In case you couldn't guess, contract-free wireless is making a huge impact here in the United States. Cricket just put the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on sale for as low as $399 without any contract attached, and now, one of America's largest wireless operators is teaming with a major company on the sales front in order to launch yet another prepaid wireless option. If the postpaid war is won, it looks as if the prepaid battle is only truly starting.
The partnership involves T-Mobile USA and Dollar General, who have entered into a new distribution agreement to bring DG customers access to T-Mobile's prepaid and Monthly4G No Annual Contract service. Starting this July, over 6,400 Dollar General stores will begin offering "numerous T-Mobile prepaid plan options and the Samsung t139 phone, which features messaging, Web browsing, a camera and Bluetooth connectivity." That's a really simplistic phone, sure, but it's a start. And really, this is more about the precedent than anything. Phones will come in time; it's the idea of spreading wireless access to 6,400 more B&M stores that's impressive. Walmart is already selling prepaid and postpaid wireless services, but this marks yet another milestone.
The T-Mobile Monthly4G No Annual Contract $50 unlimited plan offers unlimited talk, text and Web with no overage charges, and the first 100 MB of data at up to 4G speeds (HSPA+). After high-speed allotment is used, speeds slowed to up to 2G speeds for remainder of month. T-Mobile product and plan offerings will be displayed in a bright end cap at the front of the store, featuring a variety of units and services to make selection simple for customers.
There's no word on which company is paying out how much, but there's obviously some cash changing hands behind the scenes. We view it as a major win for T-Mobile, and the brand recognition should go a long way. Watch for the other carriers to follow suit with other partners in short order...