There are plenty of headaches international travelers have to deal with on a regular basis, including packing, jet lag, and dealing with customs. However, T-Mobile is looking to at least eliminate the pain of international mobile roaming charges with a new feature that brings 2G global data coverage and text messaging to 100 different countries for no additional charge, according to AllThingsD.
This new feature is the latest move by the carrier (currently fourth in the marketplace) to challenge conventional phone carrier policies. By adding no-cost global data coverage, T-Mobile can make itself very attractive to the jet-setting crowd, especially as the cost of roaming on current plans could offset the cost of switching plans.
In addition to the no-cost data and texting, T-Mobile has also revealed a low-cost plan for calling, as well. For $10 a month, T-Mobile guarantees that calling to many countries will cost no more than 20 cents per minute, even when calling a mobile phone. Landline calls are free in 70 countries.
T-Mobile revealed that according to its own internal research, 40 percent of customers turn off their phones to avoid high charges while they are traveling. This new plan aims to lower that number and help keep those users engaged with their mobile devices, even when traveling abroad.
While the free 2G data speeds might not be as fast as users might be used to (2G probably wouldn’t be all that helpful for users trying to view HD video content abroad), it works just fine for simple tasks like downloading emails and browsing the web, which will help keep users, especially those traveling on business, engaged without feeling the pain of costs associated with international travel.
Though T-Mobile has been making some modest gains in the mobile share, it still hasn’t managed to crack the top three networks, currently occupied by Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. However, with its recent “Jump” upgrade and the debut of this new no-charge global data coverage plan, they may be able to take a crack at Sprint, which has been making steady declines in market share for the past several quarters. While a rise to number three probably won’t happen by the end of 2013, it could be possible in 2014 if T-Mobile continues their upward trend and Sprint’s slippage quarter-to-quarter doesn’t subside.
Though this new feature is certainly good news for current T-Mobile users who travel abroad, could it possibly turn the T-Mobile ship around by attracting new customers?
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