AT&T Wireless today announced that it has significantly reduced per-minute rates for calling 30 frequently dialed countries from the U.S. and that it has extended the reach of its international text messaging to nearly half the world's wireless subscribers.
The company also released the findings of a new survey by Harris Interactive, demonstrating strong interest in the use of wireless phones for international communications.
AT&T Wireless' Lowest-Ever International Dialing Rates
In reducing its Enhanced Discounted International Dialing rates to 30 countries, the company is offering the best international rates in the wireless industry.
"With rates this low, AT&T Wireless customers can use their wireless phone as their only phone for international calling. Not only does AT&T Wireless offer its best-ever international rates for calling these destinations, but we also offer the most coverage worldwide with a single phone, dedicated customer care for international calling, and a wide range of the hottest wireless devices," said Terry Madonia, senior vice president of marketing, AT&T Wireless.
The new rates are available to AT&T Wireless customers who sign up for Enhanced Discounted International Dialing and are on a qualifying plan, which includes many of the company's most popular calling plans. Enhanced Discounted International Dialing, an offer designed for frequent international callers, costs an additional $3.99 per month and entitles customers to call 220 countries at discounted rates from the AT&T Wireless network, including the 30 countries further discounted today (see chart below)*.
Text Messaging: Thumb a Ride to Nearly Half the World's Wireless Subscribers
Also effective today, AT&T Wireless' international text messaging service reaches nearly half the world's approximately one billion wireless subscribers. AT&T Wireless' coverage for international text messaging service is among the most comprehensive in the industry. The company's international text messaging service now spans 40 countries worldwide, including 18 of the 30 countries included in today's international calling announcement. A complete list of text messaging availability by country can be found at www.attwireless.com/text/international.
More Countries With a Single Phone
AT&T Wireless is not only an attractive option for customers who call or text abroad from the U.S., but for those who want to stay in touch while traveling overseas. AT&T Wireless uses GSM technology, which is used by more than 70 percent of wireless customers worldwide. Using their GSM phones, AT&T Wireless customers can place voice calls in more than 120 countries and access data services, such as the company's mMode service, in more than 40 countries. The company also offers dedicated round-the-clock support for customers who are traveling and have questions about placing international calls.
Among the many GSM devices that can be used overseas are several "world phones," including the NEC 515 and 525, Handspring Treo 600 smartphone, Nokia 3650, and the recently announced Motorola V600. These devices work in every country where AT&T Wireless has GSM roaming agreements.
Consumer Demand High for Wireless International Communications
Additionally, a new Harris Interactive survey commissioned by AT&T Wireless shows that many Americans who make international calls are using their wireless phone for these calls, and even more are interested in doing so. Among the survey findings:
* Nearly 1 in 4 adult Americans (24 percent) who call abroad from the U.S. typically use their wireless phone to do so.
* In addition, more than half of adult Americans who call abroad from the U.S. are interested in using their wireless phone to do so if they can receive discounted rates.
* Among consumers who choose wireless for international calling, 28 percent most commonly cite convenience as the reason while a quarter (24 percent) cite affordability.
"These results show an impressive number of Americans already enjoy the convenience of calling overseas with their wireless phone, and even more are interested in doing so if they can get a great deal," said Madonia. "With AT&T Wireless' pricing announcement today, these customers no longer need to wait."
In addition, the survey finds:
* About 1 in 3 Americans who say they travel abroad already use their own wireless phone to place calls while traveling (33 percent) -- making this the most common calling method. (Hotel phones and payphones are each used by 26 percent of international travelers, 27 percent borrow a friend or relative's phone, and 6 percent rent a cell phone.)
* What's more, 7 in 10 adult Americans who make calls while traveling abroad are "very" or "extremely" interested in the idea of being reachable at a single phone number (72 percent), a convenience AT&T Wireless offers its customers who use GSM devices, such as its "world phones."