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I understand that international plans give the person who paid for a plan the ability to make outgoing texts or calls to someone at no extra charge.

What I'm unsure about is if I text someone who has a local US number, but is not located in the country at the time, will I get an international charge for texting or calling them?

For this question, the cellular company is AT&T. I'm in the US and the travelers with the international plans will be in Punta Cana and Canada.

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If you send a text or make a call to a US number, you'll pay whatever you normally pay to send a text or make a call to a US number. It does not matter whether the phone associated with that number is in the US or not at the time.

The recipient of that text or call may have to pay extra fees for receiving it internationally, depending on their carrier and plan. Not all international plans are "at no extra charge"; some offer a reduced per-text/minute charge or a limited number of minutes or other restrictions.

You could also use any number of messaging apps (Messages if you have Apple devices, Android Messages, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Allo, Telegram, etc...) to send the messages over a data connection without using text messages at all.

  • Thanks Zach! That’s how I figured it worked but I wasn’t entirely sure. Will mark as best answer when the timer allows me to do so :) – DrZoo May 23 '18 at 0:48
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    It can only be this way, because the caller has to be sure about their costs by looking at the number. – glglgl May 23 '18 at 8:16
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    @glglgl I would say it "ought to be this way" rather than "can only be this way". I have come across instances where you cannot identify a cost by looking at the number (e.g. several years ago inclusive minutes often did not cover calls to numbers on the Three network in the UK, and there is no way to identify a network from a number). – JBentley May 23 '18 at 8:30
  • One should check with the recipient beforehand if they have data connection, since depending on where they are and what plan they have, they might have disabled data connections for being too expensive. – PlasmaHH May 23 '18 at 9:39
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    @glglgl It is not that uncommon that it is impossible to know the cost of a call just by 'looking at the number'. Different charges for calls to different cell phone operators are/were quite common in Europe and with number portability, it is usually not possible to know which operator a specific number belongs to. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 23 '18 at 11:49

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