T-Mobile extends coverage to Mexico, Canada at no extra cost

T-Mobile is getting rid of wireless borders with Mexico and Canada.

Starting Wednesday, customers on the company's Simple Choice plan will receive coverage to those two countries at no extra charge. The move covers calls to landlines, mobile phones as well as 4G LTE data across North America, whether you're in the U.S. or traveling in Mexico and Canada.

"Now, wherever you call, wherever you travel in Mexico and Canada, your phone just works— like at home," the Bellevue, Wash., company said Thursday in a statement. "Zero ridiculous calling rates, zero jacked-up data rates, zero hoops to jump through."

In a call with The Times, company executives said Mobile Without Borders would eliminate a major pain point for wireless customers in the U.S., saying 35% of all international calls from the country last year were to Mexico or Canada. During that time, carriers raked in nearly $10 billion in global roaming charges at over 90% margins. 

"That norm is outdated, it's wrong and it's actually pretty outrageous when you think about it," Chief Operating Officer Mike Sievert said. "You drive across a bridge and your data is suddenly 120 times more expensive? It's absurd. So we got together with a totally different mindset."

T-Mobile said every new Simple Choice customer will automatically get Mexico and Canada included in their plan at no extra charge. Current Simple Choice customers can opt-in online, by phone or in store by switching to the company's latest plans for free.

Business customers can also add coverage and calling across North America to their Simple Choice plan at no extra cost for the first 10 lines and $1 a month for each line beyond that.

Matt Staneff, senior vice president of customer loyalty, said the company expected the move to be extremely advantageous to Los Angeles, with its proximity to Mexico and large Mexican population.

"We think this is going to be a huge win for consumers there," he said.

T-Mobile declined to specify how it would assume the additional costs of offering the expanded services, but noted that it had struck deals with strategic partners in Mexico and Canada.

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