sprint, when you travel to Mexico, do not worry about a big roaming bill -- just worry about being robbed, abducted, or killed."

 

;)

 

AJ

 

Everyone seems to make the same remarks when visiting Mexico, of course if you hang in shady areas or tend to engage in illegal activities you will be exposed to these type of crimes.

 

Recently traveled to Mexico City, Puebla and Tlaxcala for business purposes and found no problem whatsoever.  Of course, you always have to take precautions as a foreigner as you are easily identified in the crowd, due to what you are wearing, your accent and/or actions.

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.I too had a very good experience while roaming in Rosarito. Connected my phone to Movistar and was able to use text, and 2g data.

 

I did talk to an international Sprint rep before the trip, the same as the OP, just to make sure everything was going to be ok. The rep was very knowledgeable in this and directed me to the proper settings.

 

Turn CDMA international roaming off,

Turn GSM roaming ON

 

And that's it

 

For Iphones, just turn CDMA international roaming off and your set..

 

 

Forgot to mention that with the addition of wifi calling the experience was great. I was able to make phone calls using my phone and receive texts just like being a native service.

 

 

 

Sent from my 831C using Tapatalk

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I also headed to Scotland (large swaths of the countryside is still on GPRS :o ) last week and had great service on O2. Purchased the 'higher speed' data pack which worked marvelously on both my S6e and my traveling partners S4T. I made sure that our phone was only in GSM/UMTS mode though, it looks like you were using Automatic, which I assume kept scanning for CDMA every once in a while.

 

Overall, great experience and I hope they add the Caribbean soon!

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Overall, great experience and I hope they add the Caribbean soon!

 

Me too. Using Digicel or Lime would cover nearly all of the islands that are most travelled to in the Caribbean.

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I also headed to Scotland (large swaths of the countryside is still on GPRS :o ) last week and had great service on O2. Purchased the 'higher speed' data pack which worked marvelously on both my S6e and my traveling partners S4T. I made sure that our phone was only in GSM/UMTS mode though, it looks like you were using Automatic, which I assume kept scanning for CDMA every once in a while.

 

Overall, great experience and I hope they add the Caribbean soon!

 

Yes I was on automatic. I didnt think to change that

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I made sure that our phone was only in GSM/UMTS mode though, it looks like you were using Automatic, which I assume kept scanning for CDMA every once in a while.

 

 

This was probably the culprit. Automatic mode would continually search for CDMA. Its probably part of the reason why you had no signal when you landed.

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I hope this was helpful. :)

Extremely helpful. Thanks for the thorough detail of your experience. May I ask where all these speed tests where taken? Hopefully not at the airport since those tend to be heavily congested and may have tampered your speed tests. Also, did you receive a text as soon as you started roaming in D.F.?

 

 

I may end up going down south to Mexico next month (I'm hoping I don't have to). I know for a fact that the area I may be (potentially, but hope not to) visiting has no Iusacell or Movistar. Hopefully Telcel does not incur any charges. A chat representative said it shouldn't, just as long I use GSM (yeah, it makes no sense, but I have a chat transcript just in case Telcel is charged regularly).

 

 

Again, thanks for sharing your experience.

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Extremely helpful. Thanks for the thorough detail of your experience. May I ask where all these speed tests where taken? Hopefully not at the airport since those tend to be heavily congested and may have tampered your speed tests. Also, did you receive a text as soon as you started roaming in D.F.?

 

 

I may end up going down south to Mexico next month (I'm hoping I don't have to). I know for a fact that the area I may be (potentially, but hope not to) visiting has no Iusacell or Movistar. Hopefully Telcel does not incur any charges. A chat representative said it shouldn't, just as long I use GSM (yeah, it makes no sense, but I have a chat transcript just in case Telcel is charged regularly).

 

 

Again, thanks for sharing your experience.

 

The speed tests were not at the airport, they were in a residential area. Airport had the worst service of my entire trip.

 

I did not recieve any form of welcome text from Sprint or Movistar.

 

Yeah everyone I spoke to said that being charged would be impossible, but like you said, Im not confident that the phone wont latch onto a paid provider if theyre all thats available. Thats why I called three times, to make sure there was a record of me being told I would not be charged. I recommend you call the global number just to have that history on your account as well.

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The speed tests were not at the airport, they were in a residential area. Airport had the worst service of my entire trip.

 

I did not recieve any form of welcome text from Sprint or Movistar.

 

Yeah everyone I spoke to said that being charged would be impossible, but like you said, Im not confident that the phone wont latch onto a paid provider if theyre all thats available. Thats why I called three times, to make sure there was a record of me being told I would not be charged. I recommend you call the global number just to have that history on your account as well.

 

I noticed in Scotland that when I left my phone is GSM/UMTS, 'Automatic' selection mode - I ended up on Three/Hutchinson while in the countryside. The good news was that the data connection refused, so maybe that is 'protection.'

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What did the welcome text say? Did it state that data and texts are free? Can you attach a screenshot please

Edited by Pedro1278

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What did the welcome text say? Did it state that data and texts are free? Can you attach a screenshot please

He said he did not receive a text.

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Yep, I didn't receive any text either.

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Thank you for sharing! And I'll add another vote for adding the Caribbean. Would help me out immensely!

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Just looking at raw numbers, if Sprint were to partner with Digicel, Sprint would be able to add 31 more countries to their list of International Free Roaming countries. They'd have from Papua New Guinea to Bermuda and a bunch of islands in between covered.

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Just looking at raw numbers, if Sprint were to partner with Digicel, Sprint would be able to add nearly 30 more countries to their list of International Free Roaming countries. They'd have from Papua New Guinea to Bermuda and a bunch of islands in between covered.

Papua New Guinea? I'm sold now. I need coverage for my next run down there for shrunken heads.

 

Using Tapatalk on Nexus 6

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