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T-Mobile US drops high global roaming charges

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Thu Oct 10 2013, 13:42

US MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS FIRM T-Mobile is dropping high cost international roaming charges.

The firm said that its customers will be able to text and call from anywhere in the world without incurring the sort of changes that make people go pale.

"The cost of staying connected across borders is completely crazy. Today's phones are designed to work around the world, but we're forced to pay insanely inflated international connectivity fees to actually use them. You can't leave the country without coming home to bill shock. So we're making the world your network - at no extra cost," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US.

"It doesn't have to be this way. 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."

To be fair, people have called out roaming charges as wrong, however, this is probably the first time that a major mobile network operator has joined them.

European Commission VP Neelie Kroes is a regular champion of low roaming charges, and in September she was welcoming plans to cut roaming costs to travellers.

European proposals ask that mobile firms either cut the cost of roaming or let punters switch to a cheaper provider when they travel.

T-Mobile rivals Orange and Vodafone are not in favour of this, and both have said that scrapping roaming fees will cost them too much financially.

"The European Commission says no to roaming premiums, yes to net neutrality, yes to investment and yes to new jobs," said Kroes. "Fixing the telecoms sector is no longer about this one sector but about supporting the sustainable development of all sectors."

Today in a message on the Twitter social network she repeated these sentiments, saying that now is time to end bad practices.

She said, "It is not sustainable to have a business model of irritating your customers! time to end blocking, throttling and roaming."

Kroes also retweeted a message from her spokesman Ryan Heath that claims that travellers can pay "a 14,000 [percent] premium to data roam".

On hand to help T-Mobile spread its message is Shakira, someone who apparently has a vested interest in people talking.

"Today is all about bringing the world closer together," said the musical powerhouse - T-Mobile's words. "I'm excited to partner with T-Mobile and look forward to being able to share my music in new and innovative ways." µ


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