Why the International roaming speed is so slow?




    My company plan is "SC Smrtphn Flat Rate Global", and I never get normal network speed when roaming out of US. When I roaming in other countries, like Japan, I receive the SMS as below;


    Welcome to Japan! Your T-Mobile plan gives you unlimited data at up to 2G speeds and texts at no extra cost.


    What is the 2G speeds mean? By some speed test apps, I can't only get 0.09M download on 3G, so I want to understand what is the speed actually providing to my package?





      All replies

      • drnewcomb2

        Many people mistakenly believe that T-Mobile's 2G speed means a 2G connection. This is not the case. When they say "2G speed" it means throttled at T-Mobile's APN to about 128 kpbs or about the maximum you might get from an EDGE connection, on a good day. The reason that T-Mobile throttles international roaming data is that they are providing an expensive service for free. Before T-Mobile's free international data roaming, I would go out of my way to make sure that I used no cellular data while abroad. At retail it runs generally around $15/MB. It was not uncommon for people to return from vacation an find a $2000 roaming bill waiting for them.


        On my last overseas trip I was able to navigate facebook, Google Maps, send and receive e-mails and even use VoIP calling apps (like Viber) over my free cellular data. What I was not able to do is stream videos, which was sort of the idea of the throttle. T-Mobile couldn't provide it for free if you could do that. BTW, you can preload Google Map regions when you are on WiFi. It makes navigating much easier.

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        • dragon1562

          As mentioned 2G speeds is about what you are getting now and it is a throttled limit. I wanted to mention that if you need full LTE data that T-mobile does have an option to purchase that kind of data. You also have the option of switching to one of T-mobiles new plans which double that throttled speed to "3G"  speeds which is slightly more usable but again not good for video streaming or anything like that.


          Finally, you could always consider picking up a prepaid plan in the country you are visiting.  Many nations have some kind of Traveler plan that is good for like 7 days and includes talk, text, and data. Your phone would need to be unlocked though and it may require you to change some APN settings. Hope the info helped.

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          • likeiapa

            The reason I took this plan is because I am the oversea employee of a US company, I only use my US sim when I do business trip to US or some other countries, I used to a AT&T subscriber before using T-mobile since last Oct, because I felt little bit slow on AT&T, so my company moved me to T-Mobile, and I was totally regard the change, it can't even provide the normal speed for a traveler to check the email, whatsapp to catch up my work, searching on map is not able to happen for sure. My US colleague check with T-Mobile, but the reply from T-mobile was told that this is the signal tower issue, try to go other place, it should not that slow. I use this SIM traveling to China, Japan, Singapore, Australia for the last 4 months, but it is just useless.

            I could only buy the local mobile SIM card and give this up.

            I don't really understand that 2G mean data volume or speed, if it is about 2G maximum data usage, this was fine, but please give me the speed not only 128KB. I will request to terminate this service with my company, because it can't provide any value and wasting the money.

            Thanks everyone.

              • drnewcomb2

                I assume that your company was paying through the nose for all that AT&T roaming. T-Mobile has a higher speed international option but I've never heard anyone claim that it was faster than AT&T's roaming data. One issue is (as I understand it) that when you are roaming the data packets have to return back to your home carrier before they can be routed onto the Internet. This adds a bottle-neck and delay, regardless of the carrier you use. So if you must have the fastest possible mobile data, you'll probably need to get a local prepaid SIM.

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