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Mobile

AT&T Wireless cuts calling rates

The company overhauls its international dialing and text messaging plans to appeal to more Americans with friends and family in other countries.

AT&T Wireless on Thursday overhauled its international dialing and text messaging plans to appeal to more American cell phone users with friends and family in other countries.

AT&T said Thursday that it made "significant" decreases in the per-minute cost of calls to the 30 most dialed countries among its 22 million subscribers. None of the price cuts are less than a dime a minute, the company said. The largest cut was for calls to Venezuela, which were lowered from 50 cents to 20 cents a minute.

Short text messages can now reach 40 countries, the carrier added.

The nation's second largest carrier joins Nextel Communications and Verizon Wireless in tweaking overseas calling plans to adjust to the growing spending power of U.S. citizens born elsewhere. Nextel is targeting Hispanic-American consumers, who make up 14 percent of the U.S. population and 4.5 percent of U.S. cell phone users, according to a January online survey by market analyst IDC.

"This market is really tight right now. Carriers are all trying to differentiate themselves," IDC wireless analyst Keith Waryas said.

Waryas said that while international dialing prices in the United States have come down as a whole, overseas calls on a traditional landline phone are still "way cheaper."