Trying to find out the best plans, features, minutes, and discounts among the carriers is enough to drive most business’ telecom departments into submission – the most dreadful of all of these complexities is international roaming.

In one such instance, an employee of a well-known company traveled internationally without notifying their company. The person racked up $5,000 worth of overages in roaming and streaming changes. Renodis was brought in to work with the carrier to help to reduce the charges, but not without significant work on both sides.

As you may have heard, T-Mobile just announced that it will drop international data and text roaming charges in more than 100 countries. Great! But what does that really mean?

What is typically done to prevent international roaming charges?

Let’s take a step back. Without the New T-Mobile plan, the way to deal with or prevent international roaming charges is to make a feature change to your international traveler’s phone plan before your travels by temporally adding an international plan or using a Brightroam device. Brightroams are an affordable device that could be activated on a short term basis (we also recommended purchasing unlocked GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) iPhones directly from Apple to activate for China use as needed).

T-Mobile International travel and roaming plan: What’s in the details?

T-Mobile has revamped its plans with the idea of keeping it simple for businesses to make the best choices when it comes to international travel.

In their Simple Choice Plans, in addition to unlimited talk, text, and data while on T-Mobile’s home network — you’re covered worldwide. Their qualifying plans include unlimited data and texting in more than 100 countries. (*See the full list at the below)

What does this mean for you?  It allows you to easily check Google Maps (handy if you’re lost abroad), check in and update social sites, and send emails without roaming changes. Netflix might be a little tough since it only provides 2G speeds. But if you want the extra speed, a one day pass for 100MB is $15, 7 day pass for 200MB is $25, and $50 for 500MB over 14 days.

So that means for International Travel:

  • Calling: 20 cents per minute in more than 100 countries*
  • Texting: Unlimited in more than 100 countries* included at no extra charge
  • Data: Unlimited in more than 100 countries* included at no extra charge

Note:  texting and data usage is where we usually see the most overages for international travelers.

The New Plan will start on Oct. 31st (maybe to scare the other carriers on Halloween!) and signup should be easy since T-Mobile announced the elimination of the traditional carrier contracts this past spring. So there will be no locking into a 2-year contract, no annual service contract requirements, no early termination fees, and you can upgrade when you want.

T-Mobile also said that it’s 4LTE nationwide network will be covering 200 million plus customers in over 220 metro areas within the U.S.

And if that’s not enough, to help get the word out T-Mobile has signed an agreement with the pop recording star Shakira for exclusive access to her new music, which will result in unique content for T-Mobile customers.

T-Mobile International travel and roaming plan: Summary

You don’t think twice when you send an email or Skype someone half way around the world, nor should you. The same should be said of our smart phones – and T-Mobile has provided a good step in that direction.

T-Mobile is introducing a game changer of an idea that really should have been done long ago. We are living in a small global society without boundaries when it comes to technology and this is how a lot of users see their mobile phones. In my opinion, T-Mobile has listened to the masses. With the roll out of their Simple Choice Plans, they will make international travel easier on the pocket book and save time for their users.

Only time will tell if this move will help T-Mobile gain market share from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint or just make their existing client base happier. Either way it is a good way to shake things up in the highly competitive world of mobility.

*Country locations

Aland Islands Easter Island Lithuania St. Kitts and Nevis
Anguilla Ecuador Luxembourg St. Lucia
Antigua and Barbuda Egypt Malaysia St. Martin
Argentina El Salvador Malta St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Armenia Estonia Martinique Suriname
Aruba Faeroe Islands Mexico Svalbard
Australia Finland Moldova Sweden
Austria France Montserrat Switzerland
Bahrain French Guiana Netherlands Taiwan
Barbados Germany Netherlands Antilles Thailand
Belgium Ghana New Zealand Trinidad & Tobago
Bermuda Greece Nicaragua Turkey
Bolivia Grenada Norway Turkmenistan
Bonaire Guadeloupe Pakistan Turks and Caicos Islands
Brazil Guatemala Panama Ukraine
British Virgin Islands Guyana Peru United Arab Emirates
Bulgaria Hong Kong Philippines United Kingdom
Cambodia Hungary Poland Uruguay
Canada Iceland Portugal Uzbekistan
Cayman Islands India Qatar Vatican City
Chile Indonesia Romania Venezuela
China Iraq Russia Vietnam
Christmas Island Ireland Saudi Arabia Zambia



Are you using your telecom provider’s online portal?  Do you know what your login and password is?  Do you even know if your provider has a portal, or what it does?  If you answered no to any of these questions, you probably are not taking full advantage of your telecom provider’s online portal.  It’s a powerful tool that can save you time, provide useful information, and give you a window into your network’s performance.

Most major telecom companies (AT&T, CenturyLink, XO, Verizon, etc.) have online portals that let customers open and track trouble tickets, download and analyze your bills, and see network or long distance utilization reports.  These carriers also offer a wide variety of portal training opportunities – see the handy links section at the end of this blog to get started.

Here are some common problems and solutions to help you get the most out of your telecom provider’s online portal:

Problem #1
: The person with the top level login is no longer with the company.

Solution #1: This is easily remedied by the contacting the carrier.  Call your sales account team, and ask them how you can get administrative access to the portal.  Don’t have a sales account team?  Call the customer care number on your bill and ask them how to begin the process to get access to their portal.  Once you have the top level administrative login for your company, you can add users and give them access to the various tools as you see fit.  For instance, AP can have a login that only allows them to access billing statements.

