Mexican operator Simplii has become the first MVNO in the country to offer expanded national roaming and international roaming at no extra cost. The company began operations on Telefónica’s Movistar network seven months ago, promising “more data for less money.” It has now extended its coverage to areas of Mexico outside Movistar’s network, due to the national roaming agreement Telefónica reached with Telcel (America Móvil) in 2016. In a statement, the MVNO also announced that subscribers to its 10 GB and 15 GB packages will be able to roam like home when visiting the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
The bundles cost MXN 499.00 (US $26.51) and MXN 749.00 (US $39.80), respectively, and come with unlimited calls and SMS within Mexico as well as zero-rated data for the use of WhatsApp. Calls, SMS and data in North America will also be included in the plans, although calls and SMS from Mexico to international destinations are still subject to extra roaming fees.
Consumer impatience with roaming surcharges is spreading across markets worldwide, inspired, in part, by the recent regulation in the European Union against the fees. Roam like home is becoming an expectation, and even budget MVNOs are getting into the game. Simplii’s bold plan, building on its access to two mobile networks rather than just one, offers national and some international roaming free of surcharges, and with it, the MVNO achieves first-mover advantage in the Mexican market.
The surcharge-free calls, SMS and data in North America should be very attractive to Mexican subscribers, considering the frequency of travel between Mexico and the U.S. Canada and Puerto Rico are also included, although that appears to be the extent of the international roaming. Still, for an MVNO it is an innovative and generous offering that should gain the operator significant traction.