T-Mobile Adds Canada and Mexico to Calling Plans at No Extra Charge

It's the mobile carrier's latest move to add more services for T-Mobile's customers without adding more charges to customer bills.

T-Mobile, international calling, AT&T, mobile carriers, smartphones, Mexico, Canada

T-Mobile will now include calling, texting and 4G LTE data to and from Canada and Mexico for all customers who have Simple Choice mobile calling plans with the carrier.

The no-extra-charge "Mobile without Borders" services will begin July 15 for all T-Mobile customers, whether they are initiating or receiving any calls or texts between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on their mobile phones, according to a July 9 announcement by the company. The move means that Simple Choice plans will now cover all of North America.

For customers, the new service means that they won't have to pay more to use their mobile phones when traveling in or between the three countries. About 35 percent of all international calls and 55 percent of all international travel from the U.S. involved Mexico and Canada, which led to nearly $10 billion in global roaming charges at over 90 percent margins for mobile carriers last year, according to T-Mobile.

The T-Mobile move comes at an interesting time, some five months after AT&T, one of T-Mobile's major competitors, announced in January that it was acquiring the assets of Nextel Mexico for $1.88 billion. The AT&T deal was described by that company as a step in the creation of what it called "the first-ever North American Mobile Service area covering over 400 million consumers and businesses in Mexico and the United States," according to an earlier eWEEK report.

John Legere (pictured), T-Mobile's president and CEO, brought up AT&T's acquisition as he discussed the new T-Mobile Mobile without Borders services in a statement, saying that T-Mobile is beating AT&T to the punch and providing such services to and from Canada without charging customers more.

"So much for that," Legere said. "They won't be the first. And they won't offer Canada for free. We've done this the Un-carrier way—reaching across borders, partnering with leading providers offering the best LTE networks, creating a simple solution right now—then not charging a penny more for it."

All T-Mobile Simple Choice customers, whether they have prepaid or postpaid (billed monthly) accounts, will automatically receive the new calling features at no extra charge as part of their calling plans. Current Simple Choice customers can opt in online, by phone or in-store, while business customers can also add coverage and calling across North America to their Simple Choice plan at no extra cost for the first 10 lines and only $1 a month for each line beyond that, according to T-Mobile.

"We keep giving you more without asking for more from you," Legere said. "Now, wherever you call or travel in Mexico and Canada is just like home."

In a related announcement, T-Mobile said it has added 2.1 million new customers in the second quarter of 2015, which is the ninth consecutive quarter that it has added more than 1 million customers. The additions now give T-Mobile a total of about 58.9 million postpaid, prepaid and wholesale customers.

Through the start of 2015, T-Mobile has been introducing innovations to attract new customers and expand its business. In March, the company began offering new mobile services targeted directly at small and medium-sized businesses to bring them into T-Mobile's ecosystem. At the same time, T-Mobile unveiled a new program aimed at consumers, starting with guaranteed rates forever and payments of up to $650 per line to buy out a new customer's existing smartphone payment plan from either Verizon Wireless or AT&T. In the last two years, T-Mobile has unveiled a series of what it calls "Un-carrier" events that have ended mobile contracts for consumers, removed overage charges, created rollover data capabilities and more.

In April, T-Mobile reported mixed financial results for the first quarter of 2015, with a 13.1 percent revenue increase to $7.78 billion, but a loss of $63 million compared with the same quarter one year ago, according to an eWEEK report. At the same time, the company reduced its customer churn rate to a T-Mobile record low rate of 1.3 percent. That was in contrast to the company's fourth-quarter 2014 earnings results that were announced in February, when T-Mobile raked in a profit of $101 million and Q4 revenue of $8.15 billion.