Travel is ramping up both domestically and internationally, so AT&T decided now is the time to announce 5G roaming in more than 35 international destinations for select 5G devices. 

“We were excited to be the first carrier to enable 5G roaming for U.S. customers in Japan back in 2020,” said Jenifer Robertson, EVP and general manager – AT&T Mobility, in a statement. “With international travel ramping up, having reliable connectivity while abroad is more critical than ever.  We want our customers to enjoy rich, unforgettable experiences while traveling – that’s why we’re thrilled to bring 5G access to 35+ destinations around the globe with more coming soon.”

According to AT&T, its International Day Pass encourages customers to use their phone like they do at home; the pass provides high-speed data, talk and text in more than 210 destinations for $10/day.

International roaming makes a comeback

Wireless carriers traditionally bring in revenues through international roaming, but when Covid-19 struck, that meant a lot of people who normally travelled for business or pleasure were no longer ratcheting up roaming charges.

With traffic patterns ticking up, that signals a return to the good old roaming days. During the company’s most recent earnings call, AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches said they have “every expectation that we should see continuing recovery in international roaming,” according to a transcript.

During the height of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, all of the big wireless carriers felt the impact from reduced international travel. During the second quarter of 2020, for example, Verizon reported that service revenue was down 2.7%, primarily driven by declines in roaming, usage and waived fees due to the pandemic.  

Of course, when the topic of 5G roaming came up during T-Mobile’s most recent earnings call, it took a different tact. President of Technology Neville Ray said the question will be “how many folks are going to be coming to T-Mobile and asking if they can roam on our great 5G with all of that footprint and capacity and capability that’s out there.”

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