By Alexandra Burlacu | Feb 20, 2013 09:13 AM EST
Wireless carrier T-Mobile just launched the GoSmart Mobile budget wireless service nationwide, expanding its prepaid offerings for consumers interested in low-cost unlimited plans.
The new GoSmart service aims to cater to consumers more interested in talk and text than high-speed mobile Internet. GoSmart also stands as a viable alternative for those who don't want to commit to a contract and who want to keep their monthly costs low without sacrificing their mobile usage.
The service has been in beta mode in nine markets, and now hits nationwide availability. The GoSmart plans start at $30 per month, and target audiences include younger consumers, college students on a budget and consumers with incomes between $30,000 and $40,000 a year, GoSmart Marketing Director Shailendra Gujarati told the Seattle Times.
"We are looking at customers whose predominant needs when it comes to wireless are talking, texting or entry-level data services," said Gujarati.
T-Mobile's new GoSmart service is now available at more than 3,000 wireless retail stores across the U.S. The cheapest plan offers a package with unlimited talk time and text services but no mobile Internet access for $30 per month. Users can get mobile Internet access for $5 more — $35 per month — or Internet access at 3G speeds with the $45 per month plan. After a 5GB cap, however, speeds are throttled.
Customers have two options to take advantage of T-Mobile's new GoService plans: use their own GSM phone on the service with a SIM kit, or buy a phone. Phone options include a $49 Alcatel feature phone or a $99 ZTE Android phone running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Needless to say, the service runs on T-Mobile's own network. The phones and service will be available for purchase online and through a wide network of independent phone dealers, but not through T-Mobile's website, its stores or national retailers.
GoSmart will compete with several other wireless ventures aiming to serve the fast-growing market for prepaid unlimited plans. According to Gujarati, GoSmart also marks the first time that T-Mobile launched a completely separate branded wireless service, save for the products it launched with Wal-Mart a few years back. T-Mobile apparently branded the GoSmart service separately in an effort to differentiate it from its other prepaid service, which includes a HSPA+ data network, faster data plans and higher-end handsets.