back to article T-Mobile FREES AMERICANS to roam world sans terrifying charges

T-Mobile is touting a new deal that eliminates international roaming charges in more than 100 countries. The move is part of the network operator's continuing assault on the cozy (and highly profitable) practices of US mobile providers. "The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy," said John Legere, …


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  1. ratfox Silver badge

    Clap clap clap


    I wish I still lived in the US so I could subscribe to T-Mobile.

  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Waiting for Bill Ray's comment on this

    Actually, I'm not.

    Good to see companies taking advantage of the chance of passing on savings to their customers.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    31 customers?

    Why only 31 T Mobile customers? How are they going to be selected?

    I quote: "From October 31 T-Mobile customers on its Simple Choice plan will have data and text messages charged at the local US rate when traveling abroad".

    You might want to remember basic punctuation rules to avoid reader confusion :-)

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Why only 31 T Mobile customers?......"

      A very good point old chap - you owe me a new keyboard!

    2. what's 'handle'?

      Re: 31 customers?

      Also, this is primarly a British tech mag, so dd/mm would be cool. :)

      btw why can't the forum motor process my name correctly?

  4. phil dude
    Thumb Up

    quite positive and..

    When I first got my T-mobile sim a few years back, the manager in the local Mall (they have many fewer shops than AT&T, but have "mini-stalls" instead), asked if I was from Europe.

    I said yes etc... and she said, oh well then you'll probably want the prepaid plan...many europeans seem to prefer it. Meaning of course, we are used to swapping out our sims....

    So basically, they have been moving this way for a while. The prepaid is "almost" a contract, only you can downgrade to PAYG at anytime, or up to monthly if you want. The $1/$2/$3 a day options are pretty good too.

    So when I return to the Europe perhaps rather than putting a competitor sim in.....

    Obviously, this is not only directed at Europeans, but I think it seems plausible.

    The only problem with T-mobile is coverage; it is fine where I live but when I travel into more rural areas, it drops off quite quickly. Driving the interstates of America is a true adventure!


  5. Number6

    I'm going to need a US SIM next week, perhaps I'll call into a T-Mobile store and see what they've got to offer. The ability to call UK landlines cheaply certainly stands out, although it'll still be competing with VoIP/Skype for my business.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      If you're coming in for a visit, just get one of the prepaid SIMs. To an extent, prepaid has been less subject to price gouging, and rates tend to be competitive amongst providers (though the best plans tend to be based on the T-Mobile network; AT&T-based MVNOs can't seem to undercut the parent company, whose rates tend to be higher than T-Mobile's. And since Verizon still uses CDMA for voice comms, support for international phones is hit-or-miss: mostly miss).

    2. Daniel B.


      Based on my last US experience, I'd recommend the TracFone PAYG handsets. Those cost $30 for the handset, but the cheapest minutes package will last you quite a lot, especially if you're doing mostly local calls. The SIMs aren't compatible with other handsets, but at least it is cheap enough for me to not care about it.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Katie Saucey


    I'll believe this after I see a monthly statement, and not have to call back 50 times

  7. Arctic fox

    I read this bit and I still can't get my head round it.

    "and another 20 per cent would do so if they knew how."

    Pardon? See icon.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: I read this bit and I still can't get my head round it.

      You missed the bit about it being American i see?

      20% is a lower number than I would have expected!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very Discriminatory

    And here in Europe, they are doing their damndest to resist Steelie nellies attempts to cap roaming charges wihtin Europe!

    How hyporcritcal/ WTF ?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Roaming in Europe

    > European readers will be looking slightly smug at this point, after the EU's digital tsar 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes forced telcos to cut roaming charges to a pittance

    Beg your pardon? €0.50/min is not exactly what I would call "a pittance". In fact, it's ten times more expensive than the cost of a local call, and that's with the "roaming partner" being the same company (Ok, from a legal point of view they're both branches of the same parent).

    Hmm... doesn't roaming, the way it's done in Europe, go against single market rules? That's a question for my local ombudsman, I guess.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Enjoy Your Cruise!

    And septics: Remember this "100 countries" doesn't include when you're at sea on a cruise ship. That's still $15/Mb and conveniently billed to your phone account so you won't know about it until you have been home for a month...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enjoy Your Cruise!

      Which is worse, that or the diarrhea?

      1. ROC

        Re: Enjoy Your Cruise!

        This seems to be the financial form...

  11. MondoMan

    "Free data" not quite what it seems

    News reports here in the US indicate it's only 2G data that's free for those roaming outside the US.

  12. John Tserkezis

    This article doesn't get the scope of the problem.

    Firstly, it's not just the US that gouges on roaming rates - it's a widespread practice around the world.

    Secondly, it's entirely unfair to say that no-one has called the carriers on their pracices, till now - it's been known for a long time.

    The general concesus is that if you're going overseas - you put aside your sim card, and load another when you get to where ever you're going. If you're a smarty pants and know what you're doing, you call your carrier and roam - and after you get screwed anyway, you complain about it.

    With the exception of apparently T-Mobile, the carriers pretend to care, and they still screw you. Flavour of the month here in australia is capped roaming charges - that sometimes cost many times a local destination prepaid card, or even departure-available global roaming cards, not quite as cheap, but still vastly cheaper than the pretend caps.

    It's going to be a long, long time before this gets fair, the reason is there are a whole bunch of idiot users who insist on roaming the regular way - why should the carriers "fix" a system that idiots are still happy (or at least stupid enough) to pay for?

    1. Metrognome

      Re: This article doesn't get the scope of the problem.

