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 representatives declined to answer follow-up questions including what markets T-Mobile is testing GoSmart Mobile in, what prices the service offers and what kinds of devices it will support.
The blog TMoNews first published details about T-Mobile's GoSmart Mobile plans. According to documents obtained by TMoNews, GoSmart Mobile will offer three main, low-cost plans. There will be a $30 plan for unlimited voice and texting, a $35 plan for unlimited voice, texting and 2G Web service and a $45 plan for unlimited voice, texting and "high-speed" Web service. However, the documents note GoSmart's "high-speed" data service will be 3G; T-Mobile brands its high-speed HSPA+ network as 4G.
That T-Mobile is focusing more closely on the prepaid side of the business is no surprise. In the third quarter, T-Mobile added 365,000 new prepaid customers and lost 492,000 branded postpaid customers. Indeed, T-Mobile is working to merge with regional prepaid carrier MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS), and plans to take the MetroPCS brand nationwide.
Further, T-Mobile isn't the first wireless carrier to target the prepaid space with a separate brand. Sprint Nextel has successfully tapped into prepaid sales via its Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Assurance Wireless prepaid brands.
Interestingly, T-Mobile's GoSmart Mobile prepaid brand could create additional competition for a number of new T-Mobile MVNOs. For example, Ultra Mobile, Ready SIM and Solavei are three MVNOs that recently launched low-cost, prepaid services using T-Mobile's network. If T-Mobile provides more favorable pricing through GoSmart, that could slow sales through T-Mobile's MVNOs.
The news about GoSmart Mobile comes amid a busy day for T-Mobile. During parent Deutsche Telekom's investor conference, T-Mobile announced that next year it would sell Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products and that it would discontinue providing device subsidies next year.
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