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T-Mobile Service on a Cruise


PG Cruiser
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6 minutes ago, PG Cruiser said:

I have friends sailing in December who have been asking about T-Mobile service while cruising.   They have been told that T-Mobile has free roaming service (provided there's coverage at their location)

Can anyone share their experience with this?  Thanks!

I would call and ask about international coverage.  I would be surprised if its free worldwide.  On AT&T, they have an add on where you pay $10 per day when you use international - it works in all the ports I have ever been to.

You definitely will incur charges on the ship if you use the cellular tower - always make sure your phone is on airplane mode while at sea.

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T-Mobile will have very basic coverage, like 2G maybe in some areas.......but regardless you are still using cellular at sea. I have T-mobile and don't chance it. There is a whole process where you must call and have them block the calling features, so you don't have to pay that $5+ a minute. I have heard of people who did it and got charged for letting a call go to voicemail. Life doesn't often work out how we plan, so it is just better to put your device in airplane mode or turn off. Literally everyone knows I am on a cruise and that doesn't stop them from calling.

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Used to have TMo and I might go back to them because of the international roaming.

I had TMo for many years and enjoyed the included international roaming in many different countries.

The only catch is the international roaming data speed is slow.   For a basic plan it's capped at 128Kbps.  For the more expensive plans it's double that or 256 Kbps. 

That's fine for texting and basic general internet use but it's not a normal LTE type experience, however it's included with no additional fees. 

Canada and Mexico roam at normal LTE data rates.  

You can buy an international day pass that unlocks faster data speeds (with a limit of something like 500 MB).  The day pass is $10.  This pass also unlocks unlimited voice calling.  The pass is for 24 hours so if you add it at noon on day 3 of a cruise then the ship moves to another island the day pass works until noon on day 4 even though you are now in another country.  Most of the time I didn't buy the day pass and just used the 256 Kbps service I had with my TMo "ONE" plan.

The international roaming that's included is for use on land, not on the ship.    

On the ship these are the rates to roam with [email protected], the onboard cell tower:

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I'm currently on Spectrum Mobile that claims to offer international roaming with per MB data charges.  Spectrum is cheaper so in theory the lower monthly charges offset any international per MB usage charges when I travel. 

The problem I have with Spectrum isn't the per MB data charges but the fact that it rarely works in other countries without me calling every day I wake up in a foreign country.  Voice and text work, but international data never works without calling them, resetting my networking settings, rebooting twelve times and wasting an hour fiddling with it.  When the ship moves to another island I get to repeat that the next day.  It's very frustrating.  

TMo just worked.  It isn't fast (without buying an international day pass) but it just worked and was enough for my needs most of the time without spending the money to unlock faster data rates.

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I have tmobile but I have not used it on a cruise. As twangster stated you can check if the ship is covered by the tmobile ship plan. 

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/roaming

I personally used the international roaming while docked a lot. Cococay and Nassau I had no problems with the Data at reduced speeds as it allowed me to make VOIP calls using services such as line, whatsapp, google voice, etc. If you are looking to stream netflix that won't work. 

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We have T-Mobile - I texted back and forth with them about coverage and this is what I was told (we have the Magenta 1.0 Amplified plan). I was told there is no coverage on the Ship (Allure) but once at our ports - Nassau, St Kitts and St Thomas we will have service -  we are to dial #7663 to turn on international roaming.  Data and text are free but calls are $0.25/minute.  To turn it off #763#.

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For those traveling and being on shore the best service I can recommend is Google Fi. Texting is included free as is data in any country where a RCCL ship will sail.  On the ship there is no service while at sea but also no odd charges that can pop up. Phone calls are about 20 cents per minute while outside of the US. And it's simple enough to get service for a month and use an old unlocked phone or swap sim cards in your regular unlocked phone. 

On my last trip we picked up onboard data as well and made phone calls and texts over wifi. 3 devices was like 15 dollars per day. 

As for the security of using the wifi or cell data on a ship anything ran over https should be fine as the data is encrypted before it even leaves the device and the wifi isolates devices anyway so it's not like someone can even sniff the encrypted packets. But if you are really paranoid you can leave a computer on at home and setup a VPN to it and pass all your data over it and pass it on from there or you can pick up a VPN for a month to use. 

 

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21 minutes ago, MuttMutt said:

For those traveling and being on shore the best service I can recommend is Google Fi. Texting is included free as is data in any country where a RCCL ship will sail.  On the ship there is no service while at sea but also no odd charges that can pop up. Phone calls are about 20 cents per minute while outside of the US. And it's simple enough to get service for a month and use an old unlocked phone or swap sim cards in your regular unlocked phone. 

On my last trip we picked up onboard data as well and made phone calls and texts over wifi. 3 devices was like 15 dollars per day. 

As for the security of using the wifi or cell data on a ship anything ran over https should be fine as the data is encrypted before it even leaves the device and the wifi isolates devices anyway so it's not like someone can even sniff the encrypted packets. But if you are really paranoid you can leave a computer on at home and setup a VPN to it and pass all your data over it and pass it on from there or you can pick up a VPN for a month to use. 

 

Does Google Fi support wifi calling on non-Pixel phones now?

When I had Fi you could only get wifi calling if you used their phone.  

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4 minutes ago, twangster said:

Does Google Fi now support wifi calling on non-Pixel phones now?

When I had Fi you could only get wifi calling if you used their phone.  

On Android yes, on iOS no.

We have been super happy with Google Fi for a number of years now, but we buy the Pixels to make sure we can access all the features. On other devices it's just not nearly as good.

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As said yes works on other phones as well. I had a Pixel 3a xl and upgraded to a S21 5G earlier this year and have had zero issues. My girlfriend has an S20 5G and it has mostly worked without issue, other than a small issue with the dialer included with the phone having issues with calls over wifi but it was easily solved by downloading the Google dialer to make calls. Both phones were purchased through Google Fi so that does help some but I previously had an LG V20 from T-mobile and it had no issues with Fi either. The only reason for changing to the Pixel was due to the V20 ending up in the water and dying. 

I have had Fi service since mid 2019 and honestly have had no major issues with the service anywhere. That includes Mexico, Grand Cayman, Roatan, and Jamaica where I was located for two weeks. 

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10 hours ago, Pamp said:

We have T-Mobile - I texted back and forth with them about coverage and this is what I was told (we have the Magenta 1.0 Amplified plan). I was told there is no coverage on the Ship (Allure) but once at our ports - Nassau, St Kitts and St Thomas we will have service -  we are to dial #7663 to turn on international roaming.  Data and text are free but calls are $0.25/minute.  To turn it off #763#.

That was what I saw too, nice to have a connection though I think I'll stick to data/text as calls are expensive.

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39 minutes ago, Vagolferbob said:

Once in port, when is it safe to turn off airplane mode?

With TMo yes, assuming you are visiting an included country.  Cuba for example, wasn't included back in the day.

Be aware your phone may switch to local time when you connect to cellular and if the time on the ship is different, your phone may no longer be on ship time.

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45 minutes ago, twangster said:

With TMo yes, assuming you are visiting an included country.  Cuba for example, wasn't included back in the day.

Be aware your phone may switch to local time when you connect to cellular and if the time on the ship is different, your phone may no longer be on ship time.

They need to disable “Set Automatically” in the Date & Time settings and switch to Manual mode.

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