Smartel.mobi is offering a promotional “Gold Promo” plan that is quite attractive. It promises T-Mobile-network service with 10GB of 4G LTE data per month, and unlimited talk, and text for $35/month.
Plus, you get rollover data, free music streaming, and free 4G roaming in North America. There are a couple of hoops. Your promotional plan comes with a bonus 10GB T-Mobile Data Stash allotment pre-loaded. You have to use that up before the data rollover begins. That means, to start rolling over, you actually have to burn through 20GB of data in a single month. Not hard, but an interesting challenge.
The big problem with Smartel is that it’s on shaky ground. Every 3-6 months, a startup pops up reselling T-Mobile business plans. Often times, they’re shut down. Such was the case, as the title suggests, with Harbor Mobile. Those who signed up, and kept their accounts active, were allowed to keep their coveted plans… but T-Mobile cut them off from signing up new customers.
Harbor Mobile has been regrouping, and plans to relaunch this fall with a new partnership on AT&T.
Still, we don’t suggest porting your number to Smartel. There is a better way.
We suggest you use Google Voice, and route your calls through your Google Voice number. If Smartel, like others on a deathwatch, vanishes suddenly – you’re out relatively little. Just have a backup prepaid phone ready to go, in case your Smartel line suddenly stops working. Then, worst-case, all you have to do is buy another prepaid SIM card from another carrier.
With the Moto X Pure Edition, and the Nexus 6, now offering quad-carrier support… and niche plays like the OnePlus 2 offering dual-SIM support, this is an attractive option to get lots of additional 4G LTE data on the cheap.
We have activated a Smartel plan in-house. It took a week to arrive, and we can use the T-Mobile My Account app to track our data use even. We’re not sure how the data rollover will work just yet, though Smartel says they are working on improvements to their account management – which admittedly, is quite limited at the moment.
Really the problem is that carriers like T-Mobile are still overly padding their consumer offerings, leaving room for additional profits – and for MVNOs to undercut. Unfortunately, the best deals are going to be the shady ones, as a result.
Reselling T-Mobile shared-line business plans to consumers may be something T-Mobile should simply accept, and accommodate – rather than constantly squash.