Unlimited International Calling for $5/mo!
MetroPCS is loudly touting the ability for their subscribers to add unlimited international calling for the paltry sum of $5 per month. This seems to be a massive shot across the bow of the major mobile operators.
First, the fine print is clean. MetroPCS’s international plan covers 100 countries, and has a convenient interface on their website for checking whether a specific number is included. I entered the last dozen international numbers I’ve called, and only mobile numbers in countries with calling-party-pays seem to be excluded.
Compare this with the usury pricing from the major mobile operators, where an international call is typically $1.49 per minute; if you pay $3.99 per month for their international plan, then an international call averages about $0.10 per minute to landlines and $0.25 per minute to mobiles in countries with calling-party-pays.
The reality is that the underlying cost of carrying a mobile voice minute is approaching zero, and competitive forces are slowly driving pricing to fall in line with costs. In my view, as long as the big operators are prevented from pursuing monopolistic predatory practices (which, unfortunately, isn’t always the case), competition will drive more benefit to end users than any Net Neutrality legislation ever could.