Home - , , - Updated: The Best Prepaid Mobile International Voice & Text Deals

Updated: The Best Prepaid Mobile International Voice & Text Deals

Making international calls on your prepaid phone can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. The big mobile operators charge the unwary a fortune for calls to non-US numbers, even to Canada and Mexico. Verizon and T-Mobile charge as much as $1.99/minute to calls to European and Asian countries. AT&T is a little better, but still costly with per minute surcharges as high as $1.09 to China or .89 to the Philippines.

Fortunately there are a number of prepaid mobile operators with much lower international rates. PrepaidPhoneNews has gone though dozens of prepaid provider's international calling options to find the operators and plans that offer the least expensive international calling and messaging options .

This post is updated frequently as plans and pricing are constantly changing. 

Last Updated 19-April-2016: New $70/month Cricket Unlimited plan added.

Read on for my recommended prepaid operators and plans for international calling and texting.

Unlimited plans: If you make a lot of international calls, 500 minutes a month or more, an unlimited international plan can be a good deal. These plans are either stand alone plans that include unlimited domestic and international calls and texts or unlimited international add-ons to unlimited domestic plans. Either way, you will end up paying between $20 and $70 per month for unlimited domestic and international talk and text.

There are several things to watch out for with unlimited international plans:

  • They only cover calls to certain countries. Many sizable, but expensive to call, countries including the Philippines, El Salvador and Nigeria are usually not included.
  • For most covered countries only calls to landlines are included, not to mobile phones.
  • They may not be truly unlimited. I've seen a number of complaints from users who had their unlimited international plans shut off for using too many minutes. How many is too many? Your guess is as good as mine but I suspect more than 2000 minutes a month would be pushing the limit
In spite of these limitations, "unlimited" plans can still be a good deal. Just be sure the plan you choose covers the phone numbers you want to call and don't be surprised if you get cut off. If you do get your unlimited international plan canceled for overuse, please leave a comment so that other readers can get an idea of what the hidden limits are and which operators to avoid.

On all plans watch out for cumbersome access number dialing schemes. Several operators don't let you dial international calls directly. Instead you have to dial a 3 to 11 digit access number, wait for a prompt and then dial the international number. It's possible but tricky to automate the process by using a calling card app or by inserting pauses and waits in the address book dial strings, but I recommend choosing an operator that allows international direct dialing.

Here are my picks for the best deals in unlimited international prepaid plans. Click the operator name in the first column to jump to a detailed description of that operator's plans and services.

Unlimited International Plans
Plan Int'l Add-On Price Required Monthly Plan Price Network Countries Included Landlines Countries Included (Mobiles) Text Countries Int'l Access Number Notes
Ultra Mobile included $19 - $49 1 T-Mobile 11-60 6-24 200 direct
Lycamobile included $19 - $59 T-Mobile 11-70 5-48 supported, number of countries N/A direct Unlimited calls to up to 5 int'l numbers
H2O Wireless included $30 -$60 AT&T 50 8 supported, number of countries N/A 11 digit
GoSmart $10 $25 - $55 T-Mobile 70 0 200 direct $50 call credit
Simple Mobile Included $25 - $60 T-Mobile 65 20 supported, number of countries N/A direct Unlimited calls to up to 15 int'l numbers
Virgin Mobile $5 - $10 $35 - $55 Sprint 2 - 70 1 supported, number of countries N/A direct
Airvoice included $30 - $50 AT&T 80 9 supported, number of countries N/A 10 digit Unlimited calls to up to 10 int'l numbers
T-Mobile $5, $10, $15 $25 - $95 T-Mobile 1,2,70 1,2,32 200direct
Telcel America included $35 - $60 Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile 38 4 supported, number of countries N/A direct Unlimited calls to up to 15 int'l numbers
Virgin Mobile $5, $10 $30 - $50 Sprint 2, 70 1 180 direct
Boost Mobile $5, $10 $30 - $60 Sprint 2, 70 2, 8 180 direct
MetroPCS $5, $10 $40 - $65 T-Mobile 2, 75 2, 39 supported, number of countries N/A direct
Cricket 0, $5, $15 $50 - $70 AT&T Unlimited to Mexico & Canada included, $5/mo adds 36 more Unlimited to Mexico & Canada included, $15/mo adds 1000 minutes to 32 more35 direct
AT&T included $60 AT&T 70 1 190 direct Unlimited calls to and roaming in Mexico and Canada
Straight Talk included $60 At&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon 34 4 173 (Sprint based phones only) 11 digit Unlimited calls to up to 15 int'l numbers
Net10 included $65 At&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon 34 4 173 (Sprint based phones only) 11 digit Unlimited calls to up to 15 int'l numbers
1 Plus a "cost recovery fee" of 50¢ on airtime loads of $10 or less and $1 on airtime loads of $10.01 or more. $19 plan includes unlimited calls to 10 countries, $29 and higher plans include unlimited calls to 40 countries.

Unlimited Domestic Prepaid Plans with low per minute international rates. If you already use an unlimited monthly plan for domestic calls and need less than 1000 international minutes per month, it can be less expensive to pay by the minute for international calls. Several operators let you add some extra funds to your account that you can use to make international calls for as a little as a penny per minute. Some even include some free international calls with their international add-ons.

Rates vary widely and no one operator offers the best rate to every country. To help you compare I've defined a prepaid market basket of five frequently called countries. It includes the three nations (Canada, Mexico and the UK) that send the most visitors to the US, plus the three countries (Mexico, China and the Philippines.) with the most foreign born US residents.

For each provider I've computed the average Market Basket Price per Minute for calls to mobile phones in the five countries. Here are the best deals.

Unlimited Monthly Plans with Low Per Minute International Rates
OperatorMarket Basket Price / MinuteNetworkMonthly Plan PriceInt'l Call Credit IncludedInt'l Text RateInt'l Access Number
Ultra Mobile2.8¢T-Mobile$19 - $49 1$1.25 - $12.50 2freedirect
NET105.5¢T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon$25 - $75nonefree on Sprint
N/A on others
10 digit
Expo Mobile5.56¢Sprint$19.00 - $60$0 -$10freedirect
Lycamobile5.8¢T-Mobile$23 - $550 - $7.50freedirect
Red Pocket Mobile7.4¢AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint$19.99 - $59.990 - $2Free on T-Mobile & Sprint, 200 free on AT&T otherwise 10¢ ea.direct
Virgin Mobile17¢Sprint$30 - $50none15¢direct
Boost Mobile17¢Sprint$35 - $55none10¢direct
1 Plus a "cost recovery fee" of 50¢ on airtime loads of $10 or less and $1 on airtime loads of $10.01 or more.
2 $19 plan includes unlimited free calls to 10 countries (mobiles in 4) $29 and higher plans include free calls to 43 countries (mobiles included in 10). $29 and higher plans also include 1000 free minutes to landlines in 45 countries and mobiles in 17 including Mexico.

Pay as you go: For light users (under approximately 300 combined domestic and international minutes and texts per month) a pay as you go plan is usually the least expensive option. The best of these plans charge about 5¢ per domestic minute, 6¢ and up per international minute and 2¢ per domestic or international text. Here are the pay as you go plans with the best international rates.

International Pay As You Go
OperatorMarket Basket Price / MinuteNetworkPer Minute Domestic RateMin. Monthly Plan Cost Domestic / Int'l Text RateInt'l Access Number
Airvoice $10 Plan9.8¢AT&T.04$10 .02/.1010 digit
Lycamobile10.8¢T-Mobile.02.0083free incoming .04/.12 outgoingDirect
Airvoice PayGo15.8¢AT&T.10$3.33 .10/.1010 digit
Red Pocket Mobile16.4¢AT&T or Sprint.10$5 (Sprint) or $8.33 (AT&T).10/.10Direct
H2O $25 Plan22.66¢AT&T.025$25.025/.10Direct
H2O Pay As You Go25.06¢AT&T.05$3.33.05/.10Direct

International calling apps and services: There are many Android and iOS apps that let you make international calls for free including Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype, Viber, KakoTalk and Line.  These apps let you make completely free calls using WiFi provided the person you are calling has the same app. Most of these apps can also make calls to international phone numbers inexpensively.