      My hunch, which could be way off, is that the "idiot contingent" is basically comprised of travelling workers who have low motivation for cost control. Either they're high up enough to not care or they are in the middle where the higher ups demand (and sponsor) their 24/7 connectability.

      Add to the mix the corporate comms buyer (IT or purchasing) who rather than choose the most cost effective solution they go to whoever provides the best coverage at the C-suites' homes.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That was a great win for big commercial organizations, teaching people that anything that was not gouging them for the highest price possible is socialism. As someone once said and i now misquote: "the trick is not oppressing the poor, but teaching them to oppress themselves".

  14. tin 2

    They'll need to fix that thing where you can't text internationally on prepaid (cos it normally costs more than an inclusive text apparently). I paid $60 for a week's service to be used for data and text, then found I couldn't text anyone I know, and the data rates when I was in coverage were of 1990 modem standard.

  15. James 100

    Premature smugness

    "European readers will be looking slightly smug at this point, after the EU's digital tsar 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes forced telcos to cut roaming charges to a pittance"

    Misplaced smugness in this case: Kroes is making a fuss about *reducing* the roaming charges *within the EU* - T-Mobile eliminates them for a much larger number of countries. Rather like greeting news of an international airport with "yeah? We've already got a BUS STOP, so there!"

    I like the idea of scrapping roaming surcharges, but T-Mobile are going a lot further here than Kroes has even contemplated attempting so far. I hope they're starting a trend here!

    1. PaulR79

      Re: Premature smugness

      Reducing with a view to eliminating them as far as I remember.

    2. JC_

      Re: Premature smugness

      T-Mobile are only doing this for US customers and only because they're desperately trying to build market share.

      Last month I was in South America and T-Mobile (UK) wanted £1.50 / minute to send & receive calls. If that isn't gouging, I don't know what is, and it'll only stop when either the market or regulators force them to stop.

  16. PaulR79

    Forget roaming I want cheaper out of plan costs!

    I've made this comment before but roaming now works out cheaper than calling when you've used up your monthly pittan.... allowance. Short of business people that travel a lot and the rich few who are flown about for fun I don't know many people that travel abroad often enough to care too much about roaming charges. Yes they're a big deal if you get caught but the practice seems to be buy a local prepaid SIM. While this goes on we're subject to ludicrously high local charges but that's ok apparently. It only matters when it happens across borders.

  17. Timo

    there is still a problem here

    TMO, with their general lack of coverage outside of any major metropolitan area, is not a wireless operator that an enterprise will tolerate. Being reachable and in wireless coverage is important to businesses, they know what makes their revenues flow, and so they're going to be on Verizon for coverage, or ATT for, dunno, their iPhones. TMO isn't enterprise-grade. Being a disruptor and cutting the monthly costs doesn't fix spotty coverage. Businesses can't afford to save money with TMO.

    Now, if TMO opened up roaming WITHIN the US, so that I could use ATT or anyone else for coverage while driving down the interstate highways, then maybe they would be worth using.

    Don't believe me? Check opensignal, and get outside of any city and see what sort of coverage they have.

  18. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    T-Mobile just don't know how to run a mobile network

    This is just another example of T-Mo's US incompetence.

    First, of all the US carriers, they are the ONLY one to not understand the point of carrier lock-in. Unlike the smooth operators like AT&T & Verizon, T-Mo are incapable of grasping that you have to forbid customers from changing the SIM (a technique that Verizon handles by not using GSM in the first place). T-Mo, believe it or not, will GIVE you the unlock code if you, err, ask for it. Oh, sure, they have rules about how the handset has have been active on their network for 30 days (or some such), but they'll waive that if you e.g. spent a lot of money buying the handset.

    Then they support WiFi calling (not VOIP, but using WiFi for the "last mile"), which works extremely well in, e.g., hotels with WiFi and allows one's US phone number to be used exactly as if it were in the US on T-Mo's network, even when you're in some hotel in Osaka or Dusseldorf (hmm... I'll have to check about Beijing, 'cos it may not get out of the Chinese Firewall).

    And now they're making it unnecessary to change the blasted SIM OR use WiFi calling, even though they make it practical to do both of those things.

    Oh, and the twits support tethering etc. without mandatory raping OR pillaging, too.

    Fools. Fools I say.

    1. mike 19

      Re: T-Mobile just don't know how to run a mobile network

      all the more reason i've been happy to be a loyal t-mobile subscriber for 12+ years. i just called last month and they shaved $20 off of mty monthly bill with a new plan i heard about that still offers me unlimited text, data, and us calls. it was painful the first few years with spotty network coverage but they are improving and wifi calling(stuck with touchwiz roms unfortunately when i really want cyanogenmod back) covers the gaps in coverage beautifully.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: T-Mobile just don't know how to run a mobile network

      I had little to complain about with my experience with T-Mobile. I was on a contract with them for two years and the phone was nice and the service quite satisfactory. I rather liked the WiFi Calling feature since I tended to spend plenty of time on WiFi (usually at home), and the subsidized rates weren't too bad, either.

      As noted, their unlock policy was quite fair and reasonable. I got my unlock code with little trouble (I asked after 18 months), and the phone worked pretty well aborad, in fact better than I expected given T-Mobile's bands.

      I only left because my contract was complete and didn't want to continue paying the subsidized rate. The main drawback is that I lost the WiFi Calling feature as well as Visual Voicemail (now THAT was good as it meant you could navigate it without having to use touch-tones). I'm currently still on the T-Mobile network but with a MVNO, and those two things are really the only things I miss. If a prepaid GSM-based service offered those features (T-Mobile won't offer the service with their prepaid plans), I'd probably jump on it.

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