Bellevue, Wash. — T-Mobile is adding calls to Mexico and Canada at no extra charge and dropping roaming charges for voice and data usage within those countries for subscribers of its Simple Choice postpaid and prepaid plans.
“We’re just making Canada and Mexico part of your home territory,” president/CEO John Legere said in a conference call. The experience will be “seamless,” he said. Subscriber calls can be placed from any of the three countries to anywhere else in the three countries.
It’s the second announcement in a planned series of Un-carrier Amped initiatives, the first of which is a leased-phone trade-in program that lets consumers trade in a phone for a new one up to three times per year.
With the Mobile without Borders initiative, “virtually everywhere you call or travel in Mexico and Canada is now just like home — at no extra cost.” With other carriers, T-Mobile said, “The insane charges aren’t limited to roaming. Simply calling to Mexico and Canada can run up a huge bill.”
Now, the company said, “wherever you call, wherever you travel in Mexico and Canada, your phone just works like at home.”
The plan is available only to U.S. residents, and more than half of their usage in a three-month period must occur in the U.S. to remain eligible.
The upgraded plan also extends the company’s Music Freedom program to Canada and Mexico, delivering free cellular music streaming, and the company’s Wi-Fi calling and texting. Later in the year, users will be able to tap into their Data Stash in Mexico and Canada. Under the program, unused data rolls forward for up to 12 months.
To create the plan, which starts July 15, the carrier partnered with the No.1 and No. 2 carriers in both Canadian and Mexico, Legere said. The carriers offer the fastest LTE speeds available in those countries, he added.
T-Mobile noted that more 35 percent of all international calls from the U.S. are to Canada and Mexico and that 55 percent of all international travel from the U.S. is to those countries. A total of 59 percent of international-call minutes made on the T-Mobile network are to Canada and Mexico, Leger said. Seventy percent of small-business travel is to Canada and Mexico, the company added.
With Verizon and AT&T, T-Mobile contended, roaming drives up data prices by 120 times or more. Calling or traveling to the two countries also requires subscribers to “navigate a maze of international calling and roaming packages that could ratchet up your monthly rate by an additional $30 to an astounding $245 per line per month.” And consumers who don’t sign up for the add-on plans “could rack up a ridiculous $10,000 or more in a single week just for using your phone like you normally do,” the company contended.
Starting next Wednesday, every new Simple Choice customer will automatically get Mexico and Canada included in the plan. Current Simple Choice customers can opt-in online, by phone or in-store.
Business customers can also add coverage and calling across North America to their Simple Choice plan at no extra cost for the first 10 lines and $1 a month for each line beyond that.