If you need call actual international phone numbers occasionally, Google Voice is a good option. Rates are low and unlike with some of the other calling apps, the money you add to your Google Voice account does not expire. Sample rates per minute for calling mobile phones in the market basket countries are: Canada free, China 1¢, Mexico 5¢, Philippines 15¢, UK 3¢ for a market basket price of 4.8¢/minute, which beats the per minute rates of every operator except Ultra Mobile. When you sign up for Google Voice, you get a one dollar credit to make international calls. After that the minimum top-up is $10 and Google Voice credit never expires. Google Voice makes calls using cellular voice, not data so if you pay per minute for local calls that will increase the market basket price. Google Hangouts cam do WiFi calling at the same rates as Google Voice using your Google Voice balance.

Recommendations: I advising choosing based on price and which network (T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon or AT&T) works best for you. There are some especially good deals if you can use T-Mobile, including Ultra Mobile for the lowest priced unlimited plan, 1000 free international minutes, inexpensive international rates and $5 to $20 in free international call credit per month and Lycamobile for the lowest domestic and international pay as you go voice rates.

Text Only: If you mainly want to send international texts, Airvoice, AT&T, Expo, Ultra and Lycamobile include unlimited international text messaging with all monthly plans. On pay as you go, the best deals are 10¢ per international text from Airvoice, RedPocket or H2O.

International roaming: The following operators and plans include unlimited voice and text roaming and in some cases data roaming in Mexico: AT&T GoPhone $60 plan (includes data), Cricket $50 and $60 plans (includes data), Simple Mobile $35 and higher plans, Telcel America $20 7 day plan and $35 and higher monthly plans (all include data), T-Mobile $50 and higher Simple Choice Plans (includes data).

Canadian roaming is included with the: AT&T GoPhone $60 plan (includes data), Cricket $50 and $60 plans (includes data), T-Mobile $50 and higher Simple Choice Plans (includes data).

The Details: here's a bit more about each of the operators mentioned in the table above. The operators are listed alphabetically. Click the operator's name to go to their webpage:

Airvoice (888-944-2355) is an AT&T MVNO that's been in business since 1999. Airvoice has monthly and pay as you go plans

Monthly unlimited plans all have unlimited domestic talk and and unlimited domestic and international texts
  • $20/month includes 100 MB* of data and unlimited international calling to 60+ countries
  • $30/month includes 1 GB* of data and unlimited international calling to 60+ countries
  • $50/month includes 5 GB* of data and unlimited international calling to 60+ countries
* Only the first half of data (50 MB, 500 MB or 2.5 GB) is high speed. The second half is throttled to 128 Kbps or less.

Pay as you go: Airvoice has two pay as you go plans:
  • Pay As You Go: 10¢/min, 10¢/text, 6.6¢/MB, $1/month fee, minimum top up is $10 every 90 days
  • $10 Talk & Text: 4¢/min, 2¢/text, 6.6¢/MB, no monthly fee, minimum top up is $10 every 30 days
Unlimited International Plans:
Unlimited international calls to landlines in 80 countries and mobile numbers in eight (list of covered countries) are included with $30 and $50 monthly plans.

International add ons:
A $10 intentional add-on can be added to any plan. It provides the same unlimited international calls to landlines in 80 countries and mobile numbers in eight (list of covered countries) that's included with plans priced $30 and higher. With this add-on pay as you go and $10 plan users pay the same 10¢ or 4¢ per minute for covered international calls as they do for domestic calls.

Pay per use international call credit can be added to any plan by purchasing PayGo International Long Distance PINs in $5 increments. Added funds are good for 180 days and unused funds roll over as long as the customer refills before expiration. Sample rates per minute: Mexico landline 2¢, India landline 2¢, Philippines landline 14¢, UK mobile 4¢ (lookup rates).

Airvoice requires dialing a 10 digit access code for international calls.

Airvoice Basket prices: Calling mobiles: Canada 0 or 0.9¢; Mexico 5¢; China 0 or 2¢; UK 4.1¢; Philippines 17¢ - Total 28.94¢ / 5 = 5.8¢ ($20 plan), 5.22¢ (plans $30 and higher), 15.8¢ (pay as you go), 9.8¢ ($10 Talk & Text).

Airvoice Mobile International Messaging: free on monthly plans, 10¢/each on pay as you go and $10 plans. International MMS (picture messages) are 10¢/each to send and receive on all plans. International MMS on monthly plans are funded using a $10 Cash Card. Unused cash card balances never expire as long as the account remains active and the accounts plan isn't allowed to lapse,

Airvoice international rate page.

For more on Airvoice, see Prepaid Operator Profile - Airvoice Wireless

AT&T GoPhoneicon (800-901-9878) has monthly and pay as you go plans. Per use iinternational voice rates are very high but many plans include unlimited international text messaging and GoPhone's international add-ons can be a good value for frequent international callers.

Monthly domestic plans:
  • $30/month: unlimited domestic minutes, unlimited domestic and international text messaging
  • $45/month: unlimited domestic minutes, unlimited domestic and international text messaging, Unlimited data throttles after 2 GB.
International Plans:
  • $60/month: unlimited domestic minutes, unlimited domestic and international text messaging, unlimited data throttled after 5 GB data. Unlimited calls to Mexico and Canada including to mobile phones. Unlimited voice and text roaming and 4 GB of high speed roaming in Mexico and Canada.
Other plans
  • Pay as you go plan: 25¢/min, texts; 20¢ domestic, 25¢ international, $8.33/month minimum
  • $2 Daily plan: unlimited domestic minutes and unlimited domestic and international texts. $2 charged only on days used.
International add ons:
  • $5/month International Long Distance package can be added to any plan including the 10¢/minute and $2/day plans. It provides 250 minutes of calling to cell phones and landlines in Canada, India, China and several other countries and to landlines in over 50 countries (list of countries).
  • $10/month International Plus Long Distance package can be added to $45 and $60 monthly plans only. It includes 1000 minutes of calling to cell phones and landlines in Mexico, Canada, India, China and several other countries and to landlines in over 50 countries (list of countries).
  • $15/month East Asia/India package can be added to the 45 and $60 monthly plans only. It includes unlimited calls to landlines and mobile phones in China, India, Hong Kong, Singapore & South Korea and  reduced rates to 30 other countries (list) in East Asia. 
  • $15/month Latin America/Caribbean package can be added to the 45 and $60 monthly plans only. It provides lower per minute rates to 45 Caribbean and Latin American countries (list).
International Roaming: In addition to the Canadian and Mexican roaming included with the $60 Plan, GoPhone users on other plans can roam in Mexico and Canada. Calls are 25¢ per minute in Mexico and 39¢ in Canada. In both countries texts are 25¢ to send and 20¢ to receive, MMS are $1.30 to send and 25¢ to receive and data is $1.95/KB.

AT&T has international direct dialing (no access code required).

AT&T Market Basket prices (without international add-on): Calling mobiles: Canada 19¢; Mexico 26¢; China $1.09; UK 49¢; Philippines 89¢ - Total $2.92 / 5 = 58.4¢.

AT&T Market Basket prices (1st 1000 minutes with $10 add-on): Calling mobiles: Canada 0; Mexico 0; China 0; UK 49¢; Philippines 89¢ - Total $1.38 / 5 = 27.6¢.

AT&T Mobile International Messaging: 25¢/each.

AT&T Mobile international rate page.

For more on AT&T, see: Prepaid Operator Profile: AT&T GoPhone

Boost Mobile (866-402-7366) is one of Sprint's prepaid brands. All plans include unlimited domestic calls and messaging.

Monthly Data Boost unlimited plans
  • $35/month unlimited data throttled to 128 Kpbs after 2 GB 
  • $45/month unlimited data throttled to 128 Kpbs after 5 GB
  • $60/month unlimited, unthrottled
There's a $5/month discount for using auto-pay on all current Boost monthly plans.
International add ons:
  • $5/month - Todo Mexico Plus  ( Only available with current monthly plans.) Unlimited international texting, unlimited calling to Canada and Mexico including to mobile phones. Roaming in Mexico (supported phone required) Supported phones are:  iPhone5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, HTC Desire 626s, Huawei Union, Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016), Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S6, LG Flex II, LG G3, LG Tribute 5, ZTE Prestige.
  • $10/month - International Connect Plus unlimited international texting, unlimited calling to landlines in 70 countries (list of countries) and to mobiles in Mexico, Canada and 5 other countries. Discounted rates to over 200 countries (list of countries) . Available with all monthly plans.
Boost has international direct dialing (no access code required).

