T-Mobile — that had been offering unlimited cellular data in Canada and Mexico — has now put a cap on the maximum data that you can use when you are visiting these countries, even if you are on an unlimited plan. Starting Nov. 12, the company will put a 5GB limit on 4G data and speed will be reduced thereafter.

If you run out of data, the speed will be reduced to as low as 128 Kbps. In case you are on a T-Mobile One Plus plan, you will receive 256 Kbps after the data cap is exhausted. Those on a lower plan will get a lower data limit.

  • If you are on a U.S. high-speed plan with 4GB data or 6GB data per month, you will get only 2GB data when you are in these countries. 
  • If you are on a high-speed plan with 10GB data per month, you will get only 4GB data.
  • In case you are in a plan with data stash, which allows you to accumulate data, the data will not be usable in Canada or Mexico anymore.

The reason for this downgrade in data availability, according to Engadget, is that T-Mobile needs to pay heavy roaming costs in these countries.

T-Mobile had been offering international roaming data to most of its customers for free, in an effort to attract customers from other networks since 2015 under the plan, "Mobile Without Borders.” However, the company says the data cap has now been imposed in an effort to “prevent usage beyond the intent of the product.”

T-Mobile’s unlimited plan is already capped at 50GB in the U.S. and the latest data cap for the travelers to the countries neighboring the U.S. raises on the so-called ‘unlimited plans.’ The company offers free unlimited Netflix streaming on its unlimited plans in the U.S. but this feature also won’t be available if a U.S. customer is in Canada or Mexico. In case you need high-speed data on your T-Mobile number, you would need to go for another $25 on the top of the base plan. However, this is a monthly fee, better than Verizon’s plan that is offered at a price of $10 per day. 

Apart from the data caps, the company is also expected to raise the cost of its Standard and Premium plans in November.

While 5GB might suffice for a short trip, it is definitely not enough for long trips. But there are other alternatives that you can rely on. In case you do not want to pay the extra fees to T-Mobile, you can purchase a new SIM card if you are in these countries for a longer duration of time, however, you would have to manage with a different number. You can also rely on public Wi-Fi at airports and train stations. Many hostels and hotels also provide free Wi-Fi.