T-Mobile CEO John Legere, shown in a June 14, 2014, photo. Credit: Reuters
T-Mobile on Thursday announced that there would be no added charges for its U.S.-based Simple Choice customers when they call, text or use data to Mexico and Canada or when traveling there.
The move, which takes effect Wednesday, makes T-Mobile the first carrier to offer continental phone service under a single plan anywhere in the world, company officials said.
The new Mobile without Borders plan means that customers can call from the U.S. to both countries for no added cost as well as when they travel in both countries.
Both consumers and business customers will be eligible, although business customers will pay $1 more per phone line for accounts with more than 10 phone lines, with no added cost for the first 10 lines.
CEO John Legere said the impact on business customers will be especially pronounced. About 70 percent of travel by small and medium-size businesses is to both countries, T-Mobile said, citing data from the travel industry. Also, 35 percent of all international calls across the phone industry were from the U.S. to the two countries last year.
During a conference call to announce the new plan, Legere blasted GOP presidential contender Donald Trump for his comments on wanting to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, at a time when joint trade opportunities are expanding and the need for affordable communication and interactions is expanding. The new Mobile without Borders phone plan offers an alternative to the proposed wall, he contended, while jabbing at Trump.
"Donald Trump wants to put a wall up, but our phone coverage will work seamlessly" between the two countries, Legere said. "Don't worry about the wall." He quickly added: "Sorry, Donald, for hurting your major platform for running for president. Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving...He really is entertaining."
Legere saved his biggest condemnation for AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, for recently buying two Mexican wireless carriers for $4 billion to be able to offer AT&T phone services there as well as in the U.S. "Sorry, Randall, you are not the only and first" provider for Mexico and the U.S., Legere said.
Legere said it wasn't necessary for T-Mobile to operate its own network in Canada and Mexico and will rely instead on the two largest carriers in each country to supply service. T-Mobile was able to forge reciprocal roaming deals with the four foreign carriers, which he didn't name, to lower traditional costs. In Mexico, Telcel, with 70 million customers, and Movistar, with 20 million, are the two largest carriers, according to recent industry data. In Canada, Rogers is the largest with nine million customers, while Telus and Bell are nearly tied with eight million apiece.
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