Boost Market Basket prices: Calling mobiles: Canada 10¢; Mexico 20¢; China 15¢; UK 20¢; Philippines 20¢ - Total $0.85 / 5 = 17¢.

Boost Mobile International Messaging: 10¢/each.

Boost Mobile international rate page.

For more on Boost, see Prepaid Operator Profile - Boost Mobile

Cricket Wireless (800-274-2538) is AT&T's value priced prepaid brand. It offers monthly plans only.

Monthly domestic plans: All include unlimited domestic calls and texts. 
  • $40/month ($35 with autopay) - 2.5GB high speed data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps or less
  • $50/month ($45 with autopay) - 5GB high speed data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps or less
  • $60/month ($55 with autopay) - 10GB high speed data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps or less
  • $70/month ($65 with autopay) - unlimited high speed data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps or less
The $50, $60, $70 plans also include:

  • Unlimited calls to Canadian and Mexican landlines and mobile phones plus
  • Unlimited MMS to Canada and Mexico
  • Unlimited international text messaging to 35 countries.

On all plans, high-Speed data is throttled to a maximum of 8 Mbps for LTE data and 4 Mbps for HSPA+. After the high-speed data cap is reached speed is further throttled to about 128 Kbps. Additional high-speed data is available for $10 for 1GB good for a month.

International add ons (available with $50 and $60 plans only):
  • $5/month Cricket International add-on that lets you make unlimited calls to landlines in 36 countries
  • $15/month Cricket International Extra add-on includes unlimited calls to landlines in 36 countries, unlimited international MMS picture messaging to the same 36 countries and 1000 minutes of calls to mobile phones in 32 countries and 
Pay per use international calling and messaging are not available on Cricket.

International Roaming:
$50, $60 and $70 plans include unlimited voice and SMS roaming in Mexico and Canada. Mexico and Canada roaming voice, messaging or data use must not exceed 50% of total use in any consecutive three month period.

Cricket has international direct dialing (no access code required).
For more on Cricket, see: Prepaid Operator Profile: Cricket Wireless (CDMA)

Expo Mobile (800-818-1597) Sprint MVNO with monthly plans and good international rates. They also have a pay as you go plan, which I don't recommend because, unlike most other operator's pay as you go plans, unused account balances do not roll over when the plan is renewed.

Expo allows activation of Sprint phones subject to Sprint's usual restrictions. Activation is free.

All plans except the $10/month pay as you go plan include unlimited domestic and international texts.

  • $10/90 days - pay as you go 2¢/domestic min, 2¢/domestic or int'l text, 5¢/MB, no rollover
  • $19/month - 500 minutes, no data
  • $30/month - unlimited minutes, no data
  • $35/month - unlimited minutes, 500MB of LTE data
  • $40/month - unlimited minutes. 1 GB of LTE data
  • $50/month - unlimited minutes. 2 GB of LTE data
  • $60/month - unlimited minutes. 3.5 GB of LTE data
Free international calling: $40 and higher plans include a $10/month international calling credit

Expo has international direct dialing (no access code required).

Expo Basket prices: Calling mobiles: Canada 0.5¢; Mexico 4.1¢; China 1¢; UK 8.1¢; Philippines 14.1¢ - Total 27.8¢ / 5 = 5.56¢ , 10.56¢ pay as you go.

Expo International Messaging: 2¢/text on pay as you go, free on other plans.

Expo Mobile international rate page

For more on Expo, see: Sprint and Sprint MVNOs Compared

Go Smart Mobile (877-582-7788 is owned by T-Mobile. Go Smart has a good unlimited international add-on but per minute international rates are high.

Monthly domestic plans: all include unlimited domestic voice and unlimited global text messaging (list of supported countries).

  • $25/month - no data
  • $35/month ($30 with auto pay) - unlimited data, throttled to 128 Kbps after 4 GB
  • $45/month - unlimited data, throttled to 128 Kbps after 10 GB
  • $55/month - unlimited data, throttled to 128 Kbps after 20 GB
LTE is not available. High speed data is 3G
    International add ons:
    • $10/month unlimited calls to landlines in 70 countries including all five market basket countries and unlimited text messaging to over 200 countries. List of GoSmart unlimited voice  countries. $50/month credit for calls to other countries and mobiles.
    GoSmart has international direct dialing (no access code required).

    GoSmart Basket prices: Calling mobiles: Canada 25¢; Mexico 25¢; China 20¢; UK 33¢; Philippines 48¢ - Total $1.51 / 5 = 30.2¢.

    GoSmart International Messaging: 10¢/each.

    Gosmart international rate page

    For more on GoSmart, see: T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNOs Compared

    H2O Wireless (800-643-4926) is an AT&T MVNO with monthly and pay as you go plans.

    Monthly Plans: All include unlimited domestic calls, unlimited international calls to 50 countries (list), including mobile numbers in 8 countries and unlimited domestic and international text messaging.

    • $30/month - 500 MB of data including LTE, $10 international call credit
    • $35/month - 500 MB of high speed data including LTE, unlimited throttled data, $10 international call credit
    • $40/month - 1 GB of high speed data including LTE, unlimited throttled data, $20 international call credit
    • $50/month - 2 GB of high speed data including LTE, unlimited throttled data, $20 international call credit
    • $60/month - 3 GB of high speed data including LTE, unlimited throttled data, $20 international call credit
    All monthly plans include unlimited calls to Mexican mobile phones "for a limited time".

    Pay as you go: H20 has two pay as you go plans:
    5¢/min, 5¢/SMS, 10c/MMS, 10¢/MB, $10 every 90 days minimum top up.
    2.5c/min, 2.5¢/SMS, 10¢/MMS, 10¢/MB, $25 every 30 days minimum top up.

    H2O claims that it supports international direct dialing but some users report it doesn't work. 
    If you get an insufficient funds error  when dialing direct try using the access number. There are different access numbers for monthly plans: 1-213-808-6199 and for PayGo plans: 1-562-252-0100.
    After dialing the access number:
    1) when you hear a dial tone dial the full international number starting with 011 followed by the country code and phone number.
    2) Do not press send or call after dialing the international number

    H2O Market Basket prices (unlimited plans)
    Calling mobiles: Canada 3.2¢; Mexico 28.7¢; China 0; UK 24.9¢; Philippines 39.9¢ - Total 96.7¢ / 5 = 19.34¢

    H2O Market Basket prices ($25/30 days pay as you go, add 2.5¢/min for $10/90 days plan)
    Calling mobiles: Canada 5.7¢; Mexico 31.2¢; China 6.1¢; UK 27.4¢; Philippines 42.4¢ - Total 112.8¢ / 5 = 22.56¢ (25.06 on $10/90 day plan)

    H2O International Messaging: free on monthly plans, 10¢/each on pay as you go

    H2O international rates (click "Destination Finder).

    For more on H2O, see: Prepaid Operator Profile: H2O Wireless

    Lycamobile (845-301-1612) is a T-Mobile MVNO with monthly and pay as you go plans and low international voice rates. The Lycamobile website is confusing and Lycanobile has a history of changing plans and pricing with little warning

    National Plans: All include unlimited domestic voice unlimited domestic and international text messaging.
    • $19/30 days - 100 MB of data at 4G speeds, 1000 minutes* to 11 countries
    • $35/30 days - unlimited data (2 GB at 4G speeds), unlimited calls* to 11 countries
    • $45/30 days - unlimited data (4 GB at 4G speeds), unlimited calls* to 11 countries
    • $55/30 days - unlimited data (10 GB at 4G speeds)
    International plans: All include unlimited domestic voice, unlimited domestic and international text messaging and unlimited throttled data. 
    • $23/30 days unlimited* calls to 11 countries, $1.50 international call credit, 100 MB high speed data, $1.50 international call credit
    • $29/30 days - unlimited* calls to 50 countries (landline) and 27 (mobile), 1000 minutes to 11 other countries, 500MB of high speed data,  $2.50 int'l call credit.
    • $39/30 days - same as $29 plan plus 150 minutes to 19 more countries, 750MB of high speed data, $6.25 int'l call credit.
    • $49/30 days, same as the $39 plan except 1GB of high speed data and a $12.50 int'l call credit
    • $59/30 days unlimited* calls to 70 countries (landline) and 48 (mobile),  1000 minutes to 11 other countries, 150 minutes to 19 more countries, 3GB of high speed data, 600 minutes to Nigeria (mobile), unlimited calls to Nigeria (landlines), $5 int'l call credit.
    * applies to the first 10 unique dialed numbers per month
    .Pay as you go: Domestic minutes are 2 cents, incoming texts are free, outgoing domestic texts are 4¢ and outgoing international texts are 12¢ cents each. Data is not available. There is no minimum payment but you must have a billable event (call, outgoing text or data use) every 90 days or your service will be cancelled.

