T-Mobile will erase all international roaming rates

If you're a T-Mobile customer, you'll soon be able to surf the Web – and text – endlessly, even when you're abroad. 

Reuters
T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere at an event in July.

Here's the scenario: You're traveling abroad with your smart phone, and even though you've been warned about exorbitant international roaming rates, you risk taking your device off airplane mode just long enough to check a few e-mails and read the news. By the time you get back home, you discover your vacation phone bill has shot north of two hundred bucks.

Happened to you? It's happened to us, too. 

Which makes the new T-Mobile data plan particularly attractive. Beginning on Oct. 31, T-Mobile announced today, Simple Choice customers will get unlimited data and texting in 100 countries around the globe – a list that includes the UK, China, Thailand, Switzerland, and Bulgaria. 

"The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy," T-Mobile president John Legere says in a statement. "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." 

From a consumer perspective, it's really, really hard to argue with this deal, just as it was hard to argue with the contract-less "uncarrier" plans rolled out earlier this year. (And in fact, T-Mobile has said that the "uncarrier" push helped it add 1.1 million new customers in the second quarter of 2013; revenue was also up, by 27.5 percent year-over-year.) 

Of course, as Joshua Brustein of BusinessWeek notes, this whole proposition is a money-loser for T-Mobile, which will give up the revenue it would have raked in from international roaming. "But this isn’t a significant business for the company at the moment," Brustein writes. "International roaming costs made up 2.4 percent of T-Mobile’s revenue last quarter." 

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