As of Sunday, Cricket Wireless customers will be able to talk and text freely to and from Mexico and, starting later in the month, Canada, the carrier said in a Friday morning press release.
The new “roundtrip” feature will be included in Cricket’s Smart and Pro monthly plans, $50 and $60 respectively, for no additional charge. Enrollment is not required to use the feature. “Roundtrip” calling will not be available on the company’s Basic plan, which is available for $40 per month.
“We’re constantly looking for new ways to deliver more value to customers,” said Cricket’s chief marketing officer Janna Ducich. “It doesn’t matter if customers are in the U.S. or in Mexico, and soon Canada – all their calls and texts will be included, automatically.”
The move – the latest step in a fierce competition to bring international plans to the mass market – comes in the wake of AT&T’s acquisitions of Mexico carriers Iusacell and Nextel Mexico, and follows similar international plan additions by Boost Mobile, a prepaid Sprint subsidiary, in February and T-Mobile earlier this month.
During its acquisition of the two Mexico carriers in January, Cricket’s parent company, AT&T, said it plans to create a “North American Mobile Service area” that will cover over 400 million consumers and businesses in Mexico and the United States.
The two foreign carriers, for which AT&T paid a total of $4.375 billion earlier in the year, brought the wireless giant an additional 11.6 million subscribers below the border.
In January, AT&T announced that it would offer unlimited calling from the United States to Mexico to customers on its International calling plan, and began offering unlimited calling to Mexico on its $60 GoPhone prepaid plan in February.
Following hot on AT&T’s heels, at the end of February Boost Mobile introduced a $5 per month add-on feature for its $45 and $55 Data Boost plans that added unlimited calls and messaging to Mexico and Canada, excluding the Northern territories.
However, among the big four traditional wireless carriers, T-Mobile became the first to offer free roaming, inlcuding data, between the United States, Canada and Mexico to all new and existing customers on Simple Choice plans at no additional cost earlier this month.
Cricket’s Smart and Pro plans will continue to offer customers unlimited mobile-to-mobile and landline calls, as well as text, picture and video messaging.
The only catch for customers using the “roundtrip” feature is that the number of calls and texts to Mexico cannot account for more than 50 percent of their usage.
Cricket is a subsidiary of AT&T that provides 4G LTE wireless service to its customers in a prepaid format.