T-Mobile, With Shakira, Announces Free International Data, Texting

1 - T-Mobile, With Shakira, Announces Free International Data, Texting
2 - Making the World Your Network
3 - The Fine Print: Speed Passes
4 - Social Media, Cross-Cultural Marketing
5 - Worldwide Coverage, Nationwide LTE
6 - International Appeal: Shakira
7 - Getting the Word Out
8 - Shakira Is Back
9 - Shakira Has 22 Million-Plus Twitter Followers
10 - T-Mobile's Magenta
11 - The Barefoot Foundation
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T-Mobile, With Shakira, Announces Free International Data, Texting

by Michelle Maisto

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Making the World Your Network

"It doesn't have to be this way," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said of the fact that while mobile phones are designed to be used internationally, consumers pay "insanely inflated" fees when they do. Beginning Oct. 31, T-Mobile customers on Simple Choice plans can enjoy free texting and data use while roaming in 100-plus countries.

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The Fine Print: Speed Passes

T-Mobile's top executives hosted a fireside chat of sorts Oct. 9, to share the news. CTO Neville Ray said that he turns off his teen's data plan before they leave the airport "and she doesn't talk to me for the first three days" of any vacation. That'll no longer be the case. A small-print detail is that the free data is at 2G and 3G speeds—enough for Facebook, emailing and more. But for faster speeds, T-Mobile will offer three "Speed Pass" options for $15, $25 or $50.

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Social Media, Cross-Cultural Marketing

The free international texting and data-use offer will be promoted with a marketing campaign featuring two friends, Jeremy and Miguel, traveling around the world while their wireless bills rack up and their parents beg them, via video calls, to "turn off an app, already." The bilingual campaign will have a major Twitter component, in which users can guess where the pair are, for a chance to win a grand prize of a trip around the world.

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Worldwide Coverage, Nationwide LTE

In addition to making international communication more friendly, T-Mobile announced improvements at home. Its LTE network is now nationwide, in 233 markets, covering 200 million-plus people, and "smokin' fast," said Legere. "I can say we have the most reliable network."

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International Appeal: Shakira

T-Mobile's other announcement of the night is that it has signed a deal with international singing sensation Shakira. Following its announcement, it hosted a Shakira concert in New York's Bryant Park.

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Getting the Word Out

T-Mobile kicked off the Shakira concert with a commercial announcing the new offer. Another fine-print detail is that trips need to be six weeks or shorter. It's for travelers, not "people who are moving overseas," said Legere.

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Shakira Is Back

In the commercial, Shakira said of her role, and T-Mobile's offer, "This is about bringing the world together, and about free and open communication that will definitely improve human understanding—and I'm all for that."

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Shakira Has 22 Million-Plus Twitter Followers

"Shakira appeals so widely across American and international audiences," said Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert. "You're going to see us amp up [this campaign] where people travel. Our job is to put this in front of people."

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T-Mobile's Magenta

T-Mobile bathed Bryant Park in its trademark magenta.

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The Barefoot Foundation

T-Mobile has said it's excited to help Shakira market and promote her upcoming single and album, as well as her primary charity, The Barefoot Foundation, which helps to build schools in Latin America.