Salmon: T-Mobile's Self-Defeating Resurgence

NEW YORK (Reuters Blogs) --It's a standard part of flying, these days: the minute you touch down, you pull out your phone and get back up to speed with the world -- especially if you've been on a long flight without wifi. And then there's the standard exception: when you're flying internationally, you don't. Not unless you're very rich, or very reckless, or someone else is paying your phone bill.

Which is what made my arrival in Auckland this morning so special: I touched down after a long flight, pulled out my phone, cycled through Twitter and email and Foursquare, and didn't stress at all about being charged $20.48 per megabyte (or whatever) in a world where I have no idea how many megabytes are involved in any of those activities.

But I just switched to T-Mobile, which has free international data. I've been using it for about 12 hours now, in Auckland and Wellington, and it's been fantastic. I'd heard complaints about how slow it was, and I haven't been trying to stream video, or anything like that, but basic things like maps and Google searches work fine.

I was already a fan of T-Mobile in any case: Its LTE network is blazingly fast, its pricing is astonishingly simple and transparent, I've had very few dropped calls, and, the one time I did have a serious issue which required non-trivial customer service, the company's T-Force social customer support team came through with flying colors. It's a big company, and there are still rough patches. But the "uncarrier" campaign is more than just a slogan, and makes it much easier to give T-Mobile the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong.

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