US operator T-Mobile has announced that it is cutting data roaming costs for its customers when they are travelling in more than 100 countries worldwide. The move, announced Wednesday evening by CEO John Legere, builds on the firm’s pricing overhauls in March, when it cut contract lengths and separated the cost of device from the cost of service, lowering monthly rates.
Legere described roaming costs as “completely crazy” and “insanely inflated” before announcing that data roaming and text messages would generate no extra costs for “most” users on its Simple Choice plans. Voice calls for these users will be charged at a flat rate of $ 0.20/minute across the same geography.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Legere said. “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 also announced that it had achieved nationwide coverage for its US LTE network. The firm claimed that the network is delivering faster speeds than those of both Verizon and Sprint, citing “recent third-party tests”.
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US carrier Verizon Wireless has announced a promotion that doubles the data allowances for its LTE subscribers. From now on, customers on the 2GB for US$ 30 package will receive 4GB a month, while 5GB for US$ 50 move to 10GB and 10GB for US$ 80 hits 20GB. The new allowances will be given automatically to new subscribers, while existing customers will receive it upon request from customer services.
The higher caps will help ease the pressure on LTE adopters who, thanks to the faster speeds available, tend to go through their data allowances quickly. The offer is billed as ‘for a limited time only’, but is expected to run indefinitely.
The move comes as a report from Informa Telecoms & Media highlights Verizon’s global LTE leadership with its 1.4million LTE subscribers, which help the US market in total account for 63 per cent of all LTE subscriptions worldwide. Verizon Wireless launched its LTE network in December 2010 and since then it has seen its share of US mobile subscriptions increase from 31 per cent to 33 per cent.
According to Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, much of that growth came from the addition of the iPhone to Verizon’s device portfolio, but the draw of LTE was also an important factor, accounting for 53 per cent of Verizon’s post-paid subscriptions in 3Q11, an increase of 30 per cent over the second quarter.
The reports notes that with the widespread availability of LTE in the US on networks such as AT&T and MetroPCS, the US is set to become the dominant player in LTE through to 2016, with a predicted figure of 100 million LTE subscriptions, compared to 613 million in the rest of the world. After this point though, it will be overtaken by China.
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