Wave7 Research is reporting that T-Mobile has halted shipments of prepaid phones to Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
I've saw evidence of the change at my local Target yesterday. Four of the six pegs that usually hold T-Mobile Prepaid phones were empty. The two phone models that were in stock had "Clearance" stickers on them and were marked down. The LG K7 was $62.98 (reg $89.99) and the HTC Desire 530 was $90.98 (reg $129.99). Spot checks of other Target stores using the Brickseek Target Inventory Checker also show very low T-Mobile inventory and discounted prices at all the Target stores I checked.
I have to wonder how well T-Mobile's apparent strategy of driving customers from national retail to its own stores will work out. I believe that people who buy prepaid phones at big box stores fall in to two categories. 1) Impulse buyers who grab prepaids for their kids while shopping for school supplies and small appliances and 2) savvy shoppers who research phones and carriers and look for the best deals. I can't see either type of customer shopping for a prepaid phone at a T-Mobile store. I can't see the impulse buyer dropping into a MetroPCS store either, but the savvy shopper would if the price was right.
ZTE Avid Plus LTE Android phone $20.98 (reg $69.99) 080-15-0100
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime LTE Android phone $26.98 (reg $89.99) 080-15-0038
Coolpad Rouge LTE Android phone $27.98 (reg $39.99) 080-15-0039
ZTE Z64 Hotspot $34.98 (reg $49.99) 080-15-0033
Coolpad Catalyst (aka Ocas) LTE Android phone $41.98 (reg $59.99) 080-02-1328
LG K7 LTE Android phone $62.98 (reg $89.99) 080-02-1321
HTC Desire 530 LTE Android phone $90.98 (reg $129.99) 080-02-1322
Image: Phones and phone cards (CC BY 2.0) by Clean Wal-Mart