T-Mobile Adds New Travel Features in Latest ‘Not Played’ Move

What is happening

T-Mobile is adding new travel benefits to its price tiers, including 5GB of data per month while roaming internationally, Wi-Fi on more flights, free AAA membership and discounts at the fuel pump.

why does it matter

T-Mobile has new travel perks timed for the summer season, a bunch of perks that won’t interest everyone, but it’s always good to see better international roaming perks.

What’s Next

Some of those benefits are better versions of T-Mobile Tuesday perks, a hint of what we could see added to the carrier’s mobile service next.

Angela Lang / CNET

With its latest “un-carrier” transfer, T-Mobile is not adding a new streaming service but instead increasing its travel perks. As part of the latest “Coverage Beyond” virtual event on Thursday, the carrier announced a raft of new programs including slightly faster free international data, free Wi-Fi on more flights and fuel discounts at Shell stations.

T-Mobile has always offered free international data and texting in more than 210 countries with a number of its plans, but data speeds have been painfully limited at 128kbps. Starting June 21, the carrier increased that speed to 256 kbps, an improvement that should allow for better handling of tasks like email or basic web browsing even if it still doesn’t allow for video calls or video streaming.

“[256 Kbps] It’s great for basic navigation and basic web browsing, said Mike Katz, chief marketing officer of T-Mobile, and a lot of the things people do when they travel internationally.

For reference, Zoom recommends connections of at least 600kbps for one-to-one video calls in non-HD, “high quality” while Netflix recommends 1Mbps connections for viewing content in standard definition (or 3Mbps for 720p HD).

Those using T-Mobile’s most expensive unlimited Magenta Max plans will get 5GB of free high-speed data each month “at speeds up to 5G” in more than 210 countries that already offer free international roaming.

Those with Magenta plans will get a similar benefit in the 11 European countries where Deutsche Telecom operates (Deutsche Telecom is T-Mobile’s largest shareholder). This includes Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

After the 5GB boost, your speeds will drop to 256kbps, although T-Mobile will still offer the fastest data available starting at 512MB of high-speed data and unlimited calls for 24 hours for $5 a day. T-Mobile still doesn’t include calls with its international benefits, leaving its 25 cents-per-minute rate the same, although calls over Wi-Fi are free. Travelers use data the most, Katz said, and when they make calls, they’re usually around Wi-Fi.

While still not a huge upgrade, the improvements continue to put T-Mobile ahead of AT&T and Verizon for basic connectivity, both charging $10 a day for those with unlimited plans so they can use your chats Regular, text and high speed data in more than 210 countries. Depending on your plan, AT&T and Verizon also require you to sign up for their respective passport programs or risk charging higher pay-as-you-go fees.

In addition to the growing data leap, T-Mobile is also expanding its in-flight Wi-Fi partnership to include American Airlines, Alaska and Delta flights on June 21 with free Wi-Fi on United Airlines in the future. T-Mobile has offered in-flight Wi-Fi through GoGo since 2014 and the company says that option will remain so.

Those with the company’s higher-priced Magenta Max or Business Unlimited Elite plans get free Wi-Fi for their entire flight. Those with Magenta, Business Unlimited Advanced, or similar Sprint plans can get free Wi-Fi for up to four trips per year plus one hour of free Wi-Fi “per flight thereafter.”

In addition to traveling abroad and in the air, T-Mobile is also adding some new perks for those who move locally including a free $60 year for the AAA Classic plan and 25 cents of Shell gas over Labor Day weekend via T company. Mobile Tuesday App and Shell Rewards. T-Mobile says the offer allows for a discount of up to 20 gallons per week, saving you up to $5 if you buy up to the limit.

Interestingly, T-Mobile is adding new perks after its rival AT&T HBO Max has been removed Of the most expensive wireless subscription category. T-Mobile chief CMO Katz declined to comment on whether any of the carrier’s plans will be integrated into the streaming service HBO now that the entertainment company is no longer owned by AT&T.

“If there are opportunities for us to build more value into our customer offering, we are certainly open to looking into it,” Katz said.

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