Phase one was abolishing traditional two-year contracts and subsidies, phase two was the Jump "anytime upgrade" program... so what does T-Mobile have in store for its third Uncarrier announcement? As a leak -- and the promised partnership with Shakira -- hinted, the news is unlimited data and texting worldwide. Tonight in New York City, CEO John Legere said that the network is expanding home data coverage for Simple Choice customers to include more than 100 countries -- from Anguilla to Vietnam-- at no additional charge. Voice calls, meanwhile, will cost 20 cents per minutes in those same countries. "Wherever, Whenever," right?
The new global data offering will go into effect starting October 31st, and T-Mobile says customers with qualifying plans won't need to sign up or pay a fee to access basic service. Legere declined to detail free speeds, but we'd expect 2G performance -- enough to use text-based apps like Twitter and email, but insufficient for media consumption. Power users can boost speeds with any of three paid passes: one day and 100MB for $15, one week and 200MB for $25 or two weeks and 500MB for $50. Once your plan runs out, you can buy another, or revert to free service. To ensure that only travelers take advantage of free plans, each period abroad can be no longer than six weeks, and during a three-month period, six weeks must be spent in the US.
For those folks at home, the carrier is offering a new Stateside International Talk and Text plan that lets Simple Choice customers call or text participating countries for no more than 20 cents a minute. (Calls to landlines will be free to over 70 of those countries.) That plan will cost $10 a month. As anyone who's been abroad with a smartphone knows, getting connected is expensive, complicated or both. As for other carriers following suit? Legere has some words for them, too. "What our competitors should do is wait a year to see if this hurts us. Let 'em go for another year and see what happens." Head past the break for an intro video, along with a full list of participating Simple Choice countries.
Aland Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bonaire, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Easter Island, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mexico, Moldova, Montserrat, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Svalbard, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia
Zach Honig contributed to this report.
Update: We've added pictures from T-Mobile's event with Shakira in New York City tonight. You'll find the gallery just below.
Shakira at T-Mobile Unleashed 2013 at Bryant ParkSee all photos
T-Mobile Makes the World Your Network – at No Extra Charge And Now Delivers Nationwide 4G LTE
T-Mobile customers to enjoy unlimited data and texting worldwide – at no extra charge
Also slashes calling rates from US – now never more than 20¢/min. with Stateside International Talk & Text feature Announces multi-year partnership with international superstar Shakira
NEW YORK - Oct. 9, 2013 - T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS), America's new number one choice in wireless, is again upending and innovating the wireless industry, delivering unlimited global data at no extra charge in 100+ countries – making the company's home data coverage area larger than AT&T's and Verizon's combined.
Tonight, at a concert event for thousands of its customers at New York's Bryant Park, featuring international superstar and new T-Mobile collaborator Shakira, the Un-carrier announced that it is tearing down borders and walking away from the US wireless industry practice of charging exorbitant international roaming rates.
"The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US, Inc. "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. You can't leave the country without coming home to bill-shock. So we're making the world your network – at no extra cost."
Americans take about 55 million trips to destinations outside the US every year. When US customers use their phones abroad the way they normally do at home, their costs often total $1,000 a day or more. So more than 40 percent of customers turn off data roaming completely. Another 20 percent more say they would if they knew how. The toll these roaming fees takes on individuals and businesses is huge. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, every wireless customer faces a hard choice – use their phone when they need it and pay through the nose, or cut off communications to contain costs.
"It doesn't have to be this way," said Legere. "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."
T-Mobile tonight announced that it's expanding the home data coverage for most Simple Choice customers to include more than 100 countries, at no extra charge. Starting October 31, these Simple Choice individual and business customers automatically get unlimited data and texting in more than 100 Simple Global countries worldwide, and will only pay a global flat rate of 20 cents per minute for voice calls when roaming in the same countries. Eligible customers on T-Mobile's popular Simple Choice plan won't have to activate anything, or pay an extra monthly fee.