    Lycamobile has international direct dialing

    Lycamobile Market Basket prices (unlimited plans, add .05/minute for pay as you go):
    Calling mobiles: Canada 5¢; Mexico 5¢; China 5¢; UK 5¢; Philippines 9¢ - Total 29¢ / 5 = 5.8¢ (unlimited) 10.8¢ (pay as you go)

    Lycamobile International Messaging: free on monthly plans, 12¢/each on pay as you go

    Lycamobile international rate page.

    For more on Lycamobile, see: T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNOs Compared

    MetroPCS (888-863-8768) which is part of T-Mobile has monthly plans only. The base plans don't include any international features but international add-ons are competitively priced. 

    Monthly unlimited plans: all include unlimited domestic talk and messaging.
    • $40/month unlimited data throttled to 128 Kpbs after 1 GB
    • $40/month unlimited data throttled to 128 Kpbs after 3 GB
    • $50/month unlimited data throttled to 128 Kpbs after 5 GB
    • $60/month unlimited data om phone. Hotspot data  throttled to 128 Kpbs after 8 GB
    International add ons:
    • $5/month - Value Bundle includes unlimited international text messaging plus call screening, call forwarding, unlimited directory assistance and Voicemail to Text. Available with $30 and higher plans.
    • $5/month - North America Unlimited calling and texting to Canada and Mexico including to mobile phones. Unlimited voice, text and data roaming in Canada and Mexico. Unlimited texting to most countries Available with $40 and higher plans.
    • $10/month - World Calling unlimited international texting, unlimited calling to landlines in 75 countries (list) and 200 minutes to mobiles in 39 countries (list), 20 minutes of calls landlines and mobiles in Cuba. 200 minutes, 200 outgoing text, unlimited incoming texts and 200 MB of data while roaming in 21 countries (list) Available with $50 and higher plans only.
    Without one of these plans you can only make international calls on MetroPCS by using a prepaid calling card or an international calling app like Google Voice.

    MetroPCS International Messaging: only available with $5 and $10 international add-ons

    MetroPCS has international direct dialing (no access code required).

    MetroPCS Add-on services page (includes international)

    For more on MetroPCS, see Prepaid Operator Profile - MetroPCS

    NET10 (877-836-2368) is a brand of América Móvil's Tracfone division. It's an MVNO that uses all four US national operators (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint). NET10 offers different phone models for each network as well as AT&T and T-Mobile based SIMs and a Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) program for Verizon and Sprint phones. It has an unlimited international plan and pay as you go international calling on monthly and pay as you go plans.

    Unlimited International Plan: NET10's $65/month ($60 with autopay) unlimited international plan includes unlimited domestic calling and messaging, 5 GB of high-speed data, unlimited data throttled to 64 Kbps or less and unlimited calls to landlines in 39 countries, including all the market basket countries except the Philippines and the UK and to cell phones in Canada, China, Mexico, India and Singapore (list of covered countries). Users can only make international calls to 15 unique numbers per month.

    International Text Messaging: Net10's unlimited plans include unlimited international texting to 173 countries, but only with phones that run on the Sprint network.

    Monthly domestic plans:
    • $25/month - non-smartphones only,1000 voice minutes, texts charged at 1 min ea., MMS 1.5 min plus data used, data 1 min per min of browsing. This plan offers calling to 100 countries for 5 cents per minute extra. Free online registration is required to use international calling feature. International direct dialing is not supported, you need to dial a two character (*1) access code and wait for a prompt before dialing the international number.
      • $35/month ($31.50 with auto-refill) -  unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited MMS, 500 MB   high-speed data, unlimited data throttled to 64 Kbps or less.
      • $40/month ($36 with auto-refill) - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited MMS, 1.5 GB  high-speed data, unlimited data throttled to 64 Kbps or less.
      • $50 ($45 with auto-refill) /month - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited MMS, 5 GB high-speed data, unlimited data throttled to 64 Kbps or less.
      International add on:
      NET10 offers a $10 Global Card that lets you call landlines and mobiles in over 100 countries at competitive per minute rates. Used balance doesn't expire as long as you make an international call at least every 180 days and your NET10 plan is active.
        Net10 Global Card Market Basket prices: Calling mobiles: Canada 1.53¢; Mexico 4.95¢; China 1.35¢; UK 4.5¢; Philippines 15.2¢ - Total 27.53¢ / 5 = 5.5%¢.

        International direct dialing is not supported on NET10's unlimited international plan and $10 Global Card, both require using an 10 digit access number for international calls. There's an Android app that automates calling the access number when you place an international call

        Pay as You Go: NET10 offers pay as you go plans priced at $15/per month and up with per minute rates of 6.67¢ to10¢ depending on the denomination of the refill used. Texts are charged as half a voice minute. This plan lets you make calls to 100 countries for 5 cents per minute extra. Free online registration is required to use the international feature. International direct dialing is not supported, you need to dial a two character (*1) access code and wait for a prompt before dialing the international number.

        For more on Net10 see: Prepaid Operator Profile - NET10

        Red Pocket Mobile, (888-993-3888) has traditionally used the AT&T network and recently added new plans and service that use the Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon networks.

        GSMA 30 day Plans (AT&T):

        • $24.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, 100 MB data, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile) and 6 other counties (landines) and 4 (mobile) 
        • $29.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, , unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 500 MB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile), 200 international texts and a $2 international call credit.
        • $39.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 1 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile), 200 international texts and a $2 international call credit.
        • $49.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 2 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile), 200 international texts and a $2 international call credit.
        • $59.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 3 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile), 200 international texts and a $2 international call credit.
        • $69.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 4 GB), $2 international call credit, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile)
        CDMA 30 day Plans (Verizon):

        • $19.99 - 300 minutes, unlimited messaging, 1 GB data. Only available with non-LTE phones.
        • $29.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, 500 MB data, $2 international call credit, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile) and a $2 international call credit. Only available with non-LTE phones.
        • $30.99 - 3000 minutes, unlimited messaging, 500 MB data. LTE phones allowed and LTE available.
        • $34.99 -300 minutes, unlimited messaging, unlimited data  (throttled after 2 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile). Only available with non-LTE phones.
        • $36.99 - unlimited minutes and messaging, 1 GB data. LTE phones allowed and LTE available.
        • $39.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data (throttled after 1 GB), $2 international call credit, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile).Only available with non-LTE phones.
        • $49.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data (throttled after 2 GB), $2 international call credit, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile).Only available with non-LTE phones.
        • $52.99  - unlimited minutes and messaging, 4 GB data. LTE phones allowed and LTE available.
        • $59.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data (throttled after 3 GB), $2 international call credit, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile). Only available with non-LTE phones.
        • $64.99 - unlimited minutes and messaging, 6 GB data. LTE phones allowed and LTE available.
        CDMAS Monthly Plans (Sprint):

        • $29.99 - unlimited minutes, unlimited texts (including international), 500 MB of data.
        • $34.99 - 300 minutes, unlimited texts (including international), unlimited data (throttled after 2 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile)
        • $49.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data (throttled after 1 GB), $2 international call credit, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile)
        • $59.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited data (throttled after 3 GB), $2 international call credit, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile)
        GSMT Monthly Plans (T-Mobile):
        • $19.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited international texts, 100 MB data, $2 international call credit
        • $24.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited international texts, 250 MB data, $2 international call credit 
        • $29.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited international texts, unlimited data including 1 GB data, unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile) and a $2 international call credit.
        • $34.99 - 300 minutes, unlimited messaging, unlimited international texts, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 2 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile)
        • $39.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited international texts, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 1 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile), 200 international texts and a $2 international call credit.
        • $49.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited international texts, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 2 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile) and a $2 international call credit.
        • $59.99 - Unlimited domestic voice and messaging, unlimited international texts, unlimited data including LTE (throttled after 4 GB), unlimited calls to China and Hong Kong (landline and mobile), 200 international texts and a $2 international call credit.

