The new international plan is only available to subscribers of its $40-or-higher voice plans. Users don’t need to dial an intermediary number first and can call international numbers directly. Receiving international calls is free.
However, not every international city is included, but the biggies like Vietnam and Mexico City are part of the unlimited plan. To see if an international number qualifies, MetroPCS sends customers to this page. Also, the cheap rate doesn’t apply if the user is roaming and with MetroPCS service only available in certain U.S. cities, this extra fee could add up.
So… the big question is how does MetroPCS do it? Its mobile rivals charge up to a few dollars per minute to call some countries. While the major wireless companies do offer international plans, those all have a monthly charge and a per-minute fee, albeit discounted from the standard international rate. MetroPCS new international plan is a flat-rate service with no extra fees, unless you’re roaming outside of MetroPCS coverage areas.
I’m waiting to hear back from the company to explain how it can offer such a low rate. UPDATE, 3:57 p.m.: MetroPCS’ responds by avoiding all specifics:
We don’t disclose pricing or profitability on individual products. However, our company is extremely profitable even with the launching of new markets and we have some of the lowest operating cost in the industry.
Scanning through international plans from other mobile companies, I was surprised to see that it’s not that expensive to call overseas anymore. But none are as cheap as MetroPCS, which offers unlimited U.S. cellular plans for as low as $30 a month.
For example, Verizon Wireless charges $0.65/minute for calls to Mexico. Its $3.99 monthly value plan drops the per-minute rate to $0.25. Comparably, AT&T’s rates are $0.99/minute for calls to Mexico. On the company’s special $4.99 “Mexico plan,” calls range from $0.09 to $0.25. But if you’re just calling Mexico from a MetroPCS plan, there’s already a $3 plan for unlimited calls to Mexico.
Here’s a look at mobile international plans:
|Mobile Service||Monthly||Per minute?||To United Kingdom||No plan fee per minute|
|AT&T World Connect||$3.99||Yes||8-28 cents/minute||$1.29|
|Verizon Wireless||$3.99||Yes||6-26 cents/minute||$1.49-$1.67|