AT&T changes at GoPhone appear to include a rebranding

Target's website offers airtime refills for "AT&T Prepaid"

AT&T appears to be rebranding its GoPhone prepaid offering, but the carrier isn’t saying much about it—yet.

PrepaidPhoneNews.com reported this week that Target’s website offers airtime refills for “AT&T Prepaid,” which the retailer notes is formerly the GoPhone brand. An AT&T spokesman declined to say whether the carrier is rebranding the service—or whether Target may have prematurely updated its website—but hinted that a new name might not be the only change in store for the prepaid service.

“We are making exciting changes to AT&T GoPhone, our prepaid service, that our customers may start to see at national retailers,” the spokesman said via email. “Look for announcements in the near future.”

While GoPhone isn’t a dominant player in the U.S. prepaid market—AT&T's Cricket brand is far larger, for example—the move would nonetheless mark a significant change for a venerable name in an increasingly competitive space. The GoPhone brand first came to market in 1987 and has changed hands from McCaw Cellular to AT&T Wireless to Cingular and then to AT&T Mobility during a series of mergers and acquisitions.

GoPhone is sold at thousands of major retail outlets throughout the country, according to fresh data from Wave7 Research, including Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Meijer’s.

A rebranding would also underscore the fact that prepaid has become an extremely competitive market as growth has slowed in the overall U.S. wireless industry and as handset upgrade cycles continue to lengthen. The ARPU gap between postpaid and prepaid has narrowed over the last few years, and the rush to offer unlimited-data plans has expanded from postpaid to prepaid in recent months.