T-Mobile launches roaming-free M2M service in new 'Un-carrier' move

US operator T-Mobile has unveiled a new service that eliminates roaming costs for M2M communications between the US and Canada, promising to extend the offer to additional markets this year.

Branded eSIM, the service means that M2M customers can enjoy local data rates when travelling from one country to the other.

T-Mobile (Bellevue, WA, USA) says the potential cost savings are enormous, giving the example of a trucking company whose vehicles make regular trips between the US and Canada.

Between mapping services, video monitoring, email, fleet tracking software and vehicle diagnostics, a single truck could easily use 100MB of data a month while travelling in Canada, says the operator.

That would equate to a roaming cost of as much as $200 a month, or nearly $2,400 a year.

“The Internet of Things knows no boundaries, or at least it shouldn't have to,” said Rusty Lhamon, director of M2M, T-Mobile. “This unique approach to cross-border wireless communication is designed to eliminate the issue of permanent M2M roaming and makes connectivity seamless and simple.”

T-Mobile says it is able to provide the service thanks to its agreements with international partners, and that companies will be able to incorporate eSIM into a range of connected products, from connected cars to wearable devices.

eSIM is immediately available, says T-Mobile, and can be used “out-of-the-box” with multiple carriers.

The eSIM announcement comes days after T-Mobile was revealed to have teamed up with telematics player Infospectrum on a global-asset tracking service that does not incur roaming fees.

Like its US rivals, T-Mobile has made M2M growth a priority as it tries to offset a slowdown in the market for traditional telecoms services.

The operator is also positioning the new eSIM service as part of its ‘Un-carrier’ strategy, through which it is trying to differentiate itself from standard industry practices – including the use of roaming fees and long-term device contracts.

“With eSIM, we're showing how we're different than our competitors,” said Drew Kelton, executive vice president of T-Mobile Business Markets. “We’re bringing Un-carrier to the M2M space by doing what T-Mobile always does: putting our focus on the customer first through simplicity, transparency and cost.”