September 18, 2015 | By Phil Goldstein
Sprint (NYSE: S) added 33 destinations, mainly islands in the Caribbean but also France, where customers can get free texting and low rates on calls and data under its “Open World” program. Meanwhile, in other international coverage expansion news, Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) said it became the first U.S.-based wireless company to offer roaming in Cuba.
The Sprint expansion came just after T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) added 20 new countries and destinations to its “Simple Global” global roaming program, which lets T-Mobile “Simple Choice” postpaid customers access unlimited 2G data and calling at 20 cents per minute. The program now covers a total of 145 countries and destinations worldwide, including all of Europe and South America.
In August Sprint unveiled its new “Open World” international roaming service that makes unlimited calling and texting to Canada, Mexico and other Latin American countries free for its U.S.-based customers. The offering also gives Sprint customers free calls and texts and 1 GB of high-speed data when they are traveling in those countries. Countries included in the offering are Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay.
Sprint also said that it will offer free texting, calling for 20 cents per minute and $30 per GB pricing to customers who travel in more than 40 other countries. That list of countries now includes France, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Fiji, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, St. Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Vanuatu.
Other destinations where Sprint customers can get the offer of free texting, calling for 20 cents per minute and $30 per GB pricing include Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the Palestinian territories, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
“When our customers are vacationing in the Caribbean or traveling abroad, we know they want to be able to communicate with friends and family free from worry about surprising costs to text, make a call home or send a photo,” Sprint CMO Kevin Crull said in a statement. “We are continuing to add more destinations and enabling our customers to stay connected virtually wherever they go.”
Verizon’s offer of roaming for Cuba comes about a month after the United States and Cuba formally restored diplomatic ties. However, Verizon’s service in Cuba is significantly pricier than Sprint and T-Mobile’s similar offerings for service in Caribbean nations. Verizon said customers using a global “World Device” who are traveling to Cuba can opt-in to add the “Pay-As-You-Go International Travel” option. While in Cuba, voice calls are $2.99 per minute, data is $2.05 per MB and standard international messaging rates apply.