TracFone challenges Isis with new 'Trac 'N' Save' digital wallet and promotions program

América Móvil's U.S. MVNO TracFone Wireless recently launched its new "Trac 'N' Save" digital coupon and wallet program, which the company said provides "the best deals, discounts and promotions from trusted partners" to its roughly 23 million customers.

The program is available across TracFone brands including Net10, Straight Talk, Telcel America and Simple Mobile. It offers discounts on items such as groceries, entertainment, online services and restaurants.

To access the promotions, TracFone customers must sign up to the Trac 'N' Save service. Customers then can receive discounts and coupons from participating merchants, which appear to include digital magazine provider Zinio, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Papa John's pizza restaurant chain, Avis' car rental service and others.

Trac 'N' Save users can create an online profile with their shopping preferences, and then can receive alerts on potential discounts via email or SMS on their TracFone-powered phone. They can also create shopping lists that can be matched against available coupons. TracFone said users will be able to store their discounts and coupons in the My Wallet section of the service, and can then print them out to use them at a specific store.

A TracFone representative could not immediately answer questions about the new service.

TracFone's new Trac 'N' Save could represent the MVNO's first tentative steps into the white-hot mobile commerce market. Players ranging from PayPal to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have been investing significant time and energy into the space, betting that mobile phone users will eventually begin using their phones to pay for physical goods and services.

Indeed, the space has already attracted some big names including Isis, the Near Field Communications-based mobile commerce network spearheaded by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS). Isis offers a tap-and-pay service that allows customers to fund purchases, use store loyalty cards and redeem discounts and coupons across thousands of contactless-enabled merchant locations, including Macy's, Jamba Juice, Aéropostale, Foot Locker and Whole Foods. Isis plans to expand its offering nationwide later this year after completing pilots in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas.

Although TracFone's Trac 'N' Save service does not appear to offer a mobile payment component--users must print out coupons in order to use them--the company presumably could expand the service and include mobile payment and coupon options in the future.

For example, TracFone's MVNO rival Solavei is already headed down this path. The T-Mobile MVNO told FierceWireless in May it plans to launch a loyalty card program that will allow customers to obtain 2-15 percent discounts from participating retailers as well as additional savings through the company's tiered membership structure. Solavei plans to launch the offering, which is centered on Solavei-branded Visa debit cards, sometime this month.

TracFone is América Móvil's U.S. arm, and offers wireless service through several brands including TracFone, Straight Talk, Telcel America, Net10 and SafeLink. TracFone is by far the largest MVNO in the United States and offers service through Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile's networks.

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