Rumor Mill: Target to team with T-Mobile for 'Brightspot' prepaid offering

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) will power a new prepaid wireless service that retailer Target plans to offer starting this weekend, according to several postings on the Web.

According to posts from prolific mobile leaker @evleaks and the blog Droid-Life, on Oct. 6 Target will launch the service, which will be called "Brightspot."

Brightspot will have three basic plans, according to the reports. The first will be a $35 plan with unlimited voice and texting but no data. The second will be a $50 plan with unlimited voice, texting and 1 GB of LTE data before speeds are throttled down to 2G, and the third will be a $65 plan that gives users unlimited voice, texting and 4 GB of LTE data before throttling.

Customers will be able to purchase a Brightspot SIM kit at Target stores or, Droid-Life said, and will be able to refill their plan there or by dialing *233 (*ADD). Both the $35 and $50 SIM kits will be available in stores, but the $65 SIM kit will only be available online, the blog said.

The blog post also said the service will reward customers with $25 Target gift cards for every six months of continued service.

Target spokeswoman Meghan Cushing declined to comment on the reports. "At Target, we know guests are looking for a variety of mobile offerings at great values," she told FierceWireless. "Target Mobile centers are located in more than 1,500 Target stores nationwide and make mobile phone shopping convenient and simple by offering a range of devices and programs, including select prepaid plans. We do not have any additional details to share about Target Mobile offerings at this time." A T-Mobile spokesman did not immediately have a comment.

In April, retailer RadioShack stopped helping operate Target Mobile in 1,500 Target stores. The companies' deal, which was put in place in 2010, had allowed RadioShack to manage Target's postpaid wireless business, but RadioShack did not manage the prepaid business or the wider range of mobile accessories Target sold. RadioShack ended the relationship after concluding the two companies could not agree to terms that would have created more profit for both parties.

If the reports prove accurate, Target wouldn't be the first retail partner for T-Mobile. T-Mobile launched the Walmart Family Mobile prepaid service in 2010, which is available through Walmart stores and carries the T-Mobile brand alongside Walmart's brand.

T-Mobile's other prepaid brands include GoSmart Mobile, which it launched last year, and MetroPCS, which T-Mobile acquired earlier this year and plans to take nationwide.

T-Mobile isn't alone in targeting the prepaid space with multiple brands. Sprint offers service through Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and other brands. And AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) launched its Aio Wireless prepaid brand earlier this year with nationwide ambitions. AT&T is also in the process of acquiring regional prepaid player Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP). Leap shareholders will vote on the del on Oct. 24 and AT&T has said it expects regulatory approval in the first half of 2014. AT&T has said it plans to keep Leap's no-contract Cricket brand and offer Cricket customers access to AT&T's network.

For more:
- see this Droid-Life post
- see this @evleaks post
- see this Android Police post

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