        The $2 international credit that comes with some plans is good for up to 200 minutes of free international calling per month. Unused international credit rolls over from one month to the next. You can check your international calling credit balance at ica.redpocketmobile.com. Log in using your phone number and the last four digits of your SIM card ID.

        Pay as you go - Available on AT&T or Sprint only: Domestic minutes are 10 cents, domestic texts are 10 cents each and data is 30 cents per MB on AT&T. Pay as you go data is not available on Sprint. Minimum payment is $25 every 90 days ($8.33/month). Pay as you go customers can call landlines in Taiwan and South Korea and landlines and cell phones in Canada, China, Singapore and Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City, Mexico for the same price (10 cents/minute) as calls within the US.

        Red Pocket has international direct dialing (no access code required)

        Red Pocket Market Basket prices - monthly plans: Calling mobiles: Canada 1¢; Mexico 10¢; China 0; UK 10¢; Philippines 15¢ - Total 36¢ / 5 = 7.2¢

        Red Pocket Market Basket prices - pay as you go (includes 10¢/minute base rate): Calling mobiles: Canada 10¢; Mexico 10¢; China 10¢; UK 20¢; Philippines 32¢ - Total 82¢ / 5 = 16.4¢

        Red Pocket International Messaging: international texts are 10¢ each on pay as you go plans and monthly plans that don't include international texts. International MMS are 20¢ each

        Red Pocket international rate page.

        For more on Red Pocket see: Prepaid Operator Profile: Red Pocket Mobile

        Simple Mobile (877-878-7908) is yet another Tracfone brand that uses on the T-Mobile network only with no roaming.

        Unlimited International Plans: Simple Mobile has five plans with international calling and messaging. All include unlimited domestic calling and unlimited domestic and international texting and unlimited voice and text roaming in Mexico.

        • $25//month - unlimited domestic and international calling and texting, No data.
        • $40//month ($37.50 with auto pay) - unlimited domestic and international calling and texting, 4 GB of high speed data and unlimited 64 Kbps throttled data.
        • $50//month ($47 with auto pay) - unlimited domestic and international calling and texting, 5 GB of high speed data and unlimited 64 Kbps throttled data.
        • $55//month ($50 with auto pay) - unlimited domestic and international calling and texting, 10 GB of high speed data and unlimited 64 Kbps throttled data.
        • $60/month - unlimited domestic and international calling and texting and unlimited high speed data.
        * unlimited calls to landlines in 65 countries, including all the market basket countries except the Philippines and to cell phones in 20 countries including China, Mexico, India and Canada. Click here for a list of included countries. Unlimited calls can only be made to up to 15 unique international numbers per month.

        For calls to countries that aren't included with the internationals plans or if you need more minutes, there's a $10 Global Card that lets you call landlines and mobiles in over 100 countries at competitive per minute rates. The unused card balance doesn't expire as long as you an international call at least every 180 days and your Simple Mobile plan is active.

        International Text Messaging: all Simple Mobile plans include unlimited international texting

        Simple Mobile supports  international direct dialing. 

        For more about Simple Mobile see Prepaid Operator Profile: Simple Mobile.

        Straight Talk (800-299-7784) is another brand of América Móvil's Tracfone division. Like NET10, it offers service on all four national operators (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint). Straight Talk offers different phone models for each network as well as AT&T and T-Mobile based SIMS and a Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) program for Verizon and Sprint phones.

        Unlimited International Plan: Straight Talk offers a single $60/month unlimited international plan. It includes unlimited domestic voice calling and messaging, 5 GB/month of high-speed data, unlimited throttled data and unlimited calls to landlines in 34 countries, including all the market basket countries except the Philippines and to cell phones in Canada, China, India and Mexico (list of covered countries). The plan also includes 400 minutes per month to mobile phones on the América Móvil owned Claro network in Guatemala. Users can only make international calls to 15 unique numbers per month.

        For calls to countries that aren't included with the internationals plans or if you need more minutes, there's $10 Global Card that lets you call landlines and mobiles in over 100 countries at competitive per minute rates. The unused card balance doesn't expire as long as you an international call at least every 180 days and your StraightTalk plan is active.

        International Text Messaging: Straight Talk's unlimited plan includes unlimited international texting to 173 countries, but only on phones that run on the Sprint network.

        Straight Talk requires using an 11 digit access number or an Android app for international calls.

        For more on Straight Talk see: Prepaid Operator Profile - Straight Talk.

        Telcel America (800-220-9518) is another brand of América Móvil's Tracfone division. It's targeted at users do do a lot of international calling, especially to Mexico. Telcel America currently only offers phones that use the T-Mobile network. T-Mobile based SIMs are also available. In the past, Verizon or Sprint based phones were also depending on phone model.

        International Plans: Telcel America offers five plans with international calling and messaging plus roaming in Mexico. All include unlimited domestic calling and unlimited domestic and international messaging, unlimited calls to landlines in 38 countries (list of covered countries) and mobile phones in Mexico, Canada, China and India. Unlimited international calls can be made to up to 15 unique international numbers per month.

        Unlimited Voice and text and data roaming in Mexico is also included but only with GSM (T-Mobile based) Telcel phones and SIMs. Data used in Mexico counts against the plan's high speed data allowance
        • $20/7 days unlimited data (throttled to 64 Kpbs after 2 GB)
        • $35/30 days unlimited data (throttled to 64 Kpbs after 1 GB, 2 GB until 3/31/16)
        • $45/30 days unlimited data (throttled to 64 Kpbs after 2 GB)
        • $55/30 days unlimited data (throttled to 64 Kpbs after 4 GB)
        • $60/30 days unlimited data (throttled to 64 Kpbs after 10 GB)

        For calls to countries that aren't included with the internationals plans or if you need more minutes, there's $10 Global Card that lets you call landlines and mobiles in over 100 countries at competitive per minute rates. The unused card balance doesn't expire as long as you an international call at least every 180 days and your Telcel America plan is active.

        International Text Messaging: all Telcel America plans include unlimited international texting

        Telcel America supports international direct dialing.
        For more about Telcel America click here.

        T-Mobile (800-866-2453)

        Monthly Plans: except for the $30 plan, all include unlimited domestic voice and unlimited domestic text messaging.
        • $25/month - Unlimited talk amd text only, no data
        • $30/month - 100 minutes, unlimited texting, 5GB of unthrottled data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps (plan only available with phones or SIMs purchased at Walmart or activated on a new line at prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/prepaid-activate. 
        • $40/month Simply Prepaid - 3GB of unthrottled data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps
        • $50/month Simple Choice - 2GB of unthrottled data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps.
        • $50/month Simply Prepaid - 5GB of unthrottled data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps
        • $60/month Simply Prepaid - 10GB of unthrottled data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps
        • $65/month Simple Choice - 6GB of unthrottled data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps.
        • $80/month  Simple Choice- 10GB of unthrottled data, unlimited data throttled to 128 Kbps.
        • $95/month  Simple Choice- unlimited, unthrottled data.
        International calling and roaming: Simple Choice plans include unlimited calls to Mexican and Canadian landlines and mobiles and unlimited voice, messaging and data (including high-speed data up to plan limits) roaming in Canada and Mexico. 

        International add ons:
        • $5/month ($25 plan only) - Unlimited international texts, unlimited calls to Mexican landlines
        • $5/month (Simply Prepaid plans only) - Unlimited calls to Mexican and Canadian landlines and mobiles and unlimited voice, messaging and data (including high-speed data up to plan limits) roaming in Canada and Mexico.
        • $10/month: Unlimited international texts, unlimited calls to landlines in 70+ countries and discounted calling to over 200 countries.
        • $15/month:  Unlimited international texts, unlimited calling to landlines in 70+ countries, unlimited calling to mobile numbers in 32 countries  List of countries covered.
        International Text Messaging: Simple Choice plans include unlimited international texting. On Simply Prepaid plans international texts are 10¢ each.

