NEW YORK -- T-Mobile is dropping international data charges and moving to flat rates for calling across most of its global roaming network for many of its customers.
The carrier unveiled its latest transformation at its glitzy "Uncarrier 3.0" event in Bryant Park, New York on Wednesday evening. It lit the park magenta and brought in hundreds of customers for a free show featuring Swizz Beatz and Shakira. The Colombian pop star has signed a "multi-year partnership" deal with T-Mobile US Inc. .
Click on the image below for pictures of the event:
The carrier is dropping data roaming charges for US customers traveling overseas, offering unlimited data and text in 115 countries worldwide from October 31 for users that buy a $10 "simple choice" package. Customers already on the Simple Choice plan "wonít have to activate anything or pay an extra monthly fee," the company says.
At present, roaming costs can run into hundreds of dollars for US users that travel overseas even for a few days, leading to many trying to use WiFi connections or switch to a local SIM card in their phone to try and save money.
Under the plan, T-Mobile says it will "never charge more than 20 cents a minute" for calls made from countries in the roaming network. Calls to those countries from the US will also run the user 20 cents a minute.
"We're removing another pain point for our customers," T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray told Light Reading, talking about the latest plan updates. He said that the operator hopes to further grow its customer base through the latest move.
The other three major wireless operators have reacted to T-Mobile's evolving strategy -- such as the Jump device upgrade plan -- with their own variants on the plans. Ray, however, says he isn't exactly sure how AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless will react this time. Roaming charges are a healthy chunk of change for many operators.
"There's a lot more at stake for them," he notes.
Berge Ayvazian, senior consultant at Heavy Reading tends to agree.
"Once again T-Mobile USA is disrupting the mobile industry with this third round of Uncarrier initiatives... expanding flat-rate voice calls, unlimited data and texting coverage to 100-plus countries worldwide," he notes. "This will keep AT&T and Verizon Wireless looking over their shoulders as they try to keep pace with innovation."
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading