Verizon is introducing new international phone plans today that are going to make travelers a little happier, but only if they're familiar with how awful Verizon's plans used to be. The new plans are based around allowing Verizon's US subscribers to access their existing phone, text, and data allowances in other countries, rather than buying new plans exclusive to their time abroad. In Mexico and Canada, subscribers can pay $2 per day to tap into their existing plans: for most people, that'll mean unlimited calls and texts and a couple gigs of data. In most other locations, including Australia and countries throughout Europe, Verizon is charging $10 per day for the same access. Overages are $10 per 100MB.
Verizon is on guard against AT&T and T-Mobile
The new plans are going to be much cheaper for short-term travelers, as Verizon previously only offered monthly plans and ludicrous pay-as-you-go rates like $2.05 per MB of data. Its monthly and pay-as-you-go plans are still available as an alternative to the daily plans, which is good because $10 per day adds up fast. Verizon's monthly plan for Canada and Mexico offers 500 minutes of talk, 500 text messages, and 1GB of data for $25 per month (plus $20 for every additional 1GB), all of which is used separately from a subscriber's domestic plan. In other countries, Verizon charges $40 per month for 100 minutes of talk, 100 text messages, and 100MB of data. Basically, there isn't any one great choice, but the new plans will be much more useful for short stays abroad.
Verizon's daily travel plans appear to be its attempt to counter T-Mobile, which is no longer charging extra for subscribers to access their call, text, or data allowance in Mexico and Canada. Sprint recently launched its own response, which includes calling, texting, and 1GB of 3G data for free in those two countries, as well as much of South America. AT&T hasn't done anything, but it has bought two Mexican wireless providers and announced plans for its network to stretch from the US through Mexico, which has put the other major carriers on guard.