T-Mobile, which is my current service in the U.S., is saying they have a plan called Simple Choice, which serves Saudi Arabia with 4G service, unlimited data (4G up to 2 GB, then slower unlimited service.) and text, and then 20 cents per minute for a call while travelling outside of the U.S., all for a price of $50 U.S. They also allow Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, etc. without tapping into your 2 GB's of data. I guess my questions are, how is this deal compared to what you can get if you wait to buy a phone overseas, and second, what is T-Mobile service like in Saudi Arabia, specifically in Ras Tanura where I will be living soon? I've heard people talking about Mobily on this forum as well, which I'm not familiar with; but I believe I could take my droid phone from One Plus, and set up Mobily with it if that is better? Any advice would be great. Still don't understand the whole VPN thing, but I'm trying to learn that as well!
I think you are talking about international roaming. So yes, you will be able to use data and text, but there is no T-Mobile here. You will still not have a Saudi number so if anyone wants to call you, they have to call your US number (long distance). You will want a Saudi number for other reasons, such as logging into Saudi banks which text you a code to login to the website.
I don't know about RT, but you basically have STC, Mobily, and Zain as providers. You can buy a phone here or bring your own, as long as it is GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile phones are fine).
I was actually thinking of the aspects of the unlimited Netflix, Hulu, HBOGO, etc. that you get with TMobile when thinking of this transition. Of course none of that will matter unless Tmobile has a tower nearby to RT, thus enabling the usage of said unlimited viewing. As for phone calls, I have to imagine I'll be buying a Saudi account/phone number as recommended, but ultimately using is mainly for sporadic calls, since Skype and Facetime will ultimately be my "call Home" mode of communication. So once again it really depends on anyone's knowledge of TMobile accessibility at RT??
There are no (zero) T Mobile cell towers in Saudi Arabia. I pretty sure the plan you're considering is an International Roaming plan - which means that your account is with T Mobile and they have agreements with carriers in other countries that will host your calls for the low rates you have agreed with T Mobile. So if you find out who the local carrier(s) is (are), then you just need to ask how fast/good that local company's towers are in RT. I'd be astonished if the International Roaming rate is lower than direct with a local company. I'm also not certain that you would get the access to the services you listed as if you were in the States.
Hi Cob, I'm no expert but as others have said call charges will probably be cheaper with a local carrier. There are three here, Zain, Mobily and STC. Dependant on where you live in RT one is better than the other two. Telephone calls are one thing but you will also have to rely on one of these for Internet access (unless you go with Aramco system). Again dependant on your location in RT one of the three will give a better signal, you just need to check with your neighbours when you get here. VPN - programme providers like the ones you have mentioned only provide materials based on geographical boundaries (this is usually due to copyright of the material being broadcast - rights are only sold to broadcast say only in mainland US). The providers control this by noting where your IP address originates and if it is outside of their geographical domain you will not be able to access their service. A VPN masks your real location and shows your IP address to be from elsewhere (you have a selection of countries you can appear to be in) and allows you access to the providers service in a particular country. As well as this a VPN allows you to circumnavigate censorship laws where you may be. Hope this helps
We tried this very thing with TMobile last year. A fellow recently arrived Aramcon's tmobile phone was getting full 4G service in kingdom. Seamless international data roaming across borders (Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, airports,..) would be pretty awesome. Unfortunately, we were not able to reproduce data performance that my friend was getting. I believe that Tmobile only guarantees 2G service when roaming internationally. 2G is impossibly slow. Almost like not having data at all. I had many conversations with Tmobile support and sales to figure out what we were missing. It appears that my friend's great network service is a very fortunate fluke.
If you want to give Tmobile a try, I would recommend that you do so with an unlocked phone. An unlocked phone can be ported away from Tmobile (to STC, Mobily, etc...) if the service doesn't work out as you'd hoped. Unfortunately, unlocking a new phone isn't as simple as buying out the remaining contract. The carrier doesn't want to let you go until you've had the service for a year or so regardless and may have other restrictions as well. We were only able to get out this because the sales people misled us on a few points and Tmobile sided with us to some extent. Regardless, it was a long frustrating process that we never want to repeat again.... So, if you are getting a new phone, pay full price for it directly from apple without a contract. (there are other ways to approach this, but this the simplest and least likely cause great frustration and wasted money) Then you can put a Tmobile, STC, or any other sim in it and it should work for you just fine.
TMobile, like AT&T, may give you an unlock code for using a KSA sim card without unlocking your phone completely. Let them know you are moving to KSA and would like to use a local sim card while there.