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Good news, travelers: T-Mobile offers free calling and data in Canada and Mexico

July 9, 2015, 2:23 PM UTC
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Photograph by Getty Images

It’s a lousy way to conclude a vacation or business trip. You come home and discover that checking email and maps on your phone, plus making a few calls, has resulted in outlandish roaming charges of hundreds of dollars. Now, fewer people will get that unpleasant jolt thanks to a new “Mobile without Borders” plan from T-Mobile (TMUS) .

On Thursday, the carrier announced that it no longer makes a difference whether a subscriber uses her phone in Mexico City, Denver or Toronto: the pricing and data speeds will be the same.

In a press release announcing the plan, T-Mobile swiped at bigger rival AT&T (T) for buying up networks in Mexico, but then failing to offer seamless cross-border plans. T-Mobile, which is the country’s fourth biggest carrier, has issuing a series of high profile announcements, and related publicity stunts, in what its CEO claims is a bid to remake the mobile industry.

T-Mobile says it can offer the plan thanks to new roaming partnerships with big partners in Canada and Mexico. It has offered a version of the plan before, but one that involved significantly slower data speeds when subscribers were abroad.

The “without borders” plan will no doubt prove popular not only with Canadian and Mexican ex-pats who travel home several times a year, but also with Americans who vacation to the north and south.

There appears to be a small catch or two with the new plan, as CNET points out. These affect existing T-Mobile subscribers on promotional plans, who may have to pay $10 to update to the new feature. Also, customers will not be able to draw on their “data stash” (a bank of rollover data) when they are abroad.

CEO John Legere described the new plan this way:

“We’ve done this the Un-carrier way − reaching across borders, partnering with leading providers offering the best LTE networks, creating a simple solution right now − then not charging a penny more for it.”