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.