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Goodbye AT&T, Hello T-Mobile + BYOD: Lifehack for International Travelers

I'm done with AT&T. For anyone who travels internationally a lot like I do, the nickeling and diming and constant stress of "oh my God did I turn my data roaming off" is too much to handle. AT&T is still trying to rip me off with 50 cents per SMS and $20/MB for international data or data packs that are still too expensive. But the last straw - I called my mom two weeks ago and forgot to turn on my Reliance Global Call app. The bill - $175 for 44 minutes! In a day and age where Skype, Vonage, FaceTime and a million other options abound., this is simply ridiculous.

Equally ridiculous are the plans that now charge you installments for buying a high-end smartphone at full price. Seems like its only $30 a month but you are effectively shelling out $650 for your shiny new iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5.

So here's my plan:

Step 1 - Sign up for T-Mobile's simple choice plan. $60 buys me 3 GB of LTE data and unlimited talk, text and data INTERNATIONALLY. Granted it is 2G speeds abroad, but all I need is email and WhatsApp. And with WiFi calling, I can hop on to higher speed WiFi whenever it is available. No worries and no stress of roaming charges. Calls are $0.20 per minute if you do end up making voice calls from abroad.

Step 2 - buy your own unlocked Smartphone. The Chinese are coming and I welcome them with open arms because Cupertino is intent on highway robbery with its iPhones (Samsung is not much better). Two great options are Xiaomi and OnePlus. Never heard of them? You will, in the future. I just ordered a new OnePlus One 64GB, 5,5 inch phone with the fastest processor and the biggest battery in the market. Yes, the specs are better than the new iPhone 6 Plus for less than half the price. And the OS is Cyanogen - a nice modification of Android. The main camera is 13MP Sony and the rear is 5MP - much better than competition. OK, I can't contact the Chinese for tech support, but hey - for $425 delivered to my home, I will take my chances.

I'm going to try this combination of T-Mobile + China unlocked phone with a separate number for now to see how things work. If the coverage is OK, then the kids and I will turn in our AT&T devices and we will get a family plan for $100, much less than $160 from AT&T. Plus we can then all travel abroad without worrying about usurious roaming charges.

Don't you love competition? Join the revolution - BYOD and say goodbye to AT&T or Verizon. The only caveat - your mileage may vary on T-Mobile 4G LTE.

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