T-Mobile USA confirmed to FierceWireless that it is testing a new prepaid brand, GoSmart Mobile, in "select markets." The carrier said it will be "using what we learn to make a decision about a potential national launch sometime in 2013."
T-Mobile USA will eliminate all device subsidies from its rate plans in 2013. During Deutsche Telekom's annual investor conference, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that customers will pay an upfront fee for their devices and then pay the balance of the device in affordable monthly installments.
T-Mobile USA appears to be preparing to launch a new, low-cost prepaid service called GoSmart Mobile, but it is unclear when the service will launch and whether it will be an independent brand or a T-Mobile sub-brand.
Softbank's planned $20.1 billion investment in Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA's intended merger with MetroPCS are "significant transactions," but that does not mean the deals will alter the competitive landscape in the U.S. wireless industry, according to Standard & Poor's Rating Services.
MetroPCS plans to expand its no-contract service to three new markets by the end of 2013 if its proposed merger with T-Mobile USA is approved. Although the company did not reveal the three markets where the service will be launched, MetroPCS CFO Braxton Carter has said in prior discussions with investors that the company will launch service in markets such as New Orleans and Minneapolis where MetroPCS' prepaid flat-rate offering is not currently available.
A federal appeals court upheld the FCC's rules requiring data roaming, dealing a blow to Verizon Wireless, which had sued to block the rules under the argument that the FCC overstepped its authority in passing them.
MetroPCS is bringing Rich Communication Services under the GSMA's joyn brand to more of its LTE smartphones. The joyn service is part of an effort by carriers worldwide to counter the rise of over-the-top communications services like WhatsApp, Apple's iMessage and Facebook's Messenger.
U.S. Cellular has started testing Voice over LTE technology but has not yet said when it will launch the service.
Sprint Nextel is not likely to make a competing bid for MetroPCS to counter Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, according to a Reuters report. The report said instead Sprint will focus on getting Softbank's $20.1 billion purchase of 70 percent of Sprint approved by regulators.
MetroPCS' shares rose today after a financial analyst said that Sprint Nextel may make a counter-bid for the prepaid carrier to compete with the bid from Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA.