Target is preparing to take on the likes of Straight Talk, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile with its own prepaid carrier service dubbed BrightSpot.
That is according to information obtained by Droid-Life. Conceptually, BrightSpot’s operations won’t be that different from the way other small pre-paid carriers operate when it launches on October 6th.
Using T-Mobile’s 4G and LTE network as a backbone, BrightSpot will allow users to choose from three different plans starting at just $35 a month for unlimited talk. Users who step up to the service’s $50 plan will get 1GB of data usage before the service automatically throttles them, plus unlimited talk and testing. The service’s top-tier $65 plan will allow users to get 4GB of unlimited data before they are throttled, plus unlimited talking and texting.
Since competitor Straight Talk’s unlimited talk, text and web plans begin at $45, BrightSpot’s offerings aren’t too bad. Especially since Straight Talk limits users to just 1.5GB of data before it begins throttling them. As the company came under fire for not disclosing that data limit to users earlier this year, it’s likely that users will appreciate BrightSpot’s up-front terms.
Still, BrightSpot’s most exciting feature could be its rewards program. Users who have a Target REDCard credit card will receive a 5% discount on their service plans. Target will also reward users for staying with the service every six months with a $25 gift card, according to Droid-Life’s leaks. $25 might not seem like a lot of money immediately, however since traditional Target gift-cards don’t expire, that money could add up over time.
Really, the only downside seems is that BrightSpot will launch as a SIM card only service. That means users will need to provide their own devices. More specifically, they’ll need to provide their own devices that are compatible with T-Mobile’s network. While that isn’t a big problem for cheap mobile phone users, a smartphone compatible with T-Mobile’s network costs a small fortune. For example, the iPhone 5s begins at $649.
As T-Mobile and AT&T use most of the same technology, some smartphones from AT&T can be used on T-Mobile’s network flawlessly, provided that the user has received an unlock code from AT&T. The carrier prefers to only dispense lock codes after a two-year service agreement has expired, however. Using a smartphone from Sprint or Verizon would be particularly troublesome. Most of their phones rely on technologies that are not not compatible with T-Mobile’s network.
Target stores will begin offering Nano-SIM and micro-SIM cards for users looking to take advantage of the service’s $35 and $50 plans on October 6th. Users looking for a SIM card with the $65 plan will need to order it from Target’s website once the service launches.