Is Sprint’s “free” international 2G service usable? What about the “fast” data pack upgrade? Worth it? You bet it is!

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It has been a little while since I visited the “old country” and I have since upgraded my phone from my old Samsung Note4 that I very much loved, but since I did not have a  burning  desire to try the Note7, I instead went with the amazing LG V20 and am most pleased with this choice. It truly is a great phone with impressive dual camera lenses (as well as many other manual choices).

One thing I did hate about my old Note4 was that, while a GSM approved phone, you had to reboot it every time you changed from one source to another in the settings. With my LG V20 no reboot is needed and it only takes seconds to switch from one to another (I really love all the little features of this new phone btw).

As a long time satisfied Sprint cell user I have subscribed to the “free” international data and text plan for as long as it has been available. I have also, in the past, got 1 or 2 day high speed data add on packs before my trip for set days when I needed more than the free service. The way you do that has now changed.

This was really simple Sprint!

Before my trip I was told that I when I landed in country and turned on my phone all I had to do was simply choose if I wanted to accept (and pay) for the faster data service for either a day or week plan. But did I really need it with the “free” data plan in place?

Let me just say that the 2G free Sprint data plan makes the old Gogo service we get on many jets seem blistering fast by comparison. The 2G service is worse than horrid and all but unusable. Maybe there is a reason they are giving it away free as no one EVER would pay for this worthless speed. So I paid for the 1 week plan. How much better is it?

Yeah, a LOT better and really quite impressive speed. Then again, Sweden is known for it’s widely available high speed Internet throughout the county. For example, the below is my wifi at my cousin’s apartment:

Now the service was not without issues. You are officially limited to how much data you can use at the higher speed as Sprint tells you:

“To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network. Sprint may terminate svc. if off -network roaming usage in a mo. exceeds: (1) 800 min. or a majority of min. or (2) 100MB or a majority of KB” –

While it is somewhat hard to find hard data, other sources seem to indicate you only have 50MB for the day pass and 200MBs for the week pass.

During my week or so visit to Sweden, I exceeded 300MB for my week pass and did have some other issues. For some reason, after a few days of rather heavy use, I was blocked from all data access for about 2 days and then it suddenly came back at full speed again. I could still text (without attachments) but that was it. The rest of the time it was just about perfect and really impressive and a great value for the $25 1 week fee.

Bottom line is don’t expect to do anything useful with the free 2G service like order an UBER or do anything that has any kind of graphics at all – it will not work. I would simply pay for the 1 day or 1 week service and then try to limit just how much you use the data plan to ensure you do not get cut off during your travels. – Rene


  1. Just recently used the free 2G service in South Africa. Works well with WhatsApp and was fine with Uber, google maps and surfing the net for short periods. Did get dumped from service for about 4hours due to heavy use but was fine after it was restored. Well worth it.

  2. This is why I like my Google FI service (uses Sprint & T-mobile). $10 per GB no matter where in the world I am and 4G too. No getting kicked off or capped. 200MB per day for 7 days is only 1.4GB so $14 under google fi for $25 under Sprint is a rip off. It even worked out of the box in China without needing a separate VPN.

  3. I teach college online and need to be connected all over Europe when I travel. The 2G speeds have been just fine for email and mapping. Never bought extra services. Wi-fi is everywhere if I need to sit down and get some work done on a laptop.

  4. When I have traveled overseas, I have typically just picked up a local SIM card for $20-25 with much bigger data caps. Of course this requires a GSM unlocked phone, but many plans now provide unlocked phones. On my iPhone with iCloud and iMessage, it does not matter what number I have overseas.

    Lately, I have been using which works in 43 countries! You can find US sellers on eBay and I just order them before I go (about $30 for 300 minutes, 3,000 texts and 12GB data to use within 30 days). You can them for about $5 cheaper in country but I like being able to swap the SIM on the plane and be working when I land.

    We like to post pictures while we are sight-seeing and so having 12GB really helps.

    If you are traveling for more than 7 days, then it becomes a much less expensive option.

  5. I have an unlocked LG G5. When I go overseas in Sept, I will use a local sim card and free wifi calling. Secure, free or cheap wifi can be found most places. Did this in 2015 with my LG G4 and it worked great in Asia.

  6. Google Fi as another poster said. No competition for anyone who travels a good deal internationally. Same price for the same amount of data abroad? 4g speeds in most countries? Oh, and you only pay for the amount you use each month and the rest is refunded for each GB of usage?


  7. 2g service is utterly useless. Can’t connect many times at all. Mexico City was a failure, London was slow… Got tired and switched to google Fi 6 months ago. Tried in 5 countries thus far (and home in the US) – so far so good. No problems.

  8. T-Mobile works better all over Europe than it does in the US. Free data, free texting, and 20¢ per minute phone calls under almost all postpaid plans. I’m not sure of the data speeds now, but last summer LTE was standard.

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