Sprint is the latest carrier to break down the mobile borders between the US, Mexico and Canada with a new plan that includes a free 1GB of 3G data, calling and texts between the countries.
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s offer comes a few weeks after T-Mobile US Inc. announced its Mobile Without Borders plan, which it did to pre-empt AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s own North American service footprint. (See T-Mobile Stomps on AT&T's North American Footprint and AT&T Makes More Moves in Mexico.)
Sprint's Open World is a free add-on for its customers on domestic service plans offering calls and texts to Canada and Mexico at no extra charge, and calls starting at a nickel to more than 180 additional countries. Sprint is also offering 1GB of free 3G data when roaming in Open World countries, including Mexico, Canada and more than a dozen Latin American countries. Additional data can be added for $30 per 1GB, adjusted by actual usage.
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Sprint's new plan is a direct response to T-Mobile's move to make roaming more palatable, but both are arguably a response to AT&T, which is spending big to reach more than 400 million potential customers in Mexico via its acquisitions of Iusacell and Mexico Nextel. (See AT&T Commits $3B More to Mexico.)
It's all good news for those customers who travel between the countries frequently as roaming has long been a source of pain -- and huge bills. The carriers have typically blamed the high cost of roaming agreements with international carriers, but T-Mobile, for its part, said it was able to work out a mutually beneficial deal with operators in Canada and Mexico to make its new plans happen.
With these new plans, AT&T may be in Sprint's periphery vision, but the carrier is really duking it out with T-Mobile. It lost its third-place ranking by subscriber numbers to T-Mobile in the recent quarter, ending it with 57.7 million customers compared to T-Mobile's 58.9 million. Sprint has also again promised improved service in the US with its soon-to-launch, SoftBank Corp. -endorsed Next-Generation Network improvement plan. (See T-Mobile Beats Sprint on Subs, Eyes Verizon on Network and Sprint Promises Better LTE on Lower Capex.)
— Sarah Thomas, , Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading