T-Mobile announces unlimited global roaming to 100+ countries

by: Andrew GrushOctober 9, 2013


In the first two rounds of T-Mobile’s uncarrier initiative, we saw the death of traditional contracts and the introduction of JUMP, a plan that allowed folks to upgrade their devices early. Less than an hour ago, T-Mobile took the wraps off its “third phase” in the company’s ongoing uncarrier initiative, and it looks to be yet another game changer.

This time around, T-Mobile is “tearing down [global] borders” by introducing unlimited global data and texting to all Simple Choice customers starting October 31st. The new roaming service applies to both individual and business subscribers, and covers over 100 so-called Simple Global countries. Those looking to make calls while abroad will also be able to do so for an extra charge of 20 cents a minute.

[quote qtext=”The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy. Today’s phones are designed to work around the world, but we’re forced to pay insanely inflated international connectivity fees to actually use them. You can’t leave the country without coming home to bill shock. So we’re making the world your network – at no extra cost.” qperson=”John Legere” qsource=”T-Mobile CEO” qposition=”center”]

Even better, you don’t need to activate anything or call T-Mobile customer service to make global roaming work. Simply leave the United States and when you arrive in a covered Simple Global country you’ll receive a text message with information about networking speeds and any possible fees that may apply.

Before you get too excited, it’s important to note that T-Mobile hasn’t clarified exactly how fast the speed will be when traveling internationally. Still, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth.

In addition to global roaming, T-Mobile is also introducing a new “Stateside International Talk & Text” plan for $10 a month. With this optional plan in place, you’ll get unlimited global texting and will be able to call Simple Global countries for no more than 20 cents a minute, mobile to mobile. You’ll also be able to make unlimited (free) calls to landlines in roughly 70 of these countries.

And just like that, T-Mobile has shaken up the mobile industry once again. We’ve long thought that international text/talk/data pricing was outrageous, and are glad to see at least one carrier stand up against such practices. Now we’ll have to see how the other big 3 U.S. carriers react.

What do you think of T-Mobile’s new international plans and pricing? Impressed or not?

  • Bill

    Not impressed. John Legere said this would be something that the other carriers couldn’t match. They can EASILY match this… Why did they bother with a press event for this?…

    • Nickan Fayyazi

      He’s probably right, though. The other carriers (except maybe Sprint) are too greedy to give something like this for free. Especially when it involves unlimited data.

  • Amadeus Klein

    It does make things much better for those with international friends/family or who travel abroad quite a bit.

    So it is a game changer (in a manner of speaking), and does make global calling a better deal…

    While it’s a great thing I really wish they had announced something a bit more US related to changing more about the way the US carriers do business….

    • Adam Eldin

      Dude saying that this is a game changer is an understatement. This will FINALLY allow people that travel a lot to talk to eachother. My family travels all over the place and with a contract over in a few months this will definatly persuade us to switch.

      • Amadeus Klein

        Honestly this makes it much more likely that when my contracts are up for my phones I will be jumping to T-Mobile, with the plus that I will no longer have to get a SIM for my phone to have reasonable rates while in Europe…

        You are right, in the aspect of international communications it is a major shakeup, I just hope other carriers follow suit like they did with JUMP…

  • wferreira

    Will be interesting to see how this can be a game changer globally. If all the carriers worldwide do this, I think the comunications business will bloom everywhere.

  • raul

    seems a very good idea for those who live in the united states and mexico border.

  • John

    Wow. Being that I leave the country so effn often…i’m absolutely beside myself.

  • Ian Huntly

    At last. I travel a lot and roaming charges are insane, forcing buying temporary SIM cards in each country. Much better to cut the roaming charges and have a single number.

    • lil bit

      For short term travel its ok I’m sure, I too prefer roaming SIM on short stays. Another question is how long one can use this unlimited data for free when abroad, for example this guy I know from Alabama who owns a house in Philippines, it’s unlikely that he can stay there 2 months and enjoy free data and text for the whole stay on a T-Mobile SIM. I bet he still need his Philippine SIM.

      Personally I haven’t had any big problems with roaming charges on short stays in other countries, especially in SE Asia and middle east it’s not uncommon with free Wi-Fi in airports, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi comes to mind (voice services are usually blocked though, no Viber for example). In Europe or Russia I just limit my data activity, a few megabytes for the most essential internet activities doesn’t cost much at all.

  • Bone

    But what does Shakira has to do with all of this?

    • Lil bit

      I believe she performed at the announcement, and the international nature of the news made them choose a foreign artist.

  • sluflyer06

    The global roaming is awesome but the international per minute rate sucks. Google Voice is typically 1/10 that price and is as seamless as making a normal call. (ie. I can call Germany from USA on my phone though Gvoice for 3c/minute.)

  • weed

    Ahah this is so bad news. Everything international flips a switch in the average American so they enter some kind of defensive mode where they have to find something negative about it.

    • Amadeus Klein

      I have to disagree there… While some Americans do indeed feel the need to demean international activities, Saying that everything international is being defensively nitpicked for negatives is a bit too broad…

      In this case this was an announcement by T-Mobile US, Inc. About new features for US Subscribers…

      I went through all the comments up to this point, where is all this negative you speak of? I see way more positives than negatives in the comments…

      In this comment thread I see 1 post about high per minute rates and another about it not being impressed and it not being hard to match by other carriers.

      Even my post, which is not gushing about it isn’t negative, it is agreeing that the international options on T-mobile are a Game changer, but that it would have been nice to see something more from them to shake up the US cellular markets, which anyone with a US Cell phone plan can tell you are pretty screwed up, especially when it comes to price, coverage and contract terms…

  • Seth Forbus

    My T-Mobile stock is pleased. :P