        T-Mobile has international direct dialing (no access code required)

        For more on T-Mobile see: Prepaid Operator Profile - T-Mobile

        TracFone (800-867-7183) is owned by América Móvil and has pay as you go plans only. Tracfone pricing is quite complicated:

        TracFone feature phones: the price per domestic voice minute ranges from 4.4¢ to 11¢ per minute depending on the refill denomination for "triple minutes" phones. There are also "double minutes" phones which you should avoid as they increase the per minute cost by 50%.

        Domestic texts are charged as a third of a minute. Data is either half a minute per minute of browsing (older phones) or 1.5 voice minutes per KB of data (phones released since June, 2012).

        TracFone Android phones and BYOP SIMs have a unique "triple-triple" pricing model with separate buckets for minutes, data and texts. Price per minute, text or MB of data varies from 4.4¢ to 11¢ depending on refill denomination.
        The minimum monthly cost is $6.67 ($19.99 refill every 90 days).

        "Free" international calling: Tracfone users can make no surcharge calls to landlines in 60 counties and mobile phones in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, San Marino, Singapore and Taiwan.

        $10 Global Card: Lets you make calls to phones not included with in free international calling. The card balance does not expire as long as the card is active.

        Sample rates per minute to call mobile phones in the market basket countries theat aren't included in "free" international calling plan. Mexico 4.95¢, Philipines 15.18¢, United Kingdom 4.5¢. These rates are in addition to the 4.4 to 33 cents per minute that TracFone charges for domestic calls.

        TracFone International Neighbors: On request, TracFone will give you up to three local Mexican numbers that friends and relatives can use to call your TracFone for the price of a local call. Click here for more details and to signup.

        Tracfone requires an 11 digit access code for international calls.

        TracFone doesn't support sending international texts.

        For more on Tracfone, see Prepaid Operator Profile - Tracfone

        Ultra Mobile (888-777-0446) is a T-Mobile MVNO which offers monthly plans only. All plans include unlimited international texts at no extra charge.

        Monthly Plans: Ultra Mobile has five monthly plans, all of which include unlimited domestic calling, unlimited international text messaging and unlimited international calls to either 11 ($19 and $29 plans) or 60 countries (list). All plans include unlimited calls to Mexican and Canadian numbers, including mobiles. $29, $39 and $49 plans also include 1000 minutes of no extra charge international calling to landlines in 45 additional countries and mobiles in 18. The difference between the plans include the amount of data and how much international call credit is included with each plan. The choices are:

        • $19/month - unlimited calls to landlines in 11 countries and mobiles in 6, a $1.25/month international call credit and 100MB of data.
        • $29/month - unlimited calls to landlines in 60 countries and mobiles in 24, 1000 minutes to landlines in 17 additional countries and mobiles in 3, a $2.50/month international call credit and 1 GB of data.
        • $34/month - unlimited calls to landlines in 11 countries and mobiles in 6, and unlimited data (throttled after 2 GB)
        • $39/month - unlimited calls to landlines in 60 countries and mobiles in 24, 1000 minutes to landlines in 17 additional countries and mobiles in 3, a $2.50/month international call credit and unlimited data (throttled after 2 GB).
        • $49/month - unlimited calls to landlines in 60 countries and mobiles in 24, 1000 minutes to landlines in 17 additional countries and mobiles in 3, a $12.50/month international call credit and unlimited data (throttled after 1 GB).
        Ultra adds a "cost recovery fee" to all airtime purchases from retail locations and 3rd party online PIN sellers. The fee will be 50¢ on airtime loads of $10 or less and $1 on airtime loads of $10.01 or more. For airtime purchases from the Ultra Mobile site Ultra adds sales and use taxes and Federal Universal Service Fund Fees. These taxes and fees vary with the user's location.

        A unique Ultra Mobile feature is "Call Me Free", a no extra charge service that provides local access numbers in 44 countries that non-US family members and friends can use to call Ultra customers for the price of a local call.

        Ultra Mobile has international direct dialing (no access code required)

        Ultra Market Basket prices (all plans): Canada 0¢; Mexico 0¢; China 0¢; UK 5¢; Philippines 9¢ - Total 14¢ / 5 = 2.8¢

        Ultra Mobile International Messaging: no extra charge, unlimited domestic and international messaging is included with all plans

        Ultra Mobile international rate page.

        For more on Ultra Mobile, see: T-Mobile and T-Mobile MVNOs Compared

        Virgin Mobile (888-322-1122), is owned by Sprint and offers monthly plans only.

        Monthly plans. all include unlimited domestic text messaging
        • $30/month - unlimited domestic minutes, unlimited data throttled after 500 MB
        • $40/month - unlimited domestic minutes, unlimited data throttled after 4 GB
        • $50/month - unlimited domestic minutes, unlimited data throttled after 6 GB
        International add ons:

        $5/month: unlimited calls to Mexican landlines and Canadian landlines and mobiles, unlimited international text messaging.

        $10/month: unlimited calls to landlines in 70 countries and Canadian landlines and mobiles,  1000 minutes/month to Mexican mobiles. Discounted rates to other countries, unlimited international text messaging.

        Virgin has international direct dialing (no access code required)

        Virgin Mobile Market Basket prices: Canada 10¢; Mexico 20¢; China 15¢; UK 20¢; Philippines 20¢ - Total 85¢ / 5 = 17¢

        Virgin Mobile International Text Messaging: 15¢/each

        Virgin Mobile international rate page.

        For more on Virgin Mobile see: Prepaid Operator Profile - Virgin Mobile


        Sidewalk flags image cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Magliery

        95 comments:

        Comment Page :
        1. Do not forget there are other MVNO's than the ones mentikoned here. They offer other plans that rival the carriers mentioned bere.

          ReplyDelete
        2. Tracfone has a great International Long Distance plan. No additional charge at all.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. This post mentioned Tracfone and links to the post that describes Tracphone ILD.
            -You have cumbersome access number and language choice dialing.
            -You have to buy a Tracfone dumbphone.
            -You have to pay relatively high Tracfone minute rates.
            -You can only call cellphones in a handful of major countries.
            -You deal with Tracfone's poor customer service when something goes wrong.

            Delete
        3. PTel has about 40 countries that add a penny a minute to their 5 cents a minute PayGo plan, so that brings it down to 6 cents a minute if the countries you call are in there. Haven't tried it though, and hopefully I read it right:

          List of countries and a note that "you pay for International per minute rate plus regular airtime rate at all times" is here: http://www.platinumtel.com/plans/intlrates

          ReplyDelete
        4. It does require a 3 digit code in front of the phone number, though. Better than 11 digits!

          ReplyDelete
        5. SpotMobile is another, Airvoice, Jolt, H2O.....competitive as well.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Yes they are. Spot Mobile is now defunct.

            Delete
        6. What Lycamobile? i just switched from simplemobile and i believe their rates for call are:

          Rates for paygo:
          2 cents - per minute of talk
          4 cents - per text message
          6 cents - per mb of web

          http://slickdeals.net/f/5936054-Lycamobile-T-Mobile-MVNO-with-Paygo-Rates-of-2cents-minute-4cents-text-6cents-MB-Also-Unlimited-Talk-and-Text-for-19-per-month

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Have you seen their international calling rates? Not good, certainly too expensive for "best" consideration here.

            Delete
          2. Have been using LycaMobile for over a year now. $29 a month - unlimited calls to 5 international numbers. In my case, I regularly call 2-4 family members (in India). So, this is perfect for me.

            Delete
        7. Recommendations: "PTel for the lowest domestic and international pay as you go rates."
          Is this still your recommendation?

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Yes, although if you don't care about international texting Lyca is better. But 12¢/text kills Lyca for general use.

            Delete
        8. Lycamobile International Add-on Edit:
          "$20/month - same as the $10 plan but includes 17 additional calls and calls to Mexican mobile phones."
          17 additional countries?

          ReplyDelete
        9. Just bought international call from Airvioce, and they text me a passcode for logging in ILD, but I couldn't. I Called the service couple times, they are always busy. Useless!

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. I have Airvoice and never a problem with the ILD. You have to be extra careful with the website they use. It's a thrid party company. Formerly Vintalk(Vincall). They are an abysmal company. Thankfully Airvoice took over the site even though Vincall still owns it outright. From my experience the reps are not that busy to help with the issue. All carriers have a hold time. The ILD rates on Airvoice, SpotMobile, and UltraMobile are the top 3. Airvoice is the only AT&T while the other 2 are T-Mobile native network based. Take your pick.

