T-Mobile USA makes it cheaper to use smartphones abroad as EU debates future of roaming
US operator T-Mobile has abolished roaming charges for texting and mobile data in more than 100 countries and established a flat global rate of 20 cents per minute for users who make calls while they are abroad.
The offer is available to T-Mobile’s ‘Simple Choice’ tariff customers and is available from the 31 October, with the operator declaring the days of exorbitant roaming charges were coming to an end.
“The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy,” says John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US. “Today’s phones are designed to work around the world, but we’re forced to pay insanely inflated international connectivity fees to actually use them.”
T-Mobile claims if the average user operates their phone abroad in the same way they do at home, charges of up to $1,000 a day are possible, causing 40 percent of customers to turn off data roaming completely.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Legere said. “The truth is that the industry’s been charging huge fees for data roaming. But what’s most surprising is that no one’s called them out – until now.”
The news will be music to the ears of European commissioner for the digital agenda Neelie Kroes, who earlier this week told European operators the days of roaming within the EU were coming to an end. She reiterated her plans to abolish roaming by 2016 and force the establishment of a single European telecoms market.
European operators have already been forced to reduce the amount they can charge customers for using their phones abroad, with Three going one stop further and abolishing roaming costs in Austria, Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Republic of Ireland or Sweden.
However, these are all countries in which Three’s parent company Hutchison owns networks and the EU regulations will only cover member states, whereas T-Mobile’s pledge will cover a much more significant proportion of the globe.
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