A work around for those traveling to the few countries where TM doesn't have "free" roaming.

  • 21 November 2016
  • 5 replies

In the past few years we have made use of TM's international roaming and about 13 countries. Last month, we were in Myanmar  (fka Burma) for a couple weeks. That is one of the few countries not on TM's list.

   Up until 2 1/2 years ago, when the military was in control, very few people had cell phones. Now everyone does! Besides the government carrier, there are two private carriers. We covered a lot of the country, and top grades was excellent everywhere. Even though one carrier, the one we used, has 4G service almost everywhere they serve, service is slow, by our standards, because almost every one has to use the cell carriers to access the Internet. All the systems tend to be overloaded.

   Rates are very very cheap.  A gigabyte of data is less than a dollar. The Sim card cost $1.50. I put $20 on the Sim card and "assigned" most of that credit towards data since we were only going to make a few phone calls within the country. I put the Sim card into an extra phone, set up the hotspot feature on it, and we set our regular TM phones to Wi-Fi calling only. We shut off data roaming. In effect, that gave us access to Wi-Fi wherever we were.

5 replies

Having an unlocked phone and knowing how to use local prepaid SIMs is always a good idea. Just be careful about WiFi Calling from high-cost countries, even using your own hotspot.

What could go wrong using your own, secure, hotspot?  Both our Samsung and LG phones have a setting "WiFi Calling Only" - so there is no way a call would accidentally be routed over the $$ cell tower.   As I recall, voice calls using the Burmese SIM, were cheap - even if we had called to U.S.   (We only used it for local voice about 10 times and about the same number of SMS.  Of course incoming calls/texts on that SIM are free.)

  Of course in this business - anything could go wrong<G>.  I did make sure the icons showed no cell tower connection on a regular basis - especially when first turning on our U.S. phones each day.  Turned them off at nite because of 13 hour time diff.

There have been a number of cases where people received high bills for calls made via WiFi calling from non-Simple-Choice countries. The determining factor seems to be the country-level domain of the WiFi host. As long as you are calling the US this should not be a problem but if you call another country it could create some surprises.

I have never had an issue with the Wi-Fi calling being free even before Simple Choice it was always free (as long as to or from a US number).  I know they didn't advertise it but working for an airline having a GSM carrier was my original reason for going with TMO but then the Wi-Fi calling was the icing on the cake. 🙂

One of many cases where unexplained charges show up after using WiFi Calling overseas: