T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) added 20 new countries and destinations to its "Simple Global" global roaming program, which lets T-Mobile "Simple Choice" postpaid customers access unlimited 2G data and calling at 20 cents per minute. The program now covers a total of 145 countries and destinations worldwide, including all of Europe and South America.
The Simple Global program was first launched in the fall of 2013 and had 115 countries at launch. T-Mobile said the program now covers more than 90 percent of the trips Americans take abroad each year. The carrier added that the most notable addition that it is bringing into the fold today is the Bahamas, where more than 2 million Americans travel each year.
Since 2013, T-Mobile said its customers have been using 140 times more data abroad, global texting has increased more than 10-fold and customers are making more than six times as many voice calls.
Under Simple Global, customers' data rates are capped at EDGE speeds of around 128 Kbps, though T-Mobile offers various levels of speed boosts to customers who want faster speeds. The company prices those speed bumps at $15 for 100 MB per day; $25 for 200 MB per week or $50 for 500 MB for two weeks.
Sprint (NYSE: S) sought to answer T-Mobile and in August unveiled its new "Open World" international roaming service that makes unlimited calling and texting to Canada, Mexico and other Latin American countries free for its U.S.-based customers. The offering also gives Sprint customers free calls and texts and 1 GB of high-speed data when they are traveling in those countries. Countries included in the offering are Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay.
Sprint also said that it will offer free texting, calling for 20 cents per minute and $30 per GB pricing to customers who travel in more than 40 other countries, including Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the Palestinian territories, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
T-Mobile argues that its offering will save customers money compared to similar international service offerings from Sprint, as well as Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T).
AT&T's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand said that as of yesterday it is offering unlimited voice and SMS messaging to and from Mexico. AT&T has emphasized that it is creating a single network between its operations in the U.S. and Mexico, following its $4.4 billion worth of purchases of Mexican wireless operators Iusacell and Nextel Mexico earlier this year. AT&T aims to deploy LTE to 40 million POPs in Mexico by year-end, but has highlighted that its calling and texting between the two countries is seamless.
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