T-Mobile to offer data roaming, texting free of charge internationally

By on October 10, 2013, 7:15 AM
t-mobile, free, messaging, uncarrier, roaming, international data

T-Mobile is shaking up the wireless industry once again. The company on Tuesday announced plans to eliminate international roaming fees for data and text messages sent abroad and charge a fixed rate of $0.20 per minute for voice calls – all with no additional monthly fee.

In an interview with CNET, CEO John Legere said travelers have long been shocked by exorbitant cell phone bills after traveling which has prompted many to simply turn their phones off or leave them at home when traveling outside of the country.

As you may know, international roaming charges can easily climb into the thousands of dollars if you aren’t careful. How then can T-Mobile afford to sever a lopsided revenue stream completely? According to Legere, international business isn’t a huge moneymaker for the company so the impact won’t be massive like it might for other carriers. As such, he expects to get back into the positive territory with regard to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization within nine months.

So, what’s the catch for customers? Well, the new features are free so that’s a plus but don’t expect a speedy data connection. According to chief marketing officer Mike Sievert, customers can expect network speeds to come in around the same level they get in the states after throttling – or around 128 kilobits a second.

That’s not enough to adequately stream video but for basic tasks like e-mail, social networking and music, it’ll work. Those needing faster speeds can purchase “speed packs” at varying rates starting at $15 for up to 100MB of data in a 24 hour period.

The changes will go into effect starting October 31 and will be honored in more than 100 different countries including China, France, Russia and Japan, just to name a few. New and existing T-Mobile customers on T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan will automatically be enrolled, we’re told.




User Comments: 5

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MilwaukeeMike said:

As a t-mobile customer who spends time in Canada, this is great news. Speed is not important, just any data connection will make some very important apps work correctly. For example, GPS obviously has no borders, but you need a data connection to use navigation and to see the map.

The irony of course is that T-mobile only allows you 10MB or so (depends on your plan) of domestic roaming data before your data stops working altogether. So when I drive to Canada, I'm going to use up my 10MB just by being between cities, and then I'll get a connection again once I change countries?!

How backwards is that?

1 person liked this | mctommy said:

As a t-mobile customer who spends time in Canada, this is great news. Speed is not important, just any data connection will make some very important apps work correctly. For example, GPS obviously has no borders, but you need a data connection to use navigation and to see the map.

The irony of course is that T-mobile only allows you 10MB or so (depends on your plan) of domestic roaming data before your data stops working altogether. So when I drive to Canada, I'm going to use up my 10MB just by being between cities, and then I'll get a connection again once I change countries?!

How backwards is that?

you should cache your map before going to canada, at least that will help with the GPS. You just wont be able to search and get directions but you'll be able to see where you are going =D

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As a t-mobile customer who spends time in Canada, this is great news. Speed is not important, just any data connection will make some very important apps work correctly. For example, GPS obviously has no borders, but you need a data connection to use navigation and to see the map.

The irony of course is that T-mobile only allows you 10MB or so (depends on your plan) of domestic roaming data before your data stops working altogether. So when I drive to Canada, I'm going to use up my 10MB just by being between cities, and then I'll get a connection again once I change countries?!

How backwards is that?

I'm with you on this one... Depending on the year and workload, I can annually spend upwards of 4 months in Canada (usually 1 week at a time). To avoid the ridonculous data roaming charges from Verizon, I often have to put my phone in a roaming data lockdown, and only update data through wi-fi. A plan like this one could be very interesting for business people like us...

And, I'll second @mctommy on the map caching, it really does help for general GPSing around in Canada. The tricky part is figuring out how to do it (Google Maps doesn't just come out and give you the option, you have to do it manually), and making sure you have enough cache to cover your route. The size restriction for offline caching can be very annoying if you are making drives of 100km+.

2 people like this | lmike6453 said:

As a t-mobile customer who spends time in Canada, this is great news. Speed is not important, just any data connection will make some very important apps work correctly. For example, GPS obviously has no borders, but you need a data connection to use navigation and to see the map.

The irony of course is that T-mobile only allows you 10MB or so (depends on your plan) of domestic roaming data before your data stops working altogether. So when I drive to Canada, I'm going to use up my 10MB just by being between cities, and then I'll get a connection again once I change countries?!

How backwards is that?

Hey check out the app "Navfree USA" or whichever country you need. It's an offline GPS system where you download a whole state/territory ahead of time and you can still search addresses etc with only a GPS satellite connection. I have it as a backup to google maps

Prushothma Rao Prushothma Rao said:

This is a bold step that will probably set a new rates-slashing trend on roaming charges. We expect to see a lot of Operators from different geographical areas form partnerships that enables their subscribers to use the local network without incurring ridiculous roaming charges. There are also solutions in store that enable the roaming subscribers to receive instantaneous alerts on the prevailing local rates as soon as they arrive at their destinations. We expect with these developments, bill shocks on travel to reduce significantly.

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