T-Mobile just gave international travelers a big incentive to consider jumping ship from other carriers. Using Shakira's star power, the provider has announced that its Simple Choice customers will be able to enjoy unlimited data and texting in 100-plus countries for no extra charge starting Oct 31. Voice will cost just 20 cents per minute. This is a huge discount versus other carriers. AT&T, for instance, charges $30 for a measly 120MB and $120 for 800 MB.
Verizon Wireless also charges through the nose for overseas data access, costing $25 for just 100MB and $25 per additional 100 MB. Meanwhile, Sprint costs $40 for 40 MB, or $85 of 80 MB. It's $10 per extra MB if you go over.
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To be clear, T-Mobile says that high-speed data will cost extra. For instance, you could pay $15 for 100 MB of high-speed data for a day. This would come in handy if you wanted to download a movie. T-Mobile's point is that you won't have to worry about checking e-mail, Facebook and more when you arrive in a different country.
Other Speed Pass plans include $25 for a week or 200 MB or $50 for two weeks or 500 MB. It's not yet clear what the speed difference will be between the standard speed and the boost, but it could be 3G versus 4G.
|Data Cost||Voice Calling Cost|
|AT&T||$30 per 120MB / $120 per 800MB (Global Add-on Package)||$30 / month for $2.00 per minute (Rest of World Plan)|
|Sprint||$40 per 40MB / $80 per 85MB (Multi-country Data Roaming)||$4.99 / month for $0.99 - $5.99 per minute (Sprint Worldwide Voice Plan)|
|T-Mobile||$60 per month for 2.5GB (Simple Choice Plan) Speed Pass: $15 for 100MB or 1 day, $25 for 200MB or 1 week, $50 for 500MB or 2 weeks||$0.20 per minute flat rate (Simple Choice Plan)|
|Verizon||$25 per 100MB (Global Data)||$3.99 / month for $0.06 per minute (International Long Distance Value Plan)|
T-Mobile is making this move to cater to Americans, who take about 55 million trips outside the U.S. each year. The provider claims that more 40 percent of customers turn off data roaming completely to avoid sticker shock. Now, they don't have to worry. But other carriers will.
This offer applies only to Simple Choice customers on T-Mobile, and the carrier says there won't be an extra monthly fee.
Here in the U.S., T-Mobile has also announced a new Stateside International Talk & Text feature for discounted calling and texting from the U.S. to all Simple Global countries. The monthly fee is $10 per month. Voice is capped at 20 cents per minute. Calls to landlines in more than 70 of these countries is included, as is unlimited texting.
This is the third big move for T-Mobile over the past year. The carrier was the first to get rid of contracts to separate the cost of the hardware from the service plan. And T-Mobile Jump was the first upgrade plan that allowed customers to upgrade their phone up to twice per year.
T-Mobile's LTE coverage has lagged the competition, but the carrier is doing something about that, too. The carrier announced today that its LTE network is now available nationwide covering 233 metro areas and 200 million people. Verizon Wireless is still way ahead with 500 markets, while AT&T is at more than 400. However, CEO John Legere claims that T-Mobile will soon have the fastest 4G LTE network as the provider moves to 20 x 20 technology.