T-Mobile has reached reciprocal roaming agreements with the top two Canadian and the top two Mexican carriers that will enable the company to extend Simple Choice voice and data usage to customers traveling in those countries at the terms and conditions that apply within the U.S., said T-Mobile CEO John Legere on a call with reporters this morning.
“We found like-minded people,” said Legere, who noted that T-Mobile’s partners are “equally concerned about seamless coverage in the U.S.”
Legere noted that 55% of all international travel from the U.S. is to Mexico or Canada and that over 70% of business travel for small and medium size businesses was to one of those two countries.
Larger U.S. carriers, Legere said “raise your rate 120 times when you cross the border.” Traditionally the large carriers have made a 90% margin on $10 billion in annual global roaming fees, he said.
T-Mobile Mexico and Canada Strategy
Legere contrasted T-Mobile’s approach with that of AT&T, which recently spent $4.4 billion to purchase two Mexican wireless carriers with the goal of providing seamless coverage within the U.S. and Mexico. In an apparent reference to AT&T and Verizon, Legere said “As soon as Dumb and Dumber use their balance sheet” to gain seamless global roaming, “everybody wants to know ‘why can’t we just do this?’”
T-Mobile’s partners in Mexico include companies such as Telefonica and Telcel that have excellent coverage throughout a large part of Mexico, Legere said. In contrast, AT&T purchased “third-rate” carriers, said T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert on today’s media call.
Legere noted that T-Mobile is not pursuing customers who live in Mexico or Canada, however. More than half of customers’ usage has to be in the U.S. in order for customers to qualify for the offer, he said.
The new coverage in Mexico and Canada includes LTE and will be available to prepaid and postpaid Simple Choice customers beginning July 15, T-Mobile said.