As part of a holiday shopping promotion, TracFone's Straight Talk service announced it will offer a year's worth of unlimited calling, texting, data and 411 service for $30 per month. The prepaid offer, available mainly through Walmart, represents a new low in the market for prepaid unlimited service, and could put additional pressure on the likes of Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) and MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS).
Straight Talk's new $30 offer is only available on three GSM feature phones, the LG 420G, the LG 620G and the Samsung T401G. Though Straight Talk hasn't disclosed which carrier is providing service for the offering, Prepaid Reviews reported T-Mobile USA is providing the network for the $30 per month unlimited service. A T-Mobile representative didn't immediately respond to questions on the topic.
If T-Mobile is indeed the provider for the $30 unlimited service, it indicates TracFone is working carefully to squeeze the best MVNO terms from each of the nation's major carriers. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) currently powers service for Straight Talk's two Android phones, the LG Optimus Q and the Samsung Galaxy Precedent.
Sprint's Boost Mobile sparked the prepaid unlimited game in 2009 by offering limitless talking, texting and data for $50 per month. In recent years, players including Virgin Mobile, Leap and MetroPCS have worked to undercut that price. But TracFone's Straight Talk service, launched in 2009, has consistently maintained the market's lowest unlimited prices.
TracFone counts around 20 million total MVNO customers in the United States. In the third quarter the company reported a net customer gain of 515,000. TracFone, which operates Straight Talk as well as other brands including NET10 and Safelink Wireless, is owned by Mexico's América Móvil.
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