Staying Connected with International Phone Plans

Whether you’re connecting with relatives in another country or calling home while traveling abroad, it’s important to know how international calling works. With an International Phone Plan from U.S. Cellular, you can contact over 200 countries and keep in touch with the people who matter most, no matter where they – or you – are.

Calling from the U.S.

Choosing an International Phone Plan is simple, depending on how often you call abroad. For the occasional international call, try a pay-as-you-go option. If you chat with family and friends overseas often, choose a monthly plan. Your carrier might even offer plans to specific regions, like U.S. Cellular’s Unlimited Calling Canada Plan.

Traveling Internationally

When you’re traveling abroad, being able to use your phone is an absolute must. But depending on where you go, your phone may speak a different language than the local network. That’s because of differences between the two types of cell phone networks: GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).


GSM is the network standard almost everywhere in the world except for the US. It works by alternating between conversation streams in very short intervals. That way, multiple conversations can take place via the same tower at the same time. By contrast, most cell networks in the US use CDMA, which layers multiple calls over one another and encodes users’ conversations across the full spectrum of wireless bands.

To ensure your phone is fully functional abroad, check with your provider.

Choosing a Travel Phone Plan

Once you know your phone will work internationally, you’ll need to pick a travel phone plan. For frequent travelers or those staying abroad for a longer period of time, monthly international data plans offer a set amount of data for a flat monthly rate. If your trip is shorter, pay-as-you-go options, like U.S. Cellular’s International Travel Plan rates, make it easy and affordable to stay connected wherever you go. Your carrier might also offer voice-only global options, in case you only need to make calls while you travel.

Check with your network to find out what type of coverage you have and ensure that your device is compatible with global roaming. You may also want to consult with your carrier to select the right plan for you. Then, simply add your chosen package to your plan and change your phone’s network settings to “Global” or “GSM” when you arrive.

Before you head abroad, compare international travel cell phone plans at U.S. Cellular to find the right option for you.