Problem #2: The telecom provider’s online portal doesn’t seem to have much to offer.  I wish I could do _____.

Solution #2:   Some portals require separate functions to be set up individually by request (billing, network utilization, trouble tickets.)  You also may need to have individual accounts manually added to the portal in order to be able to access them.  Contact the support number for the portal for instructions, or, (you’ve heard this before) lean on your sales account team for support.

Problem #3: I have access to my telecom provider’s online portal, but I don’t know how to use it.

Solution #3: Many online portals have Quick Start Guides, and some even have video and scheduled instructor led training.  It is worth taking a few minutes to hunt around on the website for these resources (or checkout the helpful links at the bottom of this blog).  Once again, if needed the portal support team or your sales account team should be able to point you in the right direction.

Problem #4: My telecom provider doesn’t have an online portal.

Solution #4: This is true, some smaller carriers have not spent the resources needed to provide an online tool for their customers.  Make sure you let them know this is a priority for you, and the next time you are considering a change in network, make having a robust online portal a decision making factor.

Problem #5: My network support team would like to get service outage notifications.

Solution #5: Most portals will give you the option to designate outage notification to recipients of your choice.  Some of the more sophisticated portals will allow you to list multiple names, different ways of reaching that individual and the time of day they are available.  Tip: if you have a group email box that includes members of your network team, use that as the primary notification recipient.  That way you ensure all team members are made aware of outages as they take place.

Problem #6: My network team needs to be able to access tickets after hours via a mobile device

Problem #6: The online portals for the best known carriers are able to be accessed via cell phone, tablet and other mobile devices.  Some have special mobile login web pages, others detect the mobile device and display content appropriately.  Note: not all portal functionalities are available on the mobile version – for instance graphic heavy tools that display network performance may not be available on to use on mobile devices.

In summary, a good sales account team should make sure you are fully set up and trained on their online portal.  If not, it’s worth taking the time to do some research on your own 1) to find out how to get access 2) what tools are available for your network and 3) to make sure you and your staff are trained to use your telecom provider’s online portal to its full potential.

FAQs and Helpful Links


  1. AT&T Portal Access
  2. AT&T FAQs
  3. AT&T Portal Training
  4. AT&T Mobile device access


  1. CenturyLink Portal Access
  2. CenturyLink Portal Registration
  3. CenturyLink Portal Training
  4. CenturyLink Mobile device access *

CenturyLink mobile access is the same URL as regular access- the site will detect your mobile device and adjust content accordingly.

XO Communications

  1. XO Communications Portal Access
  2. XO Communications Portal Registration
  3. XO Communications FAQs: Download the XO Business Center Quick Start Guide at the bottom of this page
  4. XO Communications Training
  5. XO Mobile device access

Renodis is the only firm in America providing professional management of businesses communications infrastructure. As a pioneer in its field, Renodis is committed to providing objective service that empowers clients to reduce the Total Cost of Telecom™, free up valuable IT and Executive resources, future-proof their technology, and gain more time for core business initiatives. Contact us to learn more.

To suggest that telecom carriers lack a reputation for altruism is a pretty non-controversial opinion.  There is no harm of course in any business pursuing a healthy profit and telecom companies should not be scorned for the ultimate pursuit of capitalism. However, the concern that most mid-sized firms (500-5000 employees) face is not what the carrier reveals during contract discussions but rather what they don’t say and what you wish they did in the spirit of long term partnerships vs. short term financial gymnastics.

Inevitably, even while negotiating the most comprehensive, well laid out contract, there will likely be things left unsaid by your vendors that you really wish they would say. We’re referring to how telecom carriers conveniently lack that extra consultative instinct to to position your organization for the least risky, and most cost-effective solution for the long term.

Here a few things telecom carriers should tell you , but rarely do in the interests of trying to get the best deal for them vs. just you:

  1. Risk Mitigation Clauses offered proactively vs. reactively.
    Every business knows that the only certainty is change. As such most carriers have standard language that allows for multiple unforeseeable business changes such as business downturn, technology migrations, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were offered vs. bargained for?
  2. Market-leading pricing for like-sized firms the first time vs. the 5th time.
    There is nothing more frustrating than buying a new car. Every ‘deal’ often has a different price even though the buyers are all the same. Don’t you wish your Carrier treated you the exact same as the last best deal they gave a similarly sized firm?
  3. Don’t forget about the implementation costs-by the way, let’s see how we can work with you on that.
    So you’ve negotiated a pretty decent contract with impressive terms, then you get hit with implementation costs and realize that you may have to dedicate a full-time employee to manage the implementation. Some carriers include implementation costs within the service package while others can leave you hanging or even charge for it. Wouldn’t it be nice for your vendor to have a solid calculation of all of the hard and soft costs and a cost-effective implementation solution and offer you the transition credits up front vs. a usually tenuous negotiation process?

You can’t get away from vendor negotiations and certainly don’t want to be left disappointed all the time leaving the negotiating table wanting more. These are just a few of the simple things that your Carriers will likely relent on if you know to ask (and if you hold firm to voting with your wallet). But, wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to ask for them every time? Take charge of the relationship so that you’re not left wishing for more.

Engaging an expert in telecommunications management, like Renodis, can ensure you get what you want out of every vendor interaction.

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