T-Mobile announces free international roaming to more than 100 countries

In an effort to shake-up the telecom industry yet again, T-Mobile has announced that customers will soon be able to take advantage of international roaming at no additional charge. Included comes unlimited texting, unlimited 128Kbps data (think 2G/EDGE speeds), and flat-rate calls that are just 20 cents per minute. If you want faster data, speed packs can be purchased for $15, $25, or $25 for 100MB (1 day), 200MB (1 week), or 500MB (2 weeks), respectively. Customers traveling abroad would normally end up with hundreds of dollars worth of roaming bills, regardless of carrier. For those who really rely on communication when abroad, going the VoIP route, using Wi-Fi Calling (on supported T-Mobile phones, of course) with a local Wi-Fi hotspot, or just picking up a local SIM would be worthwhile alternatives. For more information, check out the official press release and snazzy announcement video below.

Press Release

T-Mobile Makes the World Your Network — at No Extra Charge and Now Delivers Nationwide 4G LTE

T-Mobile customers to enjoy unlimited data and texting worldwide — at no extra charge

Also slashes calling rates from U.S. — now never more than 20 cents per minute with Stateside International Talk & Text feature

Announces multiyear partnership with international superstar Shakira

NEW YORK — Oct. 9, 2013 — T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS), America’s new No. 1 choice in wireless, is again upending and innovating the wireless industry, delivering unlimited global data at no extra charge in 100+ countries — making the company’s home data coverage area larger than AT&T’s and Verizon’s combined.


Tonight, at a concert event for thousands of its customers at New York’s Bryant Park, featuring international superstar and new T-Mobile collaborator Shakira, the Un-carrier announced that it is tearing down borders and walking away from the U.S. wireless industry practice of charging exorbitant international roaming rates.


“The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. “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.”


Americans take about 55 million trips to destinations outside the U.S. every year. When U.S. customers use their phones abroad the way they normally do at home, their costs often total $1,000 a day or more. So more than 40 percent of customers turn off data roaming completely. Another 20 percent more say they would if they knew how. The toll these roaming fees take on individuals and businesses is huge. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, wireless customers face a hard choice — use their phone when they need it and pay through the nose, or cut off communications to contain costs.


“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Legere said. “The truth is that the industry’s been charging huge fees for data roaming. But what’s most surprising is that no one’s called them out — until now.”


T-Mobile tonight announced that it’s expanding the home data coverage for most Simple Choice customers to include more than 100 countries, at no extra charge. Starting Oct. 31, these Simple Choice individual and business customers automatically get unlimited data and texting in more than 100 Simple Global countries worldwide, and they will only pay a global flat rate of 20 cents per minute for voice calls when roaming in the same countries. Eligible customers on T-Mobile’s popular Simple Choice plan won’t have to activate anything or pay an extra monthly fee.


And, for customers in the U.S. wanting a saner, more affordable way to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues worldwide, T-Mobile’s got them covered, too. The company announced tonight its new Stateside International Talk & Text feature for discounted calling and texting from the U.S. to all Simple Global countries. Customers never pay more than 20 cents a minute to any number in any Simple Global country, including mobile to mobile. Calls to landlines in more than 70 of these countries are unlimited and included at no extra cost. Unlimited texting is also included to all countries. Stateside International Talk & Text is available to most Simple Choice customers for just $10 a month.


In network news, T-Mobile tonight also announced that its latest-generation 4G LTE network is now nationwide, reaching more than 200 million people in 233 metros across the United States.


“We’ve not only delivered nationwide 4G LTE months ahead of schedule,” said Neville Ray, chief technology officer for T-Mobile. “Our nationwide 4G LTE is right on top of our already nationwide 4G HSPA+ network — which translates to one wicked-fast combined 4G network experience.”


In recent third-party tests involving millions of results from real customers nationwide, T-Mobile’s 4G LTE nationwide network delivered faster speeds than the 4G LTE networks of Verizon and Sprint. In addition, T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network already has faster median speeds than AT&T’s 4G LTE network in 10 of the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas. In fact, T-Mobile’s new nationwide LTE network delivers 4G LTE speeds more consistently than any of the national providers.


Making global connections and bringing the world closer together is also a key value for global artist, songwriter and Grammy Award-winning music icon, Shakira. T-Mobile is working with the musical powerhouse to bring that message to people everywhere and announced the collaboration through a new multiyear partnership agreement to include the creation of unique content, fan engagement and exclusive access to her new music.


“Today is all about bringing the world closer together,” Shakira said. “I’m excited to partner with T-Mobile and look forward to being able to share my music in new and innovative ways.”


As part of the relationship, T-Mobile will support Shakira’s upcoming single and album releases to create unique T-Mobile customer experiences. T-Mobile is breaking the traditional sponsorship mold and creating a unique partnership where the company and the artist will work together to help amplify key messages and initiatives for each other, which will also include a select number of special events for the public and exclusive fan engagement activities.


These announcements build on months of momentum since T-Mobile kicked off its Un-carrier consumer movement earlier this year. Since then, the company has enjoyed a groundswell of support from U.S. consumers signing on in record numbers, making T-Mobile America’s No. 1 choice in wireless since its Un-carrier launch in late March — with more net new postpaid customers than AT&T, Verizon and Sprint combined.


T-Mobile has been working hard on solving customers’ cellular pain points, and has seemingly covered all of them, including eliminating contracts, introducing a wide 4G LTE footprint, and switching to simpler, more affordable and feature-rich plans. But, one, which happens to be the most common issue that I’ve seem people complain about for a long time: the massive amount of GPRS/EDGE-only areas. T-Mobile works exceptionally well in cities, but traveling between them or to rural areas may result in much-reduced data speeds. Coverage, though, is still generally fine. It’s said that an upcoming spectrum auction will greatly help, but it’s anybody’s guess as to how long that that will actually take.

Regardless, the changes that T-Mobile has been making really has been changing the wireless industry, at least in the United States, even making the other carriers take notice and make some changes, albeit small ones. T-Mobile’s future outlook is looking rather strong.

Feel free to follow Brian and Gadget Unit on Twitter.

Source: T-Mobile, TmoNews, AllThingsD