T-Mobile's prepaid wireless arm MetroPCS has joined its parent company in offering new services south of the border.
MetroPCS on Wednesday unveiled a new plan, Mexico Unlimited, that drops the cost of making calls from the US to Mexico or inside Mexico itself.
Customers using the plan can make unlimited calls and send unlimited texts to people in Mexico at no additional charge. And while in Mexico, those customers have unlimited calling to the US and inside Mexico, as well as unlimited texting and data usage.
People who sign up for the plan through August 31 will get it for free through 2015. Starting in 2016, Mexico Unlimited plan will jump to $5 per month. A T-Mobile spokesman confirmed that Mexico Unlimited is available only on plans that start at $40 a month. Mexico Unlimited is not available on the MetroPCS $30-a-month plan.
The offer is part of a broader push across the wireless industry to invest in Mexico. AT&T, the second-largest wireless carrier in the US, hasand . AT&T has said it hopes to build a single, seamless network that runs between the US and Mexico, causing no disruption in service.
MetroPCS is a prepaid arm of T-Mobile, the No. 4 US carrier. Like the other prepaid service providers, MetroPCS offers a range of devices and plans and doesn't require users to sign an annual contract. The company competes with a slew of prepaid operators, including AT&T's Cricket Wireless and Sprint's Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA. All of the major carriers have their own prepaid arms and plans to complement their standard, two-year contracts.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere put MetroPCS competitors on the defensive Wednesday, saying that devices on other prepaid carrier services are all but useless once customers cross the border.
"Boost and Cricket offer you exactly ZERO data coverage in Mexico, so the moment you cross the Mexican border, your phone becomes a brick as far as data's concerned," Legere said in a statement. "Are they for real?"
The timing of the MetroPCS announcement is part of a larger effort at its parent company. Last week,, called Mobile Without Borders, that will allow T-Mobile customers to use their smartphones in Canada and Mexico without incurring roaming charges. That service goes into effect Wednesday. To provide its service in Mexico, T-Mobile partnered with two carriers in that country, the company said last week.
At $5 per month, the MetroPCS Mexico Unlimited plan is in line with similar competing services. AT&T, for example, offers unlimited calls to Mexico as part of World Connect Value Plan.
Update, 9:51 a.m. PT: Adds more detail on plan availability.