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Sprint expands its free international coverage to more countries

More free perks for Sprint customers

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sprint announced today that it's added 33 new destinations to its Open World plan. The move brings the number of places where customers can access free texting and discounted cellular data and minutes to 50 locales around the globe. The most notable addition is France, as well as a slew of popular vacation destinations like the Bahamas, Fiji, and the British Virgin Islands.

Sprint launched its Open World plan in August by giving customers free texting, minutes, and 1GB of 3G data when traveling abroad in Canada, Mexico, and a dozen Latin American countries. In other destinations, including the 33 added today, Sprint customers receive free texting, $0.20-cent-a-minute calls, and 3G data that costs $30 per GB. Sprint Open World has no subscription or activation fee, meaning any Sprint service plan owner can turn it on.

Sprint and T-Mobile in a race to the bottom

The goal is to entice heavy international travelers into signing up for Sprint in lieu of a competitor's service, namely T-Mobile, by giving away free services abroad. T-Mobile surpassed Sprint in July to become the third largest US carrier and announced that same month its own plan to let customers traveling in Mexico and Canada continue using their existing LTE plans free of charge. And T-Mobile today announced that it has further extended a similar plan for its Simple Choice customers to 20 more countries and destinations for a total of 145 places it offers free texting and data — albeit cheaper 2G speeds — and discounted minute rates.

Sprint first began giving away free 2G cellular data in April under its Sprint Global Roaming plan to select Latin American countries, as well as Japan, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Sprint offers the option of adding Global Roaming or Open World to your plan. If you're using Open World, however, and run out of the free 1GB of 3G data, Sprint says you will be charged by the megabyte at $30 per GB.

Correction at 3:26 p.m., Friday, September 18: Clarified that Sprint's Open World plan does not allow you to rely on free 2G coverage if you use up your first GB of 3G; only Sprint's Global Roaming plan provides the free 2G coverage.