Low-cost AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) MVNO Pure Talk USA is launching a rollover data component to some of its plans, similar to rollover voice minutes that have long been a hallmark of AT&T's service. However, the data allotments are far smaller than other MVNOs and large carriers.
Pure Talk will offer 150 MB of data and 200 MMS messages for $9.95 per month as an option to customers who use the company's no-contract Flex calling plan. Any data that is unused at the end of each month will roll over to the next month and never expire. The amount of data is capped each month and customers are not charged more unless they purchase an additional block of data. Subscribers can check on their data usage via an online portal.
Pure Talk's Flex calling plans start at $10 per month for 130 voice minutes and go up to $50 per month for 1,430 minutes. Customers set a maximum dollar amount that they are willing to spend each month, and once they need more minutes, their account automatically adjusts to the next level. Pure Talk boasts that customers will never have to request more voice minutes, never will be charged a fee for "going over" their minutes and will never receive a bill for more than their designated maximum.
In an interview with FierceWireless, Pure Talk CEO R. P. McFarland acknowledged that 150 MB is not a lot of data when compared to other carriers, but said the company is not looking to attract or cater to customers who use a lot of cellular data (outside of using data on Wi-Fi networks). "We're selling to a market that is budget-conscious," he said. "The guy who wants to stream, we're no good for him. We're not where he needs to be."
Instead, Pure Talk is looking to go after customers who can't afford a more expensive data plan, seniors who want to upload photos and other customers who, in general, use data lightly. McFarland said the company, based in Georgia, is a small operation and can adjust its data offerings if it feels the need to. (Pure Talk also offers a plan for $34.95 that includes unlimited voice and texting, 100 MB of data and 400 MMS messages, and a plan for $43.95 that includes unlimited voice and texting, 1 GB of data and 600 MMS messages.)
Pure Talk offers a small selection of smartphones, including the Samsung Galax S III mini for $260 and the Sony Xperia tip for $150, but McFarland said the company will soon add more. As things stand, that may not be much of an issue for Pure Talk, which lets customers bring their own unlocked phones to its service. Brian Rathman, vice president of network operations, said that 90 percent of the company's monthly sales are SIM-only sales and 75 percent of sales are family plans or the base $10 Flex calling plan.
Pure Talk is owned by Telrite, a CLEC started in 2000. McFarland declined to say how many customers the service has or what its revenue is, but said the business has doubled in size each year over the last three years. "Our trend line is beautiful," he said.
McFarland declined to say if the company would ever switch from being an AT&T MVNO, but he did say "we have other MVNO agreements in place that we're not putting this product on," referring to Pure Talk.
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