Tracfone brand Simple Mobile has introduced a new wireless plan geared towards international travelers heading to the USA. The new plan is called the "Traveler's Plan" with the tagline "stay connected while visiting the U.S." It is a limited-time offer that gives subscribers 14 days of wireless service for $20. The plan includes unlimited everything but only the first 2GB of data is available at high-speeds before throttling to 2G data speeds. It also comes with international calling to 69 countries. Subscribers are only allowed to call 20 unique international numbers during the billing cycle. Like all Simple Mobile plans, it is powered by the T-Mobile network.
Potential customers can activate a Traveler's Plan with Simple Mobile up until 9/30/21. Peculiarly, it's only available for purchase through Simple Mobile authorized dealers and Total Wireless stores. Total Wireless stores carry all Tracfone-owned wireless brands except for Straight Talk Wireless which is sold in stores exclusively at Walmart. There are only just over 170 Total Wireless stores open in 20 states.
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Why Must Customers Jump Through Hoops In Order To Subscribe To The Traveler's Plan?
The timing of the plan launch in early February and its limited availability is certainly a head-scratcher to me. We're still in a pandemic with travel restrictions in place. The USA-Canadian border is still closed. That limits some of the potential target audience for this plan. Furthermore, it would seem that someone planning to travel to the USA would likely want to have their communication plans already sorted out before getting here. So why make it difficult for travelers by making this an in-store-only offer? I think this restriction further and severely limits the number of customers who can buy the plan. Good job Simple Mobile.
There certainly exists a market for plans geared towards travelers visiting the USA. ZIP Sim filled that market space for years but was forced to close down in June of 2020 due to Covid-19. The company sold temporary plans geared towards snowbirds who vacationed away from Canada during the winter. The SIMs were available for purchase ONLINE.
eSIM Is Perfect For International Travelers
T-Mobile MVNO Ultra Mobile also sells a tourist plan. Unfortunately, that too is restricted to in-store purchases only. It's sold at some T-Mobile brand retail stores and T-Mobile Preferred retail stores. Having those restrictions in place, and even the need for a physical SIM card with those plans is starting to seem rather archaic. There's a new wave of eSIM enabled providers out there like DENT Wireless. Dent and similar providers allow their customers to activate no-contract pay-as-you-go plans from anywhere in the world. The plans can be used worldwide in numerous countries including the USA. International travel is certainly a great use case for eSIM, but traditional USA-based providers seem to be missing the mark here.