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T-Mobile Stomps on AT&T's North American Footprint

T-Mobile is sticking it to AT&T again, this time beating it to the punch on creating a North American mobile footprint. The carrier announced today it has formed partnerships with the "top carriers" in Canada and Mexico that will let its US-based customers use their services with no upcharge in either country.

"Do you know who is really pissed now? Hashtag Randall CEO of AT&T -- AT&T spent $4 billion to buy two Mexican companies, Nextel and Loser-cell, I think that's what it's called, and said they'd be first and only to create the North American footprint," T-Mobile CEO John Legere quipped on the call. "We are the first, and we added in Canada."

The ever-illustrious CEO was referring to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s recent acquisitions of Nextel Mexico and Isucell and its plans to build what it has called the first North American service area that treats Mexico and the US as one. The carrier already offers unlimited calls to Mexico for $5 per month as part of its World Connect Value plan. (See AT&T Commits $3B More to Mexico and AT&T Makes More Moves in Mexico.)

T-Mobile US Inc. does appear to have beat it there by forming partnerships with two unnamed carriers in Mexico and six in Canada to offer free LTE roaming for its customers that spend at least 50% of their time in the US when they travel there.

The plan, called Mobile Without Borders is available to all Simple Choice pre- and postpaid business users and consumers beginning on July 15. Simple Choice and Simple Global were among T-Mobile's first "uncarrier" moves in 2013 that allowed customers to roam internationally for a $10 add-on charge with calls not exceeding 20 cents per minute and 2G data speeds. (See Bills Don't Lie: T-Mobile Drops International Roaming Charges.)


To read more about T-Mobile's previous nine "uncarrier" announcements, peruse the mobile content section here on Light Reading.


With a couple of jabs against its newest Twitter enemy, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CEO Marcelo Claure, Legere also divulged some of T-Mobile's second-quarter figures ahead of its earning announcement on July 30. T-Mobile added 2.1 million postpaid customers in the second quarter, up 41% from the previous year and marking its ninth consecutive quarter of over 1 million in net adds.

Branded postpaid net customer additions, a metric where its competitors suffered in the past quarter, came in at more than 1 million, 760,000 of which were phones. T-Mobile says its total customer base now sits at 58.9 million across postpaid, prepaid and wholesale. Sprint hasn't announced when it will report its next quarterly earnings, but then it'll be clear whether T-Mobile has surpassed it in size by customers. (See T-Mobile Beats Sprint on Subs, Eyes Verizon on Network.)

"Whatever is going on [at Sprint] is really not impacting us," Legere said on the call, noting that T-Mobile has had six quarters of positive porting -- or customers added from other carriers -- from all three of its competitors.

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

danielcawrey 7/11/2015 | 2:39:29 PM
Re: #Randall The lengths that T-Mobile goes to in acting as an irritant to its competition is pretty funny.

While I don't think there is a huge market for this North American footprint, it's one of those competitive things companies do to expand awareness of their services. Am I against this type of marketing strategy? Of course not!
mhhf1ve 7/9/2015 | 11:06:01 PM
Re: >50% in the US? Ah. I suppose what they really don't want is to lose out on international calling fees if subscribers game the system by going home to Canada or Mexico and making calls to the U.S. for free.
Sarah Thomas 7/9/2015 | 9:27:17 PM
Re: >50% in the US? Then they aren't eligible for the Simple Choice plan. They don't want people to game the system and sign up for service here then go back home to Canada or Mexico.
mhhf1ve 7/9/2015 | 4:21:50 PM
How many other Mexican LTE operators are there? I see three: 
  • Nextel Mexico
  • Telcel
  • Telefonica Mexico

So if AT&T bought Nextel Mexico... T-mo's unnamed Mexican partners are Telcel and Telefonica Mexico? Is that right? 

But maybe I'm just missing out on other LTE carriers in Mexico....? 
mhhf1ve 7/9/2015 | 4:17:47 PM
>50% in the US? So what happens if a T-Mo subscriber spends more than 50% of his/her time in Canada or Mexico? 
Ariella 7/9/2015 | 12:42:57 PM
Re: #Randall I've heard a few people use that figure of speech, though not in any formal context. Some people really like hashtags for emphasis and put them on their FB posts, too. I suppose then there is spillover to conversation, just like some people say "LOL," or "OMG." 
Sarah Thomas 7/9/2015 | 12:14:51 PM
#Randall In case you were wondering, yes, Legere actually said hashtag Randall...so social media savvy!
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