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Simple Mobile Replacing T-Mobile Prepaid at Target Stores

Simple Mobile Replacing T-Mobile Prepaid at Target Stores

A month ago we reported that T-Mobile USA was ending sales of its T-Mobile Prepaid brand at national retailers including Target, Walmart and BestBuy.  These big box chain retailers had been dedicating a significant amount of shelf space to T-Mobile Prepaid. At my Target store, eight prepaid brands; Verizon Prepaid, Consumer Cellular, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, AT&T GoPhone, Cricket, T-Mobile Prepaid and TracFone were featured with displays like the three shown above. Airtime cards and SIMs, but no phones, for Net10, Univision, H2O and Ultra Mobile share a small section around the corner, at the back end of the aisle, an area that Target also uses for clearance items.

For the last three weeks the former T-Mobile Prepaid display area at my local Target sat empty. But when I visited Target yesterday the T-Mobile section was filled with phones from TracFone's Simple Mobile brand as you can see in the photo above. The display still has its T-Mobile sign and a few T-Mobile Prepaid brochures but the airtime cards and phones are from all Simple Mobile except for one misplaced peg of TracFones. T-Mobile SIMs and airtime cards had been relegated to around the back corner with the cards and SIMs for Net10, H2O and other lesser brands.

T-Mobile seems to be doing everything it can to discourage T-Mobile Prepaid sales. After T-Mobile phones disappeared from national retail, T-Mobile raised the prices of most of the T-Mobile Prepaid phones on the T-Mobile website by an average of $20. I think T-Mobile's strategy is to drive prepaid customers to its MetroPCS brand. The problem with that is that MetroPCS phones are only available at MetroPCS stores and the MetroPCS website. Abandoning the national retail channel for prepaid sales seems like a risky move by T-Mobile. It will be interesting to see if T-Mobile can continue to rack up big gains in new prepaid customers without national retail.

For more about T-Mobile Prepaid including plans, features and pricing see our T-Mobile Prepaid Profile.
For more about Simple Mobile see our Simple Mobile Profile.

16 comments:

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  1. John Legere wants to get out of the in house prepaid service entirely, and leave it to all of T-Mobile MVNO's. Almost the same profit margins, without having to provide Customer support.

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    1. I don't think that T-Mobile wants to abandon prepaid. If they did they would not have bought MetroPCS and spent millions expanding the number of MetroPCS stores and advertising the MetroPCS brand.

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  2. T-Mobile phone's still aplenty being sold @ my select Walmart's. Nothing has really changed at this mass retailer. They have all the latest Prepaid phones and they actually expanded to another select Walmart location in my area.

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  3. Simple Mobile Replacing T-Mobile Prepaid at BestBuy Stores,too .

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  4. Simple Mobile is being offered in Family Dollar stores now too,but my local store has no cards or scantags for airtime. Looks like you need to set up autopay with credit/debit. As far as I know Simple Mobile is a former MVNO of T-Mobile but is now owned by Tracfone which is still using T-Mobile's network for Simple.

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  5. I can see how this is all going....prepaid in these national chain locations will be 100% tracfone brands...it will drive consumers to the stores and at least they will have a better buying experience because most of those walmart, best buy and target reps have no clue about prepaid...

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  6. About 2 1/2 months ago my local CVS store had T-Mobile SIM card/airtime packs for sale but I couldn't find a display price. I asked an employee to scan one and it wouldn't come up. The manager tried and said "We can't sell these we have to pull them." So T-Mobile SIMs are gone,T-M phones on clearance (if they work) but T-M airtime cards still offered. Dumb move for a small Indiana town. Tracfone is King here,that's how limited our choices are.

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  7. "The problem with that is that MetroPCS phones are only available at MetroPCS stores and the MetroPCS website."

    My local Walmart sells MetroPCS and has been doing so for many months.

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  8. Can Simple Mobile phones be GSM Unlock?

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    1. Maybe, phones from TracFone brands like Simple Mobile are usually very hard to unlock. You need to contact unlocking services and ask them if they can unlock the specific Simple Mobile model you have or are interested in buying.

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    2. Well the 12 month unlock policy is fast approaching for many TF devices so customers should start requesting unlocks'

      Do you think T-Mobile it trying to drive customers into Company stores where they can entice them to move to post paid?

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  9. Dennis: Isn't the replacement of TMo with Simple Mobile consistent with what Tracphone has already done by purchasing Go Phone and Walmart Family Mobile?

    Seriously, the TMO monthly pre-paid plans are not as competitive as what one can get at a TMO MVNO with the exception that TMO monthly pre-paid plans offer roaming, and a few other benefits not offered by most MVNO's.

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    1. TracFone bought GoSmart, not GoPhone. The big win here for TracFone is that they doubled their retail display space in Target and BestBuy.

      I suspect there was some sort of deal between T-Mobile, TracFone, Best Buy and Target where T-Mobile and Target got something in return for allowing Simple Mobile to replace T-Mobile Prepaid at Target and Best Buy.

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  10. The Tmo store often has better prices than Wal-Mart or Best Buy for prepaid phones. IMHO the biggest problem with this is one of convenience since the long lines at Tmo stores are going to get worse.

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  11. Best Buy has this phone on sale for $19.99, "Simple Mobile - ZTE Midnight Pro". Can it be used on T-mobile Prepaid/Postpaid?

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    1. Probably not, TracFone usually locks its phones down very tightly. But we won't know for sure until someone tries a T-Mobile SIM in the phone.

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