Traveling to other countries can be a once in a lifetime experience for most, but it can also be incredibly expensive. It doesn't help when your wireless carrier gouges you for using data overseas. Unfortunately, international roaming fees are just a part of the business, or so we thought until T-Mobile decided to change the rules.
T-Mobile, the carrier that upended the wireless industry earlier this year with its un-carrier philosophy, has announced that it will now offer unlimited wireless data to international travelers. T-Mobile's new unlimited international data plan will be available at no extra charge to subscribers in over 100 countries.
"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."
There's surely a catch though, right? There is, but it's not as bad as you might think. Starting October 31, T-Mobile subscribers will get unlimited 2G data and text messaging in over 100 countries. For voice calls, T-Mobile will apply a flat rate of 20 cents a minute.
What about high speed data though? It's nice to have unlimited data, but it seems kind of pointless at 2G speeds. This is where you will have to spend money by purchasing what T-Mobile calls a "Speed Pass." For $15, you can get 100MB of high speed data that lasts for a day. At $25, you get 200MB that lasts for a week. For the long term traveler, you can spend $50 to get 500MB that lasts for two weeks. In short, you'll have to spend money to get high speed data, but it's nowhere near as bad as the roaming fees that Verizon and AT&T charge.
With this latest move, T-Mobile has just become the best friend of every businessman that frequently travels. It will undoubtedly cause AT&T and Verizon to lower the international roaming fees at some point down the road even if the two carriers still refuse to offer unlimited domestic 4G data.[Image: T-Mobile]