Sprint in the USA has a new International Value Roaming plan, announced Friday, travellers can check email and Facebook, download pictures and stay connected on a wireless Internet connection at no additional cost in Latin America, Europe and Japan.
Subscribers with devices that are internationally compatible will get free text messaging and unlimited data roaming up to 2G speeds. Phone calls will cost 20 cents per minute in countries included in the plan.
Sprint executives say the features are what consumers want.
“The continuous feedback from our customers indicates how important it is to travel without the fear of high roaming charges,”
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement.
The new offer is similar to a plan T-Mobile introduced in October 2013 as part of its “Uncarrier” marketing strategy. Both companies hope these moves will make them more appealing than AT&T and Verizon, the two largest US carriers.
Like T-Mobile’s offer, connection speeds for data downloads will be slower than on their home mobile networks. In the US, customers are used to speedy mobile downloads on 4G networks, but under the free international plans, speeds will be limited to the speed of a 2G network. Both plans will let customers pay extra for faster connections on 3G networks.
Sprint customers can pay $15 for 100MB of data downloads on a one-day pass, $25 for 200MB on a seven-day pass and $50 for 500MB on a 14-day pass. The company doesn’t charge for going over the data cap. Instead network speeds revert to 2G speeds when the data allotment is maxed out.
T-Mobile charges $15 for 100MB per day, $25 for 200MB per week, or $50 for 500MB for two weeks.
The biggest difference between the two offerings is that Sprint’s service is limited to 15 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Russia, South Korea, Spain and the UK. T-Mobile’s roaming plan offers free data service in more than 120 countries.