Jet setting international traveler types - who does your cell phone?

I’m mostly looking for advice from those who travel from the US to Europe on a regular basis.

My company is expanding our footprint in Europe, and we’ve started to discover the limits of our wireless carrier’s ability to support international road warriors. Coverage is spotty and dependent on country specific carrier peering agreements that aren’t actually QA’d on a regular basis; when data works, it’s slow as hell; US devices with US SIM cards take forever to show up on foreign networks; we’re getting boned on voice and data roaming charges; etc.

NB: The road warriors in question are mostly in sales, so I’m not entirely convinced that the problem is more carrier suckitude and less user error.

Anyway, in your vast cosmopolitan experience, is there actually a good US-based carrier for international travel? For both voice and data? That’s relatively transparent to the dumbass end user? Meaning, can you land at wherever, fire up your phone, and make/get calls and send/receive emails without having to do a bunch of stupid shit?

If not, how do you deal with it?

I’ve tried explaining to my boss that there’s no such thing as a “good” cell phone company, and have tried to get him to watch Louis CK’s bit about everything being amazing and nobody being happy multiple times, but he’s not having any of it. He thinks he should be able to get some magical iPhoneberry (with an enormous touch screen AND a keyboard AND that fits in his pocket AND sends and receives emails instantly BEFORE HE EVEN KNEW THAT HE NEEDED TO SEND SOMETHING) that works absolutely everywhere with no input from him, including in the Chunnel, because who doesn’t like listening to some Blues Rock on Pandora underneath the English Channel?

Fuck sometimes I hate this job.

We have T-Mobile, for this very reason. My husband was doing some travelling for work, and wanted a phone that would work when he had to go to Europe (Germany, mainly) without any hassle. At the time (6ish years ago?), T-Mobile fit the bill. They didn’t charge us a monthly fee to have the international capability on our phone in addition to whatever per minute charges (Sprint did, while T-Mobile’s was merely a check box, then they turned it on or whatever they needed to do), they had GSM phones (instead of stupid CDMA) and it all just worked. We did have to pay per minute fees, per the carriers stated charges, for international calls but he could place calls as if he were here in the States. (Perhaps unsurprisingly; T-Mobile’s part of Deutsche Telekom.)

Anyway, it’s been seamless for us. He’s even called his parents from the Serengeti (but that cost the earth. Oof.). He’s traveled in Germany, Singapore, perhaps some other places that I’m forgetting. Your company’s mileage may vary.

I have a Blackberry on Sprint, I tour with bands for a living and it picks up/emails just like I am at home. It also sends me a text when I cross borders and lets me know the cost of data and calls. Not every BB is worldwide though. Works like a charm