T-Mobile's MetroPCS extends coverage and data service to Mexico

T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) MetroPCS customers are getting the benefits of seamless service in Mexico that T-Mobile has extended to its branded customers in Mexico and Canada. Analysts said the MetroPCS offer stands out because of its extension of data service to Mexico.  

MetroPCS is launching "Mexico Unlimited," which expands MetroPCS customers' coverage and calling throughout Mexico. T-Mobile said MetroPCS customers with a $40 or higher base rate plan can add the feature at MetroPCS stores or online starting today. While in the U.S., customers get unlimited mobile to mobile and landline calls to Mexico as well as unlimited texting to Mexico. While in Mexico, MetroPCS customers will get unlimited mobile to mobile and landline calls to U.S. and in Mexico, unlimited texting to the U.S., and most importantly, unlimited data that gets deducted from MetroPCS customers' LTE data plans.

T-Mobile did not reveal its roaming relationships or agreements in Mexico but said it has "partnerships with leading providers with the best networks" south of the border.

Customers who add Mexico Unlimited to their plan on or before Aug. 31 will get it at for free through the end of 2015. After that, the service will cost $5 per month per line.

The new offer comes after T-Mobile last week launched its "Mobile without Borders" offer, under which T-Mobile will let customers make calls, texts and use data as they do in the U.S. when they travel to Mexico and Canada. 

The new MetroPCS plan compares favorably to other offerings from rival prepaid carriers, especially on the service customers get in Mexico. In February AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) added unlimited calling to Mexico for customers on its $60 per month GoPhone plan. Shortly before then AT&T's Cricket prepaid brand added unlimited calling to Mexico for all of its $50 and $60 plans. The Cricket option includes long distance voice calls from the U.S. to Mexico only.

Sprint (NYSE: S) offers unlimited 2G data roaming and texting for free in Mexico for Sprint-branded customers, with calls at 20 cents per minute, under its International Value Roaming offer. For $5 per month, on Sprint's Boost Mobile brand, customers with its $45 and $55 plans get unlimited calling to all of Mexico and unlimited text messaging. For $5 per month, Sprint's Virgin Mobile customers get unlimited calling to Mexican landlines and unlimited texting.

Strategy Analytics analyst Susan Welsh de Grimaldo said MetroPCS' offering feels like "what Europeans call 'roam like at home.' It taps into your plan and lets you do what you used to do."

"I think that's a compelling offer in terms of, it feels like what you had," she said. She noted that MetroPCS has a large Hispanic customer base that the offer will likely appeal to.  

Current Analysis analyst Lynnette Luna noted that competition has intensified in prepaid, especially for international features, but said "it's going to be hard for Cricket and others to match" MetroPCS' offer. She said that after T-Mobile introduced "Mobile without Borders," she expected the new MetroPCS offer, at least for Mexico, otherwise T-Mobile risked cannibalizing the MetroPCS customer base.

For more:
- see this release
- see this CNET article

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