Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

October 13, 2013

T-Mobile getting rid of its overseas fees

Customers don't need international plan.

(Continued)

There are signs that T-Mobile’s previous changes have helped boost its standing. In the April-June quarter, T-Mobile gained long-term, good-credit customers for the first time in at least two and a half years. T-Mobile US Inc. added a net 688,000 such customers in the quarter, compared with a loss of 557,000 in the same period a year earlier.

Part of the boost came because the carrier began selling Apple’s iPhone for the first time in April. But the iPhone accounted for only 26 percent of smartphone sales in the quarter, an indication that there was more behind the gain.

The new plan is likely to appeal to customers who travel frequently to any of the covered countries. Canada, Mexico and other major countries on every continent except Antarctica will be covered. Officials say the list includes the vast majority of the places Americans visit.

In addition to free data and texting while traveling in those countries, customers will pay a flat rate of 20 cents per minute for voice calls to any of those same countries or the U.S. T-Mobile and other carriers now charge $1 or more a minute in many countries.

For an additional $10 a month, customers will also get free calling from the U.S. to landlines in more than 70 countries. Calls to other countries in the program or to other mobile phones will be 12 to 20 cents a minute, the company said.

Data roaming will be where customers save most. Verizon, for instance, now charges $25 for 100 megabytes of roaming abroad — but only if you sign up in advance. Otherwise, it’s $20.48 per megabyte, or $2,048 for 100 megabytes. Posting lots of photos on Facebook and using graphical mapping apps can eat up a few hundred megabytes over a week.

There will be some limits for frequent travelers. Any trip abroad needs to be six weeks or less, and customers need to spend at least half their time in the U.S. in any three-month period. The program is not for students spending a year abroad, for instance.

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