Struggling MVNO for T-Mobile may be up against a wall, but isn’t calling it quits just yet.
When T-Mobile shut down Harbor Mobile’s corner-cutting MVNO, they went quietly into the night with their T-Mobile products.
But instead of stopping sales of T-Mobile altogether, Smartel is still offering $40 unlimited talk/text plans, with 10GB of 4G LTE data, roaming in Canada/Mexico, and also includes rollover data for unused portions.
There is, however, a catch. You now need to have a “business customer” to sign up. It’s not clear how rigid Smartel.mobi’s checks are – or if there are any checks at all really. For example, do sole proprietors get in? Are people working for companies “businesspeople” and thus entitled to business plans?
Smartel.mobi claims (in an email to customers) that: “During our most recent promotional launch, we acquired multiple SIMs in anticipation for fulfilling large orders.” By being cut off from “consumers” – and ordered (apparently) by T-Mobile to sell only to business customers, Smartel may be in a serious financial lurch – having bought many lines that they may be struggling to sell.
After all, SIM cards cost next to nothing (literally, less than a buck). This urgent email from Smartel to customers, may indicate that Smartel had to prepay for additional lines of service – lines it may now be struggling to find a way to market to customers.
T-Mobile’s rules of the road for these business MVNO resale plans seem as infirm as before. In our last article, we were quite critical of T-Mobile arbitraging customers with these artificial (and apparently, also unclear) limitations. T-Mobile clearly doesn’t want people to be able to point-click sign up to them. However, that said, it seems that they may be fine with these plans as “under the table” offerings.
T-Mobile is notorious for their own under-the-table offerings, after all. The company continues to offer a prepaid 5GB/30 day plan for smartphones for $30. To get that plan, you either have to activate a Walmart phone, or buy a SIM card/device from Tmobile.com.
They make the plan as unheard-of as possible, so much so that one of our competitors thought the plan was brand new, nearly a year after it came out. We won’t bother shaming the competitor that thought that, however. They don’t deserve the publicity.
Interested in one of the best plans out there? We can’t say if you’ll get in or not, but email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask them – and please report back with your results in the comments!