ATandT Offers Messaging Plan for International Travelers

The two packages allow users to send 200 messages for $30 a month or send 500 messages for $50 a month.

Wireless network operator AT&T announced a pair of global messaging packages that allow travelers to share their trip using text, picture, video and instant messaging for one monthly rate from more than 100 countries. The two packages consist of Global Messaging 200, which allows users to send 200 messages for $30 a month, and Global Messaging 500, which allows customers to send 500 messages for $50 a month.

Customers can add one of the packages to their current calling plan beginning the week of Sept. 19, the company said, noting the additions reflect the increasing popularity of using mobile messaging to communicate from overseas. In a recent AT&T survey among international travelers, nearly two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) said they text from abroad, while nearly half (47 percent) stay in touch using picture and video messages.

"When our customers travel abroad, we want to deliver a wireless experience that's affordable and customized to fit their needs," Mark Collins, senior vice president of data and voice products for AT&T mobility and consumer markets, said in a statment. "Our Global Messaging 200 package lets travelers send a text, photo or video message for only $.15 a message - a great value and one we're excited to add to our international lineup."

Collins explained that with the new packages, customers benefit from "significant savings" compared to international roaming pay-per-use messaging rates, which cost travelers 50 cents per message sent for text and instant messages, and $1.30 per message sent for picture and video messages. "In contrast, with the Global Messaging 200 package, customers just pay $.15 per message sent," he said.

Before you snap that photo of wildlife or send a text describing a city street scene, though, AT&T encourages users to make sure they're in a country covered by the deal. Messages sent while roaming outside of included countries are billed at pay-per-use rate of 50 cents per message for a text or instant message, and $1.30 per message for a picture or video. Messages received while roaming will be deducted from the customer's domestic messaging package, or, if the customer does not have a domestic messaging package, the messages will be billed at 20 cents for a text or instant message, and 30 cents for a picture or video message. The company also provides a list of the 100 countries via its Website.

For those AT&T customers looking to communicate with their friends via video messaging and the Internet while stateside have four new places to try out the company's 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) next-generation network: The company announced Sept. 18 coverage expansion to Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Atlanta. The company said it plans to offer 4G LTE in at least 15 markets and to 70 million Americans by the end of the year.

AT&T currently offers four 4G LTE-compatible devices: the USBConnect Momentum 4G, Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G and USBConnect Adrenaline, all manufactured by AT&T, and the HTC Jetstream tablet, which runs the Android 3.1 "Honeycomb" mobile operating system and represents the first iteration of the HTC Sense user experience on Honeycomb. The Jetstream is also preloaded with services optimized for the tablet such as AT&T Family Map, AT&T Navigator, HTC Watch, HTC Hub, Friendstream and Android Market.