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T-Mobile To Launch New GoSmartMobile Prepaid Brand

TmoNews.com has obtained leaked documents indicating that T-Mobile USA is about to launch a new prepaid brand called GoSmartMobile.  It looks like there will be three prepaid monthly plans available at launch:
  • $30/month Unlimited Talk and Text, including picture messaging but no other data
  • $35/month Unlimited Talk Text and Web at 2G speeds
  • $45/month Unlimited Talk Text and "high speed data" at "3G" speeds
The add-ons are:
  • $5/month unlimited international text (but not picture) messaging
  • $10/month unlimited texting and calls to landline numbers in "select" countries
I'm not sure what to make of this. T-Mobile already has a total of nine prepaid plans. There are five "Monthly 4G" plans, three Pay by the Day Plans  and a Pay as You Go Plan. T-Mobile is acquiring MetroPCS which has its own stable of a dozen monthly plans.  So why does T-Mobile need GoSmartMobile?

My theory is that T-Mobile is using GoSmartMobile primarily to target Tracfone's Straight Talk and Simple Mobile brands and the dozens of MVNOs that offer unlimited voice, messaging and a sizable bucket of data for less than $50/month. The $45 and $30 price points match Straight Talk's two plans and the $35 and $45 plans are comparable to but $5 cheaper than Simple Mobile's $40 and $50 plans.

$45/month for unlimited everything and $30 for unlimited voice and messaging seem like great deals but there are some significant limitations compared with T-Mobile's Monthly 4G plans and with Straight Talk.
  • 3G speeds on GoSmartMobile versus 4G on most of T-Mobile's prepaid plans or with a Straight Talk T-Mobile SIM. We don't know exactly what 3G means here but it seems clear that it's some degree of throttling. T-Mobile uses the "4G" label for all it's unthrottled data offerings, 3G implies slower and thus throttled. T-Mobile's  HSPA+ "4G" network is theoretically capable of 41Mbps, with real world speeds of over 10 Mbps common in many areas. Simple Mobile's  $40/month plan "3G" is throttled to around 240 Kbps. I doubt that GoSmartMobile will be throttled that severely. I'm guessing a throttled speed of between 1 and 3 Mbps is likely. 
  • No roaming on GoSmartMobile compared with extensive voice and text roaming on T-Mobile prepaid and voice, text and some data roaming on Straight Talk (there's no roaming on Simple Mobile).
  • Phones Locked to their SIMs. The fine print in the document (below, right - click for larger view)  contains the statement "For up to 180 days after activation, devices purchased or activated at certain locations will only work on our network with the SIMs included at activation". 
Nothing in the leaked documents suggests when GoSmartMobile will go live, what phones will be offered or if it will be possible to purchase a SIM without a device. But the leaked items do include instructions for setting up a point of sale display (image bottom, right) and what look like store window posters. If T-Mobile is sending or is about to send displays and posters to stores i suspect the GoSmartMobile launch is less than a month away.

Source and Images: TmoNews.com


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  1. It looks like an "MVNO" but its not, so I guess they want to compete head on against their own MVNO's, and get a piece of the action. Why would they want to do that?? and who in its right mind will sign up to become a T-Mobile MVNO in the future???

    1. Sprint did the same thing when they bought Virgin Mobile. And they own Boost. But there are plenty of MVNOs on Sprint.
      It helps Tmob differentiate, target another demographic, to compete stronger overall without cheapening their core brand. They have the excess capacity, and they can keep more revenue with a captive brand than they could selling network access at very low rates to another MVNO.

  2. This appears to be the rumored "Prepaid division" to compensate for losing Simple mobile to Tracfone . Simple was supposed to give Tmo first refusal rights apparently and they put themselves up for sale to Tracfone befoe allowing Tmo to excersie said rights. Tmo got mad and did this. However, unless they really do something better Simple Mobile won't get hurt at all. If they are going to lock phones and sims down, it might be better to go with a Sprint mvno with byosd instead. Locking down gsm is stupid and won't help them a bit in competing against the strongest tmobile mvno out there.

  3. There is also ultramobile.me
    Another T-Mobile MVNO with a very similar pricing setup. They do not roam as well.

    1. Ptel's new plans fit in at $40 and $50, with BYOD.
      Will their $40 plan be 2G or "3G?" We should know in a couple of weeks.

    2. Ultra throttles their $39 plan at 128mb/s. Their $49 plan is throttled at the same low speed after 1GB.
      What does the ACRS forum announcement (removed) of the Platinumtel $50 plan mean when it says "3G/4G?"

    3. ACRS' post regarding PTel said:

      $40 Unlimited Web 3G/4G Web, speed throttled at 250MB
      $50 Unlimited Web 3G/4G Web, speed throttled at 2GB

      Presumably 3G/4G web means unthrottled

    4. From the fine, blurry print: "Certain Tmobile plans may be given priority over GoSmartMobile plans during periods of congestion."

    5. I saw that. Similar ads for T-Mobile Monthly 4G do not include that statement.

  4. It looks like T-Mobile is getting really competitive since the new CEO John Legere came on board to man the helm of USS T-Mo. It's taking a page Sprint Mobile playbook by offering more variety. This GoSmartMobile looks like a MVNO run by T-mo itself to make up the loss of Simple Mobile to Carlos Slim. Well MetroPCS is going to be the official prepaid arm of T-mo soon as FCC and DOJ gives them a green light. I got 2 predictions for T-mo and they are the following: The DISH network will be in partnership with T-Mo because of AWS-4 spectrum that DISH has and the second will be the buyout of LEAP Wireless the mother company of Cricket Mobile to absorb their AWS and 1900 PCS spectrum and sell the spectrum they don't need. I believe LEAP LTE spectrum is more in the range VZW, AT&T, US Cellular and C-spire. Here is a out of topic possible scenario. If I was US Cellular CEO I would help T-mo to acquire LEAP in return for the LTE spectrum and equipment and then acquire C-Spire and work out a major roaming deal with VZW. This may or may not happen in the future, but we will have to see.

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