AT&T has announced its latest smartphone on the GoPhone service, with Samsung providing its latest Galaxy variant in the Appeal. The phone will be released on June 5th as a timed Walmart exclusive for $149.99.
The Appeal features a full QWERTY keyboard, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, a 3.2-inch HVGA 480×320 display, a 3-megapixel camera, 512MB RAM, 800MHz ARM Cortex A5 processor, and supports microSD cards up to 32GB. The Galaxy Appeal can be paired with several data plans, starting in reverse order at 1GB for $25 per month, 200MB for $15 per month, or 50MB for $5 per month.
The launch of the Appeal on GoPhone signals an increasing willingness by AT&T to sell smartphones on prepaid, but the data plans also reflect a longstanding fear of constant data use on its network by the carrier, as other less expensive alternatives include a higher amount of data access per month and do not require separate voice and data plans, which is reflected in the popularity of services such as Red Pocket, Net10 and StraightTalk, which also use AT&T’s network.
In fact, the only advantage that signing up with GoPhone with a smartphone confers at this point is unlimited access to AT&T’s own hotspot network with the above data plans, but many still balk at the higher rates of GoPhone compared to other prepaid services, even with the included access. AT&T would be better served by providing improved pricing and options for its own GoPhone offering rather than refusing to compete against the same MVNOs that it leases its own network to, since everyone wins in the end when everyone is willing to compete against each other for customers.