Without much in the way of fanfare, T-Mobile’s GoSmart Mobile brand has quietly made changes to its plan slate to better reflect the brand’s position in the family of prepaid brands under its immediate purview, with an attempt to push prices down even further to increase competition in the already competitive flat-rate prepaid space.
As of today, GoSmart goes head to head with former brand Simple Mobile and the recently relaunched Cricket Wireless in offering one of the lowest monthly rates for prepaid voice and messaging service in the US by starting its revised plan slate at $25 monthly for unlimited domestic voice and messaging, including unlimited MMS messaging.
This realignment puts it in direct competition with the aforementioned former T-Mobile brand and also puts the brand up against sibling brand MetroPCS, which also offers a similar plan, but like Cricket, limits those plans to feature phones, while GoSmart encourages use of the $25 plan on smartphones without any restrictions on device type.
However, the sudden realignment does suggest that rather than warn potential new and current customers of plan changes along with dealers, GoSmart decided to roll the new plans out with little warning, likely to prevent a rush of new subscribers signing up solely to take advantage of the now discontinued and unavailable $45 monthly plan with 5GB of data at “3G” speeds, with the highest plan now offering 3GB of data for $40. This is a much better deal than the majority of $40 prepaid plans, but it’s not without its own set of limitations.
The 3G speed designation is in quotes due to the fact that GoSmart recently increased the throughput caps on data from the previous 910Kbps limit at its national launch to speeds ranging from 3-8Mbps, depending on market, which was seen as a positive change for the brand compared to its initial rollout in just the last few months, yet the brand does not offer direct access to either full-speed HSPA or LTE, with one exception noted below.
Its latest price cut to $40 for 3GB of monthly data access now represents the new threshold for competitive pricing and monthly data access. The brand also continues offering bundled access to Facebook across the plan slate, which means that heavy users will still be able to use Facebook and its related Messenger client at full 4G LTE speeds when available without worrying about hitting the now lowered data caps and especially benefits those on the $25 plan, as it still does not feature data access outside of Facebook and the $35 plan with 500MB of higher-speed 3G data access can be better positioned for light mobile data users.
In essence, those that want monthly unlimited flat-rate voice and messaging service on a smartphone can now use GoSmart mobile for $25 monthly and simply rely on Wi-Fi for heavy data use, with Facebook access included at no extra charge at full 4G LTE speeds, with one of the biggest limitations being that GoSmart is limited to the native T-Mobile network, which while being much improved, is still heavily focused on urban areas. However, there are growing reports that GoSmart has even begun allowing access to the T-Mobile LTE network at slower data rates than full speed, but these reports have yet to be independently verified.
It remains to be seen whether MetroPCS or other brands will respond, as another Tracfone brand in Straight Talk recently increased data access to 3GB a month, but its monthly rate adds requisite taxes and fees along with GoSmart, while MetroPCS and Cricket include them in their monthly rates, drastically increasing their appeal.
Another additional issue is that GoSmart still isn’t as easily available via retail compared to other brands and remains mainly an online-centric brand and service, with varying rates of retail availability dependent on market. With these latest changes, T-Mobile is setting up GoSmart Mobile to be the quiet alternative to other prepaid brands and even its own sibling brands, in the name of competition.