Earlier today, in addition to announcing that it is now the third-largest carrier in the United States, T-Mobile expanded its unlimited nationwide call, text and data plans to include roaming anywhere in Canada or Mexico. The move, dubbed Mobile Without Borders, is sure to lure frequent travellers to the network provider.
Over the past couple of years, T-Mobile has undergone a transformation as part of its Uncarrier branding initiative, replacing device subsidies with financing options, simplifying mobile plans, shoring its LTE network, purchasing more spectrum, and offering free low-speed roaming in over 100 countries.
But starting on July 15th, T-Mobile will begin offering LTE roaming in both Canada and Mexico as part of one’s plan. Similar to Rogers’ Roam Like Home, roaming in Canada or Mexico will merely eat into one’s existing data bucket, while offering free calls and texts within those two countries and back to the U.S. The difference, however, is that there is no added cost to the user: roaming in either country is merely an extension of one’s domestic service.
There are some caveats: LTE service is only available to T-Mobile customers in a handful of (admittedly large) Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Quebec City, Regina, Richmond, Saskatoon, St. Johns, Surrey, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler, Windsor and Winnipeg. The list of Mexican cities is larger, but includes larger urban areas (and vacation destinations) like Mexico City, Cancun, and Tijuana. In other areas, customers will be limited to 2G or 3G speeds.
Rogers charges $5 per day for the privilege of roaming in the U.S. with one’s call, text and data bucket. While that’s still the best deal for LTE access, it adds up quickly. Conversely, Wind Mobile offers a $50 plan with so-called “unlimited” roaming down south, but the fine print reveals that user will be throttled to 256kbps speeds after 1GB of use per billing cycle.
Suffice it to say, T-Mobile’s new roaming plan is a good deal, and worth using as a point of comparison when we hear how Canadian carriers are using roaming as competitive point of differentiation.