            Delete
        10. telcel, has 1000 minutes to cell to mexico now

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Only 400 minutes to Mexican cellphones are included.
            1000 world-wide >destinations, whatever that means.

            Delete
        11. Any input re: call plan from US to India?

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. I didn't look at rates to India specifically when I researched this article but I believe all the unlimited international plans mentioned cover calls to landlines in India and most cover calls to mobiles too.

            On the pay per minute international plans calls to India are typically pretty low.

            Determine how many minutes of calls to India you need and which network works best in your location. For the operators that offer plans you need on your preferred network(s), click the links to the operator's site in each one's detail section to verify if India is covered and at what price.

            Delete
        12. Dennis, you should update information about PTel. Now you can call international directly without that 3 digit access number.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Not according to the PTel website ptel.com/plans/intlrates

            To place an International Call:
            Dial TEL (835) from your PTel GSM phone
            Listen to the prompt then enter the destination number, country code first (without entering 011)
            Then, press the pound (#) key
            For calls to the Caribbean, you must dial the number 1, followed by the area code, and then the 7-digit number

            Delete
        13. My wife calls Europe directly by adding 011 before number. And it works. Without dialing 835. They don't update their website too often :)

          ReplyDelete
        14. Ultra Mobile monthly plans include 1000 international minutes to over 70 countries, not just the 5 countries listed above.

          ReplyDelete
        15. Ptel says you can call these counties for 1c/minute now: Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Peru, Russia (Metro Moscow), Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and Venezuela

          https://www.ptel.com/plans/intlrates

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. This should increase Ptel's ranking in the charts for low international calling costs.

            With PayGo, the rate is still only 6c/minute to these countries.

            Delete
          2. Thanks, but the rates for calling mobile phones in the market basket countries (Canada 1¢; Mexico 14¢; China 1¢; UK 13¢; Philippines 18¢) haven't changed.

            Delete
          3. Didn't the Ptel rate for Mexico change from 14c to 1c? Or do you use the highest rate or average rate for Mexico?

            Delete
          4. Oops. I see now that the marketbasket includes only rates for mobile phones.

            Delete
          5. PTel charges 1¢/minute to call Mexican landlines and 14¢/minute to call Mexican mobile phones. I use mobile rates to compare providers because there's more variation between providers for mobile rates and because the majority of calls today are between mobile phones.

            Delete
        16. Sat-Fi. Satcom on your WiFi smartphone or tablet:
          http://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/story/globalstars-sat-fi-deliver-satellite-coverage-wi-fi-enabled-devices/2014-01-29

          ReplyDelete
        17. BREAKING NEWS ! CRICKET S5 COMES OUT TOMORROW $589.99 BEFORE MAIL IN REBATE $539.99 AFTER

          ReplyDelete
        18. Some companies include "free" international calling minutes in their monthly plans but your international calls never go thru. Ultra Mobile and Spot Mobile are the worst at this

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. I never had an issue using the free international credit the couple of months that I was with Spot. I haven' tried Ultra.

            Delete
        19. Hello. Dennis
          I have seen a few comments like the one above that say free international calls never connect with MVNOs like Ultra Mobile, Airvoice and others. Is this true?
          Thanks.

          ReplyDelete
        20. I have seen a few comments that say free international calls never connect with MVNOs like Ultra Mobile, Airvoice and others. Is this true?
          Thanks.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Calls can fail for a variety of reasons but I believe that the vast majority of international calls on all carriers do go through.

            Plans that include "free" international calls are generally limited to calls to landline numbers only and for calls to some countries calls may only be supported to certain cities.

            If you have specific numbers that you need to call, I recommend asking perspective operators customer support if those numbers are supported.

            Delete
        21. Cricket no longer allows international add-on's with the $25 and $40 plans

          ReplyDelete
        22. The post is missing this info
          Cricket's $15 (International Extra) add-on includes 1000 minutes of calls to MOBILE phones.

          ReplyDelete
        23. Straight Talk and NET10 don't include all landline numbers in the countries they support in their unlimited international plans. They have tools on their websites which haven't always worked for me. You can also text a number to 64372 for NET10 and 47787 for Straight Talk and get a response if it's included. You can do this from your current carrier (if they support texts to short numbers).

          ReplyDelete
        24. Are phones in Europe sold unlocked? I travel there often and was wondering if I buy a phone in Europe can I use it in the US?

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Anyone have a clue?

            Delete
          2. In most European countries phones with an operator's name on them are usually locked. Unlocked phones will usually be labeled as unlocked.

            In a few countries around the world including Israel, Andorra, Columbia and Singaphore all phones are sold unlocked by law or convention See https://chimeratool.com/help/sim-lock-country-laws for more information.

            Delete
        25. Will GoSmart allow the international calling add-on's with the $25 plan?

          ReplyDelete
        26. Hi Dennis,

          Which all prepaid services allow international roaming? I guess its just T-Mobile pre-paid and LycaMobile. Are there any more?

          -NG

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. AT&T GoPhone roams in Canada and Mexico.
            Verizon and PagePlus roam in Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean islands.
            Rates are listed in the operator profiles for each operator on the site.

            Roaming is expensive on all the US operators. Using a travel SIM like TruPhone or buying a prepaid SIM for each country you visit will be less expensive for anything but extremely light usage.

            Delete
        27. Thanks Dennis. I understand roaming will be expensive, I was just looking for emergency usage and be able to receive banking related text alerts. As I am interested in Europe and Asia, I guess out of the major carriers, T-Mobile is the only service offering wide international roaming on prepaid.
          http://tmo-assets-1524598101.netdna-ssl.com/prepaid-phones/pdf/IntlCallingRates.pdf

          ReplyDelete
        28. Why not just use an international calling service like PennyTalk? No need to involve the cellular service at all. We have been using PennyTalk for years.

          ReplyDelete
        29. Dennis, Boost Mobile $35 a month plan has 1gb not 500mb.

          ReplyDelete
        30. FreedomPop needs to be added to your list. Their plans:

          - Global Free 100. $0/month, but you have to specifically enable
          this on your account. 100 minutes/month to Mexico, UK, Canada,
          India, and over 50 other countries. Not specified whether to
          landlines or cell phones.

          List of countries not specified, probably the same as Global Plus 300.


          - Global Plus 300 - 300 minutes/month for $5/month.

          Landlines and Mobiles: American Samoa, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, Guam, India, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand,
          U.S. Virgin Islands

          Landlines Only: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, France,
          French Guiana, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia,
          Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
          Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom,


          - Global Pro 1000: 1000 minutes for $10/month.

          List of counries looks to be the same as Global Pro 300.


          - Global Virtual Number: $5/month.

          Currently Available: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia,
          Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway,
          Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand,
          United Kingdom

          Coming Soon: Belgium, China, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg,
          Malaysia, France, Malta, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland


          It should be said that you can accomplish similar things by loading an app on your smartphone. Apps like Google Voice/Google+, MagicJack, UppTalk, NETTalk, etc
          assign users a virtual US phone number. The user can then call any US phone
          number for free, and can receive a call from another US phone number.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. FreedomPop Internationa is covered here: FreedomPop Adds Free and Paid International Calling Plans.

            As a VOIP app combined with a data only plan, FreedomPop isn't really comparable with the cellular voice based services covered by this post.

            Delete
        31. Does anyone know which company has the best rates to El Salvador mobile phones? Thanks.

          ReplyDelete
        32. Personally I have learned to stay away from any network carrier international plan. Any Ios or Android VoIP app can compete or outmatch what any carrier offers with better voice quality and pricing points.

          ReplyDelete
        33. Can you add picture message (MMS) info?

          Also, calls disconnect after:
          Cricket - 2 hours
          Straight Talk - 1.5 hour
          H2O - 2 hours

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. H2O disconnects after one hour, not two. You can call right back, of course.

            Delete
        34. Which GoSmart and Virgin plans cost $20?

          Why isn't H2O included in the unlimited international plans table?

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. $20 Virgin WiFi Lovers Delight 300 minutes, unlimited text, no data
            GoSmart's cheapest plan is $25. I've corrected the table.

            H2O should be there, I'll add them on the next rewrite.

            Delete
          2. If Virgin's $20 plan only includes 300 minutes how can it be used with unlimited international plans?

