There isn't an iPhone app that will save you from the horrors of international calling or roaming charges. The best way to avoid that nightmare is to do your homework in advance and be prepared. The top cell phone companies in America have a variety of international roaming services available for your global communication needs. All of the following providers are nationwide and include packages with data plans.
Verizon breaks its international plans into two groups, those calling from the U.S. and Americans traveling abroad using their domestic phones. Verizon even offers information about using their cellular service from a cruise ship. All of Verizon's wireless phones can be used in more than 40 countries and another enhanced global phone will keep you in touch in more than 220 countries. Transfer data with Verizon in more than 200 countries at speeds of up to 3Gs and take advantage of the Global Travel Program for trips that last less than three weeks.
AT&T does not differentiate between calls made from the U.S. or abroad when it comes to international calling. Instead, the company breaks its offerings into packages by type. Voice, text and data plans are all available. For international travel, you can get improved roaming rates for more than 100 countries and stay connected with wireless service in more than 220. However, AT&T does not specify the types of phones that work under these plans.
Sprint has more specific requirements for its international services that include international voice, text and data plans. Like AT&T, they have a specialized line of World Phones that you must choose from if you want to take advantage of the international deals. Sprint also provides information on what capabilities your device will have at your destination and a notification when you are nearing the end of your data roaming cap.
Satellite Phone Providers
Although restrictively expensive, it might be worth the investment if you need reliability in areas that are extremely isolated or where infrastructure has been damaged. Examples include cruise ships, mountaintops and war-torn regions. Satellite phones do not have individual providers like cellular phones. Satellite phones are sold or rented by small, private individual companies who also set the rates for voice and data. Local and international rates don`t differ as they use the same satellite system.
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