After ditching the usual mobile contract structure and kicking off an industry–wide trend with its Jump early upgrade plan, T-Mobile has now unveiled the third part of its “Uncarrier” strategy: unlimited international data and texting at no extra charge.
Starting on October 31, those who are on T-Mobile’s ‘Simple Choice’ plan will be able to use data and make texts from more than 100 different countries without having to pay any extra fees or abide by any data caps. Also starting on that day, those Simple Choice customers will be able to make international phone calls for a flat rate of 20 cents per minute.
The move may be the most dramatic one yet for the magenta carrier, especially when compared to the roaming charges of its competitors. Verizon, for instance, charges an additional $25 per month to get 100MB of international data, while AT&T’s rates start at $30 extra for 120MB. Additional charges for texting are then added on top of that.
“The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere contended in a statement. “Today’s phones are designed to work around the world, but we’re forced to pay insanely inflated international connectivity fees to actually use them. You can’t leave the country without coming home to bill shock. So we’re making the world your network — at no extra cost.”
But while the international data may now be free, it won’t be close to 4G speeds by default. Speaking to CNET, T-Mobile CMO Mike Sievert said that Simple Choice customers can expect an average speed of about 128 kilobits per second when across the world. That won’t be enough to get you steady YouTube or Netflix streaming, but it should do for the basics like email and web browsing.
T-Mobile says there will be options to upgrade those speeds, however. Though it isn’t saying exactly how fast the upgrades will be — we’d say you should expect something closer to HSPA+ than LTE — it did note that you’ll be able to get a day’s worth of 100MB of data for $15, a week’s worth of 200MB of data for $20, and two weeks’ worth of 500MB of data for $50.
In addition to the new roaming policy, T-Mobile is also rolling out a new feature for customers in the US who’d like to make calls and texts to those overseas. For $10 per month, Simple Choice users will be able to get a new ‘Stateside International Talk and Text’ package. That lets them use that same flat rate of 20 cents per minute for calls to any of T-Mobile’s covered countries, and it includes unlimited texting. Additionally, T-Mobile says that calls to landlines in more than 70 of those countries will be free and unlimited.
Finally, the carrier announced that its 4G LTE rollout has officially gone nationwide in the US. It claims that the network now reaches more than 200 million people in 233 cities across the country.