“Ok, I’m back.”
Those three simple words are enough to turn wireless executives’ stomachs when they’re uttered at the beginning of a video blog by T-Mobile CEO John Legere. The company announced Thursday morning during its earnings call that it added 2.1 million net new subscribers in the second quarter, but it also set the stage for its latest Uncarrier move: Mobile Without Borders.
Legere explained the new initiative by… bashing AT&T, of course.
“After spending billions buying up Mexican telecoms, AT&T’s CEO is promising ‘the first seamless network covering Mexico and the U.S.,’ something ‘unique’ that ‘nobody else will be able to do for the consumer.’ So much for that. They won’t be the first. And they won’t offer Canada for free,” Legere said. “We’ve done this the Un-carrier way − reaching across borders, partnering with leading providers offering the best LTE networks, creating a simple solution right now − then not charging a penny more for it.”
With T-Mobile’s new Mobile Without Borders plan, the carrier’s coverage and calling area extends into both Canada and Mexico for all Simple Choice plan holders. This means that calls to both of these countries are now included in the standard plan, as is roaming within Canada and Mexico.
Of note, T-Mobile won’t have 100% coverage in Canada and Mexico, so subscribers will have to do a bit of research before travelling. This is still a great move that takes some of the sting out of travelling, and out of calling friends and family elsewhere in North America.
UPDATE: Another important note — Mobile Without Borders is not a free add-on for subscribers with promotional plans. They’ll have to either switch to a new Simple Choice plan and lose whatever promotion they’re on, or they can keep their plan and pay an extra $10 each month for the Mobile Without Borders benefit.
Here’s Legere’s video blog introducing Mobile Without Borders:
And here’s the full press release:
T-Mobile Introduces ‘Mobile without Borders’: Extends Coverage & Calling Across North America at No Extra Charge
Next in its series of Un-carrier Amped announcements, T-Mobile unveils a massive expansion of Simple Choice — adds calling, texting and 4G LTE data throughout Mexico & Canada
Bellevue, Washington — July 9, 2015 — T-Mobile [NYSE: TMUS] has unveiled the latest in its Un-carrier Amped announcements—and this one’s going to make history. The company today announced a massive expansion of its first industry-rocking Un-carrier™ move, Simple Choice™, extending coverage and calling across the U.S., Mexico & Canada for all Simple Choice customers at no extra charge. Called ‘Mobile without Borders,’ this first-of-its-kind move delivers calling to both land lines and mobile phones − as well as 4G LTE data straight from your plan − across all three countries at no additional cost. The epic upgrade makes Simple Choice the first and only wireless plan to span an entire continent.
The move eliminates a major pain point for U.S. wireless customers. Last year, a full 35% of all international calls and 55% of all international travel from the U.S. was to Mexico & Canada alone. Over 70% of international trips taken by small and mid-sized business travelers were to Mexico & Canada. And, the same year, the carriers raked in nearly $10 billion in global roaming charges at over 90% margins. Meaning the carriers are lining their pockets with billions of dollars in inflated roaming fees—for coverage the Un-carrier now includes at no extra cost.
“After spending billions buying up Mexican telecoms, AT&T’s CEO is promising ‘the first seamless network covering Mexico and the U.S.,’ something ‘unique’ that ‘nobody else will be able to do for the consumer.’ So much for that. They won’t be the first. And they won’t offer Canada for free,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “We’ve done this the Un-carrier way − reaching across borders, partnering with leading providers offering the best LTE networks, creating a simple solution right now − then not charging a penny more for it.”
To hear more from Legere about Mobile without Borders, check out his latest video blog.
As with Simple Global, Mobile without Borders takes direct aim at the carrier practice of jacking up the cost and complexity for customers the moment you set foot over a border. The pain is real. AT&T and Verizon’s data rates jump an insane 120x or more when you leave the U.S. For example:
- Call or travel with AT&T to Mexico and Canada, and you have to navigate a maze of international calling and roaming packages that could ratchet up your monthly rate by an additional $30 to an astounding $245 per line per month.
- Even with the $30 “AT&T Passport” plan, add on your usage fees and AT&T could hit you with up to $285 in extra charges every week you use your phone in Mexico & Canada like you do at home.
- If you neglect to buy their costly, confusing add-on packages? You could rack up a ridiculous $10,000 or more in a single week just for using your phone like you normally do.
- And the insane charges aren’t limited to roaming—simply calling to Mexico & Canada can run up a huge bill.
- Last year, US wireless customers’ long-distance calls to Mexico & Canada totaled approximately 25 billion minutes.
- Assuming even half those minutes were mobile-to-mobile, the total pay-per-use cost could be as much as $7.5 billion. And, even if every customer paid for additional international long-distance (ILD) packages, the cost could still total up to $130 million.
By contrast, with T-Mobile, virtually everywhere you call or travel in Mexico & Canada is now just like home—at no extra cost.
One Big, Happy Continent
Mobile without Borders provides a simpler, saner way to connect—everything’s covered. Using your phone throughout Mexico & Canada is as easy as driving across the border. It’s simple and doesn’t cost you a penny more to talk, text and access your 4G LTE data just like home. Now, we’re all one big, happy continent.
Beginning July 15th, calls to, from and between the U.S., Mexico & Canada − whether mobile or landline − are included in our latest plans at no extra charge. And, when you’re in Mexico & Canada, you’ll use 4G LTE data straight from your Simple Choice 4G LTE data plan. Now, wherever you call, wherever you travel in Mexico & Canada, your phone just works— like at home. It doesn’t matter whether you’re calling Mexico City from Toronto or Tallahassee—it’s now all part of your plan. Get off a plane in Puerto Vallarta, Poughkeepsie or Prince Edward, and you’ll have the same outstanding Un-carrier experience. Zero ridiculous calling rates, zero jacked-up data rates, zero hoops to jump through. And, as always, you get all the other Un-carrier benefits like Music Freedom and Wi-Fi calling and texting. You’ll be even able to tap into your Data Stash in Mexico & Canada starting later this year.
Everyone’s eligible, including Simple Choice postpaid and prepaid customers. Starting next Wednesday, every new Simple Choice customer will automatically get Mexico & Canada included in their plan at no extra charge. Current Simple Choice customers can simply opt-in online, by phone, or in-store by switching to our latest plans for free. Business customers can also add coverage and calling across North America to their Simple Choice plan at no extra cost for the first 10 lines and only $1 a month for each line beyond that.
“We keep giving you more without asking for more from you,” Legere said. “Now, wherever you call or travel in Mexico & Canada is just like home. This is the perfect complement to Simple Global, which led the way with free texting to virtually anywhere in the world and free roaming data in more than 120 countries and destinations worldwide. The Un-carrier goodness keeps on coming.”
For more information about Simple Choice and Mobile without Borders, check out t-mobile.com/3countries. For information about Mobile without Borders for business, check out t-mobile.com/3countries1price4biz.
Qualifying Simple Choice North America service req’d. Credit approval, deposit & $15 SIM starter kit may be req’d. For U.S. residents with primary use on T-Mobile’s U.S. network; not for extended international use. See T-Mobile.com/3countries for details.