updated 03:28 am EDT, Thu October 3, 2013
Service offers low-cost plans, loyalty discounts, 1GB unthrottled data
US megastore chain Target, competing against rival Walmart's "Straight Talk" service for prepaid and unlocked phones, said it will launch its own brand based on T-Mobile's network and dubbed "Brightspot." The rollout, which begins on Sunday, allows buyers to choose from a selection of Android-based feature or smartphones, or bring their own unlocked device. Plans include unlimited talk and texting for $35 per month, or the same with 1GB of unthrottled 3G or LTE data $50 per month.
Target's offering differs from Walmart's AT&T-based Straight Talk service in that the amount of data is significantly lower (1GB vs 2.5GB), but customers get a $25 Target gift card for every six months they are on the service, and an automatic five percent discount if they have a Target credit card. Unlocked phones brought to the service will need to be compatible with T-Mobile's GSM frequencies, but most modern GSM smartphones will not have any issues.
"Brightspot combines the flexibility of a pre-paid program with [LTE] data on one of the nation's premier networks," said VP of Electronics John Butcher. There is no word if Target will expand the service into Canada, where it has recently started opening stores.