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T-Mobile announces free global data roaming, texts starting October 31

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Travel-loving iPhone owners on T-Mobile's network will soon be able to text and access data for free worldwide, as the carrier has announced a new free international data coverage feature set to launch at the end of October.

 


T-Mobile confirmed the new roaming offer Wednesday evening, revealing that its Simple Choice customers will now have access to unlimited roaming data and texting in more than 100 countries. For voice calls, the carrier will charge a flat rate of 20 cents per minute when roaming, with no additional monthly fee. T-Mobile also confirmed to AppleInsider that iPhone owners can take advantage of the global roaming service, as can any other Simple Choice customer with a quad-band smartphone.

Early on Wednesday, T-Mobile chief executive John Legere hinted at the announcement in a tweet, saying the carrier was about to "change the way the world uses their phones."

The "UNcarrier" also teased the unveiling of free data coverage initially in an image uploaded to its website, with an additional image appearing soon after on the ShakiraMega Facebook page. That latter image revealed T-Mobile's other announcement: that global pop star Shakira had joined in a multi-year collaboration agreement with the carrier to aid in the "creation of unique content, fan engagement," and other promotional activities.

T-Mobile's own promotional image appears to show international coverage extending across North and South America, as well as much of Europe and portions of Asia.

Long rumored as a possible acquisition target for any of the three larger carriers, T-Mobile was on the verge of being bought by AT&T a short time ago. Since that deal fizzled, though, the carrier has been rejuvenated, due in no small part to its carrying Apple's iPhone, a development that occurred earlier this year.

Recent market figures indicate that the launch of the iPhone on T-Mobile's network in April led to the carrier's share of smartphone sales in the United States growing 1.1 percentage points to 13.2 percent. The recent launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c on that network may boost T-Mobile's share even further.

The company's resurgence is also owed to its novel wireless plans, some of which allow customers to get new phones with no money down or to upgrade on a faster time sale than the typical two-year contract allows. Those T-Mobile programs have led to other carriers quickly launching their own similar features, giving customers the option to upgrade early or to sign up for no-contract deals.

post #2 of 15

I was so excited about this.... that is until I saw the "fine" print.

 

 

Quote:

Simple Choice Plan international roaming rates

Rate per minute: 20 cents
Texting: Included**
Data services: Included***
* Rates are for calls within destination country and back to the US and from one qualifying country to another.
** Texts sent over Wi-Fi are 20 cents each.
*** Included data at up to 2G speeds. High-speed data passes available for purchase.
Qualifying Simple Choice plan and capable device required.
Rates are subject to change without notice. Airtime charges apply
 
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post

I was so excited about this.... that is until I saw the "fine" print.

 



 
Wow, rip off mayhem, I thought they weren't trying to rip off as bad but I guess. If they add better, surely. It is sad to see people paying so much for so little.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post


Wow, rip off mayhem, I thought they weren't trying to rip off as bad but I guess. If they add better, surely. It is sad to see people paying so much for so little.

Huh??

post #5 of 15

Ahhh, the infamous fine print...

post #6 of 15
I guess 2g is better than nothing, but it's not enough to make me switch carriers. In many cases, a prepaid sim in the local country and an unlocked iPhone would work out better.

A couple of questions about the texting:

1. Is it only to free to send texts to US phone numbers, or can I text to Japanese cell phone numbers from my Sprint phone while in that country?

2. I imagine that even if I could text to a Japanese phone while in Tokyo (for example), the recipient will be charged international rates when replying. Am I missing something?
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post
 

I was so excited about this.... that is until I saw the "fine" print.

 

 

 

Considering many T-Mobile customers are stuck on EDGE (2G) anyway, they won't notice much difference...

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post
 

I was so excited about this.... that is until I saw the "fine" print.

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure what is so bad about the fine print. This is about saving people from expensive data roaming charges.  International data on the slower Edge network will be free. That is plenty fast for texting, and email. If you want faster speeds, T-Mobile will sell it to you in easy to understand inexpensive (considering what others often charge) allotments. If you want to use voice, it is twenty cents a minute, which is also good for overseas voice. 

 

The plan is a big improvement what AT&T and Verizon offer. Moreover, T-Mobile is likely able to do this because its parent company has a huge presence overseas. 

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedGeminiPA View Post
 

Considering many T-Mobile customers are stuck on EDGE (2G) anyway, they won't notice much difference...

I doubt the T-Mobile customers who travel much overseas are stuck on EDGE. They likely have an iPhone 5 or one of the new ones. As such, they are likely on 4G or LTE. With that said, EDGE is fine for texting and email. 

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosujin View Post

I guess 2g is better than nothing, but it's not enough to make me switch carriers. In many cases, a prepaid sim in the local country and an unlocked iPhone would work out better.

A couple of questions about the texting:

1. Is it only to free to send texts to US phone numbers, or can I text to Japanese cell phone numbers from my Sprint phone while in that country?

2. I imagine that even if I could text to a Japanese phone while in Tokyo (for example), the recipient will be charged international rates when replying. Am I missing something?

 

 

Perhaps, but for people who are changing countries a lot this is better. Who wants to buy a SIM card repeatedly for every country they are in. 

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post


Perhaps, but for people who are changing countries a lot this is better. Who wants to buy a SIM card repeatedly for every country they are in. 

I agree. I forwarded the information to my sister. She lives in Germany, but travels to the U.S. regularly. In addition, they drive throughout Europe a lot. The ability to use her phone - even at low speeds - throughout the world would be a big deal.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #12 of 15

For me , who travels a lot in Europe, this is fantastic. I just need enough data to do IM and email. This isn't as flexible/cheap as putting a PAYG sim in my unlocked phone but a lot more convenient (not having to deal with a new number/setup each time). For the most part when I am not moving I have access to free wifi. 

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post
 

I was so excited about this.... that is until I saw the "fine" print.

You're not particularly good at reading "fine" print, are you?

 

You forgot to mention that T-Mobile's high-speed plans are available for $25 for 200MB abroad (compare that to $60 for 300MB on ATT -- what a complete rip-off). If you run over, it simply puts you back at the lower speed at no cost. You're still connected.

 

It's text to anywhere from anywhere; and voice to anywhere from anywhere.

 

Frankly, it's quite radical. This is going to seriously disrupt this stupid, Luddite, customer-unfriendly industry. Not soon enough, is my only complaint.

post #14 of 15
This is not a ripoff. First, try taking a US phone to canada. I did last week. Sprint blocked my data and my only option was to buy a block of 100mb for $30 (a ridiculous price). My friend used roaming data on At&t and was cut off automatically after using 20mb and had a bill of $300. $300 for 20mb. I would gladly take free 2g when I'm out of the country.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
** Texts sent over Wi-Fi are 20 cents each.
Texts sent over wi-fi? How does that work?

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