Just in time for the summer travel season, T-Mobile announced its new “Coverage Beyond” suite of benefits for wireless subscribers today.
Available starting June 21, the benefits will include free airline Wi-Fi and expanded high-speed international data coverage, as well as other perks like free AAA membership, booking deals on Priceline and even some limited gas discounts.
“With summer travel demand up and inflation affecting everyone, we’re looking to connect our customers differently,” T-Mobile’s consumer senior vice president Kevin McLaughlin told TPG in an interview. “We know there’s a huge desire to get back to travel, and we’re going to help people connect to the world better, and save money, too.”
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Expanded high-speed international data coverage
Remote, affordable international phone access is always a traveler favorite. (Photo by Olga Shevtsova/EyeEm/Getty Images)
As part of its Coverage Beyond initiative, T-Mobile will offer its Magenta MAX and Business Unlimited Ultimate plan customers 5 gigabytes of free high-speed data at up to 5 GB speeds each month in more than 200 countries worldwide.
The expanded access will be automatic, with no opt-ins or signups required.
“Our customers want to step off the plane with their phone and want it just to work,” McLaughlin explained. If those customers use up the 5GB of data, they can either sign up for a day pass for a fee or continue to use data at 256 kilobytes per second rates.
Regular Magenta customers (and those with most business plans) and customers with comparable Sprint plans will automatically receive 256 KB per second for international data access worldwide, which is double the current speed and good enough for email, texting and basic GPS directions, but not much else.
Additionally, customers will have 5 GB of high-speed access in the 11 Deutsche Telecom-covered countries of Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
This is in addition to current free texting access in all destinations. T-Mobile customers’ current benefits in Canada and Mexico (for most plans) will continue with 5 GB of high-speed data and free calls.
Free airline Wi-Fi
(Photo by Ian Lishman/Getty Images)
It’s a relief for airline passengers facing high Wi-Fi fees and slow access speeds. Beginning June 21, T-Mobile will offer free high-speed streaming access on select Alaska, American and Delta flights, with service aboard United “coming soon,” according to T-Mobile’s McLaughlin.
The access will be on flights covering a “robust domestic market,” McLaughlin explained, which will be based on specific airline carriers’ technical capabilities and satellite connections. T-Mobile is currently working with multiple satellite carriers to maximize its coverage across several airlines and airplane types. Some international flights will provide T-Mobile Wi-Fi coverage.
Unlimited free airline streaming Wi-Fi connections will be for the full length of the flight only for T-Mobile’s top-tier Magenta MAX and Business Unlimited Ultimate plan customers, plus those with equivalent Sprint plans.
However, regular customers shouldn’t fret, as T-Mobile’s Magenta plan and others will include free Wi-Fi connectivity for four full flights each year, with a free hour of access on any additional flights. In other words, customers using T-Mobile’s existing free or discounted access for services like Apple TV, MLB Network and Netflix will now be able to stream the entertainment on flights.
Bonus travel benefits with AAA, Priceline and Shell
(Photo by Blaine Franger/Getty Images)
T-Mobile’s Coverage Beyond program isn’t just for jet-setting international travelers. The company has reserved some benefits for domestic road trippers as well.
With a new partnership, T-Mobile offers free AAA membership (a $60 value) and 24-hour roadside assistance to all customers on Magenta, Magenta MAX and certain business plans. (Note: The AAA membership will auto-renew at market rates unless canceled.)
To save you money on the road, T-Mobile is also including a 25-cent fuel discount at Shell gas stations through July. Keep in mind, though, that this offer is only good for the first 20 gallons you buy (a $5 value).
McLaughlin told TPG that T-Mobile is expected to continue offering fuel discounts to customers “more in the 10 cents per gallon range” as part of its “T-Mobile Tuesdays” app-based rewards program.
An interesting wildcard in T-Mobile’s suite of new benefits is its “T-Mobile Travel with Priceline” discount travel booking program. T-Mobile customers now have access to exclusive Priceline.com hotel and rental car deals and can book airline tickets through the program as well.
TPG hasn’t tested the booking system yet. However, customers have saved $100 per night on Hawaii hotel rooms and received $900 of discounts for a six-day Miami holiday, according to T-Mobile’s press release.
T-Mobile’s new travel benefits will be a great bonus for existing subscribers and could be an incentive for others to join the program or upgrade.
Many of the best features are only available for T-Mobile’s top-tier (and higher-priced) plans of Magenta MAX and the Business Unlimited Ultimate. However, even regular Magenta subscribers will enjoy notable benefits like increased airline Wi-Fi, international coverage and AAA membership.
The gas program discounts are marginal at best, but with inflation this summer, every little bit helps.
Featured photo by urbazon/Getty Images.
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