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Game Changer: T-Mobile Announces Free International Data

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One of the biggest problems for international travelers is the prohibitive costs of cell phone usage. Using cell phone data such as text, Internet or map applications in another country can be especially expensive. However cell phone carrier T-Mobile is changing the landscape by offering customers free international data and text when roaming. According to abcnews.com:

“On Wednesday evening the cellular carrier announced its newest ‘un-carrier’ move, bringing unlimited international data and texting to its Simple Choice customers. That means that if you are a Simple Choice subscriber, you will automatically start getting unlimited data and texting in more than 100 countries. T-Mobile lists the countries on its website here, but everywhere from Germany to Spain to China to Japan are included.”

This is a really big deal to those traveling outside of their country who are, at times, shocked upon discovering bills upwards of $500. As reported by techcrunch.com:

“It can be hard to appreciate how impressive that is unless you’re a traveler who’s had to deal with roaming headaches in the past. Let’s put this whole thing in perspective. Back before T-Mobile rolled out this plan, they charged a whopping $10/MB if you were data roaming in Canada, and $15/MB everywhere else. That means if you were to listen to, say, an average 40MB episode of the TechCrunch Droidcast while abroad, you’re looking at an additional $600 on your next phone bill. That’s an admittedly extreme example, but it’s not hard to see how those charges can add up really fast. T-Mobile has also flattened out its international call fee structure. While costs easily used to top $1.59 per minute, calling home from those compatible countries will now cost $0.20 per minute.”

This a great example of how competition is good for the consumer. The cell phone industry is dominated by an oligopoly, and had T-Mobile been acquired as planned by AT&T, consumers would have been in trouble. T-Mobile’s free international data is the latest in a string of moves that is helping to keep the company competitive with giants like AT&T and Verizon. According to cnet.com:

“As the smallest national carrier, T-Mobile has had to stay aggressive when winning over new customers, and CEO [John] Legere has certainly kept the company busy. In March, T-Mobile eliminated contracts in exchange for reduced cellphone plans and in July introduced an early phone upgrade program. T-Mobile announced the new plan at an event in Manhattan featuring a performance by singer Shakira, who has signed on to a ‘multi-year partnership.'”

The T-Mobile unlimited international data plan will surely help attract some new customers who travel often, and probably new business clients whose employees frequently travel internationally.

Check the video below of the T-Mobile announcement.

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