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ROAM FREE

T-Mobile US customers can now call anywhere in North America for the same price

Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

T-Mobile US announced today that starting July 15, it’s letting its customers call Mexico and Canada for no additional fee. It’s calling the move “mobile without borders,” which is slightly less grand than than similarly entitled Doctors Without Borders initiative, but important nonetheless.

The move makes sense for T-Mobile’s customer base. According to the company, 35% of all international calls and 55% of all international travel from the U.S. was to Canada and Mexico last year. While AT&T offers its Passport service, which allows subscribers to make discounted calls while in Mexico, the company charges $30 to do so.

T-Mobile said in a release that it’s partnered with Mexican and Canadian carriers to offer the same rates abroad, without the need to buy any add-on packages. The company told Quartz that CEO John Legere has said that some of the networks T-Mobile is partnering with include Telefonica, Telcel, Bell, Rogers, and WIND. All T-Mobile customers will be able to take advantage of the plan, whether they are on a monthly or prepaid plan, meaning any short jaunt to Juárez or Toronto will be covered.

This is the latest in a string of moves by T-Mobile to disrupt the major cellular networks in the US with its “Un-Carrier” program. Past initiatives have included getting rid of annual contracts; offering customers on rival networks hundreds of dollars to cover switching costs; allowing customers’ data usage to roll over from month-to-month; and free music streaming that doesn’t count against a customers’ data use.

And it all seems to be working.

T-Mobile also announced July 9 that it added over 2 million customers in the second quarter of 2015, bringing the company to just shy of 59 million total subscribers. T-Mobile said in a release that not only is it growing its subscriber base, but it’s losing fewer customers, too. Churn—or the rate at which customers stop subscribing to a service—was just 1.3%, suggesting customers are generally happy with the service, or at least not bothered enough to switch.

Adding subscribers comes at a significant cost, though. In the first quarter, the company reported a loss of $63 million on revenue of $7.7 billion, citing high operating costs and its investments in growth.

 

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