TracFone's Straight Talk service added its second smartphone running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, the LG Optimus Q, potentially putting more pressure on flat-rate wireless players MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP).
Straight Talk is advertising the LG Optimus Q on its website.
TracFone, which is owned by América Móvil, said it will sell the Optimus Q for $179.99 paired with the company's $45 monthly unlimited plan. The device is the second Android smartphone for Straight Talk; the company launched the Samsung Galaxy Precedent in August for $150.
While Straight Talk operates as an MVNO using Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) networks, Straight Talk's Android service runs on Sprint's network via a special wholesale deal the companies struck. The LG Optimus Q has slightly better specifications than the Galaxy Precedent, but is also a mid-range Android device. It runs on Android 2.3, or Gingerbread, and has a 3.2-inch screen, 3-megapixel camera and slide-out Qwerty keyboard.
TracFone added 515,000 net subscribers in the third quarter, an increase of 15.7 percent over the year-ago period, bringing the company's total subscribers to 19.3 million. Interestingly, according to MetroPCS CFO Braxton Carter, Straight Talk's Android service is not putting that much pressure on MetroPCS thus far. Speaking at an investor conference Tuesday morning, Carter said that because Straight Talk is primarily sold via big-box retail distribution, namely Walmart, and because MetroPCS has a more varied distribution, the Straight Talk Android offering isn't affecting its core customer base.
- see this Straight Talk site
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