            Delete
          3. You're right that wouldn't work. Virgin does have a Walmart exclusive $20 PayLo unlimited talk plan. I'm not sure if the $10 international can be added to it or not.

            Delete
        35. Dennis - really great information you have presented, very helpful in understanding what is available. The Cricket information has one error that I found. The $50 plan now includes 5GB of data. Thanks

          ReplyDelete
        36. The table says only H2O plans from $40-$60 include international calling, instead of $30-$60.
          Simple Mobile's $50 and $60 international plans now include more data than what is listed.

          ReplyDelete
        37. The table says T-Mobile's international add-on's are available with the $40 plan, while the details section says they're only available with plans priced $50 and higher. Which is right?

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Stateside add-ons are available on the $40 plan. I'll update the post.

            Delete
        38. Use google voice to call intl #s.. Most countries have 1c or less....

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. I agree. I avoid most of those silly calling plans and having to tie myself to a specific carrier. I find that Google Voice has excellent international rates and with a smartphone you can configure it to route all international calls directly through GV with no extra codes to enter. Another option is Skype. Skype rates are very competitive and when you factor in that you can often buy Skype refills at a 30% - 50% discount it becomes a great deal.

            Delete
          2. I agree.. Wonder why people having smartphones (especially android) use another carrier (or calling cards) to call other countries.. that too noting different calling #, access codes etc. in Google voice, we can directly call the end user # as stored in phone address book..

            Delete
          3. I use Google Voice for all calls, including my very infrequent international calls. It's great if your international calling needs are modest. But it's a pay per minute service, if you use hundreds or thousands or international minutes per month a plan or add-on that includes unlimited calling to the countries you call can be a less expensive choice.

            Delete
        39. Why didn't MetroPCS make the list?

          ReplyDelete
        40. Mobile World Congress Week: Why you're still Paying so much to use your phone overseas. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-26/why-international-mobile-rates-are-stuck-in-the-past

          ReplyDelete
        41. Dennis where is the link to sign up for lycamobile pay as you go. I went to the website but I don't even see it list there.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. it's pay&go by default unltil you activate some plan AFAIK

            Delete
          2. That's correct. Buy a SIM without a plan. Activate the SIM and add $10 and you are on Pay As You Go. See Prepaid Operator Profile - Lycamobile for more information.

            Delete
        42. https://gousmobile.com/international

          ...and quite flexible plan

          ReplyDelete
        43. H2O has direct dial international now.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Yes, Dennis, do update when possible, direct dialing and texts to overseas countries plus Lte at a great price, makes H2o great

            Delete
          2. I'm not sure what you want me to update. The H2O site's help page says

            "You have two options to call internationally with H2O® Wireless Pay-As-You-Go plan. You may dial directly to your destination number or configure our International Calling number to take advantage of our competitive rates to 53 pre-selected countries."

            I take that to mean that you must use the access number to get the best (free) rate.

            The post says:

            "H2O requires dialing an 11 digit access number to make free calls to 50 countries on unlimited plans. For other calls international direct dialing is supported."

            Does that match your experience? If not what needs to be changed?

            Delete
          3. Just saw this note after I posted my comment on H2O below. I can confirm that you do not need to dial the access number yourself, at least not on the monthly unlimited plan (which I'm on). The Help text you quote out of date (not your fault, I know!). Here is their latest International Rates web page: https://www.h2owirelessnow.com/mainControl.php?page=intRates -- no mention of access numbers, just direct dialing.

            I believe what happens is that when you register your phone on one of their plans, they now configure your phone to dial the access number "under the covers" whenever you direct dial an international number. The upshot is that you no longer have to dial the 11-digit access number yourself to get free international calls. I've already made several free calls this month to the UK just dialing the numbers like I do on my home phone.

            Delete
          4. Mike has left a new comment on your post "Updated: The Best Prepaid Mobile International Voi...":

            I'm on H2O's $30 Monthly Unlimited plan, and can confirm that you do not need to dial an access number when making international calls. I'm using an LG G2, and all I need to do is dial the international number (with prefix) and I will be routed and connected automatically.

            Note: The calls are still routed through an access number, but you do not have to dial that number yourself. I believe H2O configures your smartphone to dial the access number automatically when you dial an international number. The only downside left is that your phone displays the access number and not the number you dialed. No big deal, really.

            Delete
        44. Ok I see that is only for the destinations that are not unlimited, such as when I call Honduras. When I call Germany, which is unlimited, I still have to dial the 11 digit number first.

          ReplyDelete
        45. RE: Cricket Voice and Text Roaming in Canada: We drive up and down the AlCan Highway from Alaska thru Canada, transiting the Yukon Territory and wonder if Whitehorse and Watson Lake in the Y.T. are included. The website says only the Northwest Territory is excluded, but also talks about the "Northern Territories" (whatever that means). Cricket Chat doesn't have a clue, and even the Zen Desk is not sure. I noticed Cricket's partner network in Canada, Rogers, only has "extended coverage" in the Y.T., i.e. no towers of their own, so I am guessing not -- we'll just have to use FaceTime or FaceBook Messenger.

          Have any Cricketeers made the trip recently? or does anyone have any way to know? Doesn't seem like this should be an effing 'state secret' ...

          ReplyDelete
        46. Dennis, you've done some extensive research. Thank you for that!
          Personally I find much more convenient to use one of the VOiP services (see links). I've been using
          VoipMove for over a year - as an example, Poland landlines are $0.005 a minute and mobile phones $0.007 (that less than a cent). CosmoVoip I just started using, because the prices are even better for countries I'm calling, even with the 3.9 cent connection fee. 10 minutes for one cent to mobile phones in Poland is hard to resist :) I use the service through an app (when on wi-fi) and an access number (from my cell when away from wi-fi, or landline) - it works really well for me.
          https://www.voipmove.com/dashboard
          https://www.cosmovoip.com/dashboard

          ReplyDelete
        47. Consumer Cellular has very low international rates, not quite as low as the cheapest dial-around service (Localphone) but still low.

          I don't want a carrier with a cumbersome dial-around scheme. And I don't want to have to purchase large blocks of international calling minutes. I'll just use a third-party provider if I have to do dial around.

          One real annoyance is that a lot of prepaid carriers won't even allow your domestic phone book entries to be in standard international format (+1 .....). My friend on Page Plus ran into this when Page Plus dropped +1 international calling in favor of a dial-around scheme after Carlos took over Page Plus. His whole phone book was entered in international format and he thought he would have to edit every entry. Fortunately I found him an Android app which stripped off the +1 if it was present.

          ReplyDelete
        48. After seeing all the plans Ultra mobile seems like the best unlimited plan for calling India around 29 dollars +regulatory fees may be another 3 bucks ..Any suggestions?

          ReplyDelete
        49. Ultra $29, Lycamobile $29 and H2O $30 are the least expensive plans that include unlimited calls to India. Of the three Ultra has the best support. H2O is on the AT&T network so it has more coverage than T-Mobile based Ultra and H2O. If T-Mobile coverage works for you go with Ultra, if not H2O.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. Thanks for maintaining this wonderful website. What does International Call Credit and Call Anywhere Credit mean? Is that credit used when calling countries not in the free list?
            Say in your example of India: If I take $19 plan and get a $1.25 credit, I saw that India calling is 1 cent a min, does it mean $19 plan gives 125 mins of free time to India

            Delete
        50. I've been on Net10 for a few years now via BYOP on a GSM SIM. Today I registered my iPhone 6 A1586 on a CDMA SIM on Verizon. I'm receiving LTE, visual voicemail, I was able to send a international text to Germany as well and although there's a switch for hotspot... There is not hotspot. You do need a Verizon CMDA SIM and an access code. You can get a SIM in the mail free if you sign up and wait for it by post.

          ReplyDelete
        51. H2O has direct dialing for international calling. Also international texting for H2O's unlimited plans are global, not limited to 50 countries as the chart says above.

          ReplyDelete
          Replies
          1. I know H2O says they have international direct dialing. However I've seen multiple user reports (here's one: Cannot dial International) saying that it doesn't work, but using the access code does.

            With regards to international texting, "global" is too vague for me. AT&T only claims to support texting to 190 countries. I doubt H2O supports more countries than AT&T. But it's probably more than 50 so I changed the table listing to say "supported, number of countries N/A". Thanks for the heads up.

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