T-Mobile USA launched its GoSmart Mobile prepaid brand nationwide. The launch signals a new entrant into the nationwide prepaid space.
The GoSmart offering is now available at more than 3,000 wireless reseller stores around the country, according to Reuters. T-Mobile has been trialing the service since December and has signed up "tens of thousands" of customers. "It's beat our projections pretty handily," Doug Chartier, senior vice president of marketing for GoSmart, told Reuters.
T-Mobile launched GoSmart in "select markets" in December, and said then that it would be "using what we learn to make a decision about a potential national launch sometime in 2013." FierceWireless last month reported that T-Mobile would take GoSmart nationwide in February.
T-Mobile's GoSmart is available at three price points: $30 per month for unlimited voice and texting, $35 for unlimited voice, texting and 2G Web service, and $45 for unlimited voice, texting and "high-speed" Web service. The $45 plan includes 5 GB of data per month, after which users' connections are slowed from "3G" speeds (presumably HSPA) to 2G speeds.
Interestingly, T-Mobile also noted that "certain T-Mobile plans may be prioritized over GoSmart Mobile plans during periods of congestion."
GoSmart currently offers three handset options on its website: The ZTE V768, which runs on Android 2.3, for $99; the Alcatel OT 838 for $49; and a "mobile SIM kit" for $8 that will allow users to connect unlocked GSM phones to the service. T-Mobile spokesman Dave Berkowitz said the company will be adding more devices to the GoSmart lineup over time but he said the devices will be aimed at budget-conscious consumers. He said in the trials of the service the "vast majority" of customers had opted for the SIM kit.
GoSmart, which is owned and operated by T-Mobile but is sold as a separate and unrelated brand, is similar to Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) prepaid strategy, which stretches across the Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and Assurance Wireless brands. The strategy allows T-Mobile to tap into the low-cost prepaid space without using its primary brand. T-Mobile also offers prepaid service through the "Walmart Family Mobile" brand, which is advertised as using the T-Mobile network. Further, T-Mobile is working to merge with regional prepaid carrier MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS), and plans to take the MetroPCS brand nationwide.
Chartier said T-Mobile is going after cost-conscious prepaid consumers who may not be able or willing to offer higher-end prepaid plans focused on data. "It's not for the consumer that wants to download video," he told Reuters.
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