Some volunteers just suspend their current phone plan and use free communication apps (like WhatsApp for texting and FaceTime for calling) while they’re connected to WiFi. That does work great, but as I’m sure you know there’s so many reasons why you’d want to use your phone on the go, too, when there's no wifi around!
ILP can set you up with a phone plan for the entire semester (through T-mobile service) with unlimited international texting and data for $169.
To use the international plan, you'll suspend whatever phone plan you have now--any carrier
(which means even if you use Verizon right now you can totally use this T-mobile plan)
--and we will give you a SIM card to use in your phone while you are on ILP. You don't even have to buy a new phone. (See details below) When you get back, you'll re-activate your current plan.
$169 for your ILP semester of T-Mobile service including all of the international features listed below!
Unlimited international texting - If you get separated from your group while you're exploring a new city, no need to stress because you can text them (if they have texting, too). Stay in touch with your friends back home 24/7, because with the time difference it can be hard.
Unlimited international data - On vacation, use data to pull up Google Maps and find your hostel when your taxi driver doesn’t know where to go. Use data to get recommendations for where to eat lunch while you’re walking around a city. You can post to your Instagram and Snapchat when you want.
Some carriers offer international data so you might already have it or you can add it to your current plan, but they're often really limited! You could easily go over after a YouTube video viewing or pulling up Google Maps a few times. Really guys, you're going to want unlimited. Trust me.
10 minutes/month of free international to U.S/Canada voice minutes - Call the ILP directors or your parents to let them know you arrived safely or that you need them to send you something from home. If WiFi is spotty or down for a couple of days, you can still call home to let them know you're good. (If you are going to Mexico--Bonus! UNLIMITED minutes for Mexico to Mexico or Mexico to U.S./Canada calls).
Unlimited voice/data/texting in the U.S. before you leave and for a few weeks after you return - You might want to let your parents know about this plan because it means you can let them know as soon as your plane lands. They might be willing to help you out with the cost if they know it means they can easily contact you when needed.
176 countries - Including every ILP country and nearly every place that volunteers go on vacation.
Verizon has international coverage but it's expensive and really limited as you can see here, so you run the risk of quickly going over and running up a huge phone bill even if you add international coverage to your plan. Using data for google maps for a few days on your vacation could literally cost hundreds of dollars in overage charges. The ILP T-Mobile plan works great for you because it's a great deal AND unlimited data. You'll log in to your Verizon account online and temporarily suspend your plan.
Verizon customer service: 800-837-4966
AT&T has expensive and limited international coverage as you can see here. With a AT&T "Passport Plan" you run the risk of quickly going over the limits and running up a huge phone bill. Using data for google maps for a few days on your vacation could literally cost hundreds of dollars in overage charges. So this T-Mobile deal would work great for you because it's a great deal AND unlimited data. If you decide to sign up for the plan with ILP, call or chat with AT&T to get your service suspended while you're on ILP.
AT&T customer service: 800-331-0500
If you already have T-mobile you can get the same unlimited data plan ILP is offering. It's likely though that through ILP it could be a little bit cheaper than what you would pay. You might want to call and see how much it would be to add their Simple Global plan. Then decide whether it's worth it to you to switch to go through ILP for your semester and save a little money or if it's more convenient to just stick with your current number and current plan directly with T-mobile.
T-Mobile customer service: 877-453-1304
Sprint has free, unlimited international data you can add to your plan, so you're likely already set without taking the ILP offer. The catch is that you have to have a GSM-capable phone in order to get the free international roaming. Check out more info here to see if your phone works and how to get it set up before your trip. If you don't have a GSM-capable phone, then the ILP T-mobile offer could be a good option for you.
Sprint customer service: 888-211-4727
Most ILP volunteers purchase a T-mobile plan from ILP (which is still available to you), but in the DR and in Uganda there's actually a local SIM card that we like. You can buy it after you arrive and it is $12/month (so about 1/2 the cost of T-mobile) and volunteers say it's a better signal locally than T-mobile (while still having unlimited data).
The cons to it would be that ILP can't tell you where to get support if it's not working, it likely doesn't have emergency minutes to call back to the States like T-mobile does, and you may have to go a couple of weeks without a plan at the beginning of the semester until you get it set up ... but if you're on a budget that can save you some cash! Something to think about.
1.) Make sure your phone works with a SIM card and can be unlocked. Most phones work with a SIM card (like iPhones), but some don't. Also, you often aren't able to unlock your phone if you haven't paid it off. If your phone can't be unlocked, it won't work with this plan (even if your phone takes a SIM card). If you aren't sure about those things, just do a search or call your phone plan provider and ask them.
2.) Sign up for the ILP T-mobile international plan (you should already have an email about how to do that online). Once you've paid and signed the agreement, we'll hook you up with the SIM card to get you setup (See below). You'll use the new SIM card in your own phone (you don't have to buy a new one).
3.) Suspend and unlock your current phone plan 1 week before your departure. Phones can work with any carrier, not just the one you bought it from (so for example, if you bought your phone at the Verizon store you can still use T-mobile service). But sometimes you have to request that your carrier "unlock" before you use the phone with another carrier. To unlock your phone call your current carrier and let them know you are traveling for several months and will be using an international SIM card while you are abroad, so you need to unlock your phone. Also let them know that you want to suspend your phone plan temporarily. Tell them to suspend it starting a couple days after you leave until a few days after you get back.
4.) We'll get your SIM card to you closer to departure (you can choose to get it from a representative at the SLC airport on departure day, come pick it up at the ILP office, or have it shipped to you for a fee).
If you have questions or want to learn more, give us a call! (801) 374-8854.
Awesome! Your representative will send you an email when it's time to make your order. If you've already gotten that email, click back into that email to get a link for the agreement to get started or give us a call at (801) 374-8854.
Make sure to keep these deadlines in mind as well. We can't get you a SIM card at the last minute so plan ahead!
Rush It for a $25 fee:
December 15th (all other countries)
January 15th (China volunteers)
March 1st (Ukraine volunteers)
March 15th (all other countries)
Rush It for a $25 fee:
March 25th (Ukraine volunteers)
April 1st (all other countries)
Rush It for a $25 fee: