T-Mobile Launches New GoSmart Prepaid in U.S.

After having trialed the GoSmart service in several markets, T-Mobile is launching its new prepaid service nationally. The nation’s fourth largest carrier is continuing to target the prepaid market, which it says grows at an annual rate of 7 or 8 percent. As such, it hopes its competitively priced offerings may lure customers away from post-paid and contract calling and mobile broadband options.

Users who are interested in the GoSmart service from T-Mobile can buy the $8 SIM kit to get started. You’ll either need a T-Mobile phone or an unlocked GSM handset. Pricing starts at just $30 for those who choose GoSmart.

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According to the carrier, the $30 plan will give you unlimited talk and text. Going up to the $35 plan will give you the option of unlimited talk, text, and web. And though you do get unlimited web here, you’ll be capped at T-Mobile’s slower 2G EDGE network with speeds more akin to dial-up Internet speeds.

For an added $10 at $45, you can get a plan that includes unlimited text, talk, and 3G/4G (HSPA+) web access. Though dubbed unlimited, this plan also has throttling. Users are given 5 GB of data usage per month at the faster 3G/4G speeds. Anything in excess won’t result in overage charges but users will be slowed down to slower 2G EDGE speeds for the remainder of the month.

The carrier hasn’t if LTE, which it is building out, will be included in GoSmart plans in the future. LTE promises to deliver even faster download and upload speeds than legacy HSPA/HSPA+ network and is more data efficient for carriers to deliver. If LTE will also be included at some point in the future, users would also need an LTE-compatible phone. Currently, the Galaxy Note 2 on T-Mobile’s post-paid network is LTE-ready.

While the plans seem reasonable, there are other no-contract plans from competitors that may deliver more value. Operating off of Sprint Nextel’s 3G CDMA/EVDO network, Republic Wireless offers services with unlimited everything for just $19 monthly. The MVNO carrier is hoping you’ll use WiFi whenever available to not be a bandwidth hog, but has no clause about throttling.

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The plans seem equivalent to what MetroPCS has been offering on its no-contract network. After a botched merger with AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA had announced that it’s merging with MetroPCS and the GoSmart plan seems to be a good balance between what MetroPCS charges and the variety of no-contract plans available through T-Mobile’s Monthly4G offering.

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