T-Mobile pushes free calls to Mexico and Canada from US, adds 2.1m customers in quarter

(c)iStock.com/Robert Herhold

Updated T-Mobile US has announced the latest of its moves towards upstaging the mobile industry by offering free calls from the US to Mexico and Canada.

The move, named ‘Mobile Without Borders’, comes alongside the announcement of 2.1 million total net customer additions in the second quarter of 2015, making it the ninth consecutive quarter of more than 1 million customer gains.

It’s not the first time this type of deal has been attempted – AT&T earlier this year rolled out unlimited calling to Mexico – but including Canada is a new step.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere, in a typically outspoken address, called out his main rivals for not iterating as quickly. “There are a ton of customers out there living with this pain, and I bet you had no idea,” he tells customers in a video blog. “Wherever you call, whenever you travel in North America, you get the same great uncarrier experience.”

T-Mobile is calling these latest moves “Uncarrier Amped”, which essentially upgrades on the previous announcements they had made. This could be seen as a revision of the first uncarrier move, ‘simple choice’, as well as uncarrier 3.0, which focused on eradicating bill shock through international roaming charges.

According to T-Mobile, 35% of all international calls from the US were to Mexico and Canada, while 70% of international trips taken by travellers of small and medium-sized businesses were to the same two countries. Last year, US wireless customers’ long-distance calls to Mexico and Canada came to 25 billion minutes – a whopping $7.5 billion pay-per-use cost. The operator has partnered with leading providers in those two countries offering the best LTE networks to create the ‘Mobile Without Borders’ plan.

Lynnette Luna, principal analyst at Current Analysis, argues the deal suits both parties. "International roaming and calling has been a significant revenue generator for all carriers, but T-Mobile is ushering in a new paradigm,” she said. “T-Mobile has negotiated some extremely competitive reciprocal roaming rates for both voice and data with the top two carriers in both Canada and Mexico. We will see Canadian and Mexican carriers now develop reciprocal offers with roaming on T-Mobile’s network."

With 2.1 million new customers in Q215, the overall count for T-Mobile stands at 58.9 million. In its battle for third place in the US wireless market against Sprint, the Kansas telco’s most recent figures, from the first quarter of 2015, saw 57.1 million customers. Sprint’s CEO, Marcelo Claure, could bite his tongue no longer after the latest of Legere’s diatribes against the wireless competition, recently responding to a tweet by decrying the uncarrier movement as “bullshit”.

Whether Sprint or T-Mobile comes out on top when all the most recent figures are totted up – T-Mobile expects to post full financial results for Q2 by July 30 – the improvement appears to continue, from a company which lost 2.1 million customers overall when Legere took over the CEO role in 2012.

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