Skip to main content

Using Your Mobile Device for International Travel

There are many details that you should consider before traveling abroad. Some considerations include the following:

  • Destination: Roaming costs can add up to thousands of dollars if your phone settings are not managed appropriately or if a global plan is not purchased.
    • ​Some countries are not covered by global plans. You will want to check your carrier's site for more information about your destination country.
  • Duration: The length of your trip will determine the types of global features you will need.
  • Device: Some devices are not capable of operating on international networks. Please feel free to contact CMU Cellular Services at 989-774-3087 to confirm if you have a "Global Ready" phone.

WARNING: ​You will quickly accrue thousands of dollars in roaming charges while traveling abroad or on a cruise. You must manage your phone settings and purchase the appropriate international plan to avoid extravagant bills.

Device and International Plans

If you will be traveling with your mobile device, it is important to verify that your device will work in your destination country before you purchase an international plan. 

Most countries worldwide use GSM technology, as AT&T does in the United States. AT&T provides a travel guide tool that will help you verify service is available in the locations you will be traveling.

Verizon uses CDMA technology. Verizon devices will not operate in countries using GSM technology unless the phone is "Global Ready." Verizon's coverage information can be found within the links provided below, under International Roaming Costs. Verizon also provides a Trip Planner that will help you determine whether your device will work with GSM technology and service availability.

​International Roaming Costs

When traveling with your mobile device, there are additional costs for using mobile services outside of the United States. These additional charges apply not only to making phone calls, but also apply to texting, sending/receiving emails, web browsing, and other internet services. The following links will direct you to the international roaming pages of your respective carrier:

​International Data Usage

​Charges for international data roaming can add up quickly. The information below approximates how much data is used for common tasks on your mobile phone:

  • ​​​1 email ​= 20KB
  • 1 min. of music streaming = 500KB
  • 1 webpage = 1,024KB
  • 1 social media post with photo = 350KB
  • 1 min. of streaming video (standard) = 2MB​​
  • 1 min. of streaming video (HD) = 5.1MB

​​​1MB = 1,024KB

1GB = 1,024MB​

AT&T provides a useful data calculator that will help give you an idea of how much data you use. Note that the roaming costs vary per carrier.​

Data Usage Tips

  • ​​Use WiFi - WiFi is available in many locations worldwide including hotels and airports.
  • Turn off your device's Data Roaming feature and/or Cellular Data capabilities.
  • Utilize your Airplane Mode​ feature. Airplane Mode will still allow you to use WiFi while prohibiting your phone from connecting to the mobile network.