I usually do not like to characterize things in a blunt, negative light, preferring instead to outline the facts and helping people to understand my conclusion in a more diplomatic way but…I will say it again; Sprint’s international roaming plan is beyond a rip-off. I have tried to play devil’s advocate and, to Sprint’s credit, when I called Sprint’s customer service, the rep basically told me, “don’t do use data while roaming” when I was gathering information for this blog but the fact is, if they didn’t want people to use it, they would not make it available. This reminds me of a couple of years ago when a customer of ours used a data roaming plan with T-Mobile that had affordable (sort of) rates in X amount of countries but if you went to country Y, you would be blasted by huge roaming rates. So, an executive went on a business trip and went to a handful of countries where the rates were low but also went to one country that wasn’t covered in the T-Mobile plan and sure enough, his bill was $38,000. Now the reason this is a rip-off is that T-Mobile had the capability of blocking those countries where the roaming rates were high.
Here is a break down of Sprint’s roaming rates but first, I want to bring to your attention what Sprint advertises on their website regarding their data plan. This is directly copied and pasted from Sprint’s website:
Get discounted rates
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2014
Don’t miss a thing when traveling abroad. Add an international data pack to your domestic data plan for your smartphone, tablet, mobile broadband card or hotspot device and check emails and surf the web.
International Data Pack Add-on
Multiple Country Data Roaming
Multi-Country Pack 40MB $40 85MB $80
Usage Overage Rate per MB $10/MB
As you can see, Sprint offers a couple of bundles which are expensive and extremely low on capacity. If you go over, the slug you with a whopping $10 per MB charge. To put that in perspective, there are about 1000 (one-thousand) MB in 1GB. So, one 1GB with Sprint is $50,000 – plus tax. AT&T charges about $150 for 1GB, Verizon $250 for a GB, T-Mobile only offers 2G and Cellular Abroad charges vary but here are a couple of example rates:
Italy – 10GB $99
France – 5GB$69
UK 3GB $69
How come our rates are so low, Verizon’s and AT&T’s rates are relatively low yet Sprint’s rates are so high? It certainly cannot be attributable to buying power as Sprint is probably 10,000 times larger than Cellular Abroad and not far behind Verizon and AT&T. As far as I can see, their strategy is to have way fewer customers that use data than their competitors but to make a killing on those few. In addition, unlike their competitors, they have tended to focus more on business users and large corporations that are not as likely to care about the huge fees and/or a huge bill will just get lost in the shuffle. In any event, do yourself a favor and arm yourself with enough knowledge so that you are not one of the unlucky victims of Sprint’s super rip-off rates.