And, for customers in the US wanting a saner, more affordable way to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues worldwide, T-Mobile's got them covered, too. The company announced tonight its new Stateside International Talk & Text feature for discounted calling and texting from the US to all Simple Global countries. Customers never pay more than 20 cents a minute to any number in any Simple Global country, including mobile-to-mobile. Calls to landlines in over 70 of these countries are unlimited and included at no extra cost. Unlimited texting is also included to all countries. Stateside International Talk & Text is available to most Simple Choice customers for just $10 a month.
In network news, T-Mobile tonight also announced that its latest-generation 4G LTE network is now nationwide, reaching more than 200 million people in 233 metros across the United States.
"We've not only delivered nationwide 4G LTE months ahead of schedule," said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile. "Our nationwide 4G LTE is right on top of our already nationwide 4G HSPA+ network – which translates to one wicked fast combined 4G network experience."
In recent third party tests involving millions of results from real customers nationwide, T-Mobile's 4G LTE nationwide network delivered faster speeds than the 4G LTE networks of Verizon and Sprint. Additionally, T-Mobile's 4G LTE network already has faster median speeds than AT&T's 4G LTE network in 10 of the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). In fact, T-Mobile's new nationwide LTE network delivers 4G LTE speeds more consistently than any of the national providers.
Making global connections and bringing the world closer together is also a key value for global artist, songwriter and Grammy Award-winning music icon, Shakira. T-Mobile is working with the musical powerhouse to bring that message to people everywhere, and announced their collaboration through a new multi-year partnership agreement to include the creation of unique content, fan engagement, and exclusive access to her new music.
"Today is all about bringing the world closer together," said Shakira. "I'm excited to partner with T-Mobile and look forward to being able to share my music in new and innovative ways."
As part of the relationship, T-Mobile will support Shakira's upcoming single and album releases, and create unique T-Mobile customer experiences. T-Mobile is breaking the traditional sponsorship mold and creating a unique partnership where the company and the artist will work together to help amplify key messages and initiatives for each other, which will also include a select number of special events for the public and exclusive fan engagement activities.
These announcements build on months of momentum since T-Mobile kicked off its Un-carrier consumer movement earlier this year. Since then, the company has enjoyed a groundswell of support from US consumers signing on in record numbers, making T-Mobile America's number one choice in wireless since its Un-carrier launch in late March – with more net new postpaid customers than AT&T, Verizon and Sprint combined.
#1 choice in wireless based on T-Mobile's net postpaid subscriber additions vs. those of the other major national carriers in Q2 2013. 4G LTE speed claims based on third party speed testing data
Taxes & fees are additional for services and features. Home data coverage is the area where customers receive data services included in their plan. Global data coverage with capable device; not for extended international travel. See details & included countries at www.T-Mobile.com.
About T-Mobile US, Inc.:
As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: "TMUS") is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The company's advanced nationwide 4G and 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences for customers who are unwilling to compromise on quality and value. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile US provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. It currently serves approximately 44 million wireless subscribers and provides products and services through 70,000 points of distribution. For more information, please visit http://www.t-mobile.com.
This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. federal securities laws. Any statements made herein that are not statements of historical fact, including statements about T-Mobile US, Inc.'s strategy, expected network modernization and other advancements, are forward-looking statements. Generally, forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "anticipate," "expect," "suggests," "plan," "believe," "intend," "estimates," "targets," "views," "may," "will," "forecast," and other similar expressions. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made, are based on current assumptions and expectations, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Important factors that could affect future results and cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements include, among others, the following: our ability to compete in the highly competitive U.S. wireless telecommunications industry; adverse conditions in the U.S. and international economies and markets; our significant capital commitments and the capital expenditures required to effect our business plan; our ability to adapt to future changes in technology, enhance existing offerings, and introduce new offerings to address customers' changing demands; changes in legal and regulatory requirements, including any change or increase in restrictions on our ability to operate our network; our ability to successfully maintain and improve our network, and the possibility of incurring additional costs in doing so; major equipment failures; severe weather conditions or other force majeure events; and other risks described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those described in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 8, 2013. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We do not undertake to update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.