AT&T on Friday introduced an international plan in which subscribers may send up to 50 messages a month for a flat rate, thereby avoiding pay-per-use rates while abroad.
The Global Messaging 50 Package will cost $10 a month and can be added to an AT&T customer's wireless plan starting March 20. The service would include text, picture, and video messages sent from more than 90 countries.
The service is being marketed to travelers as a less expensive alternative to international roaming rates. Such pay-per-use rates cost 50 cents per message for text messages and $1.30 per message for picture and video messages.
AT&T's plan amounts to 20 cents per message for any type of message. Additionally, messages sent over the monthly limit would cost on average 40 cents per message.
AT&T's international coverage includes voice service in more than 220 countries and data service in 195 countries. The carrier offers 3G data services in 115 countries.
Data services are a major revenue generator for wireless carriers. To lure more users, AT&T last week introduced online services that make it possible to perform tasks associated with smartphones on lower-priced mobile phones.
The services include an address book, messaging, and the ability to transfer photos and video to a home computer or share them with people on other phones or with social networks, such as Facebook.
Initially, the services would be available on only four phones, two each from Samsung and Pantech. Sharing media would cost $10 per month for 50 transfers. A pay-per-use option would cost 35 cents per transfer.