Another basic MVNO player hoping to pick up some market share

Although it isn't the first name you think of when it comes to prepaid GSM phone service, Target has just launched its own MVNO network called "Brightspot." Running on the T-Mobile network — including LTE access — Brightspot offers a variety of inexpensive feature and smart phones for purchase as well as a BYOD SIM kit program. Here's how the plans break down — you can pay $35 per month for unlimited talk and text with no data (for a feature phone) or $50 per month for unlimited talk and text, 1GB of 4G data (throttled thereafter).

Target is also planning to reward loyal customers by giving you a $25 gift card for every 6 months that you refill your service with Brightspot. The gift card can be applied to any purchase at Target, not just future phone service. Folks with a Target REDcard will receive 5 percent off purchases of Brightspot refills as well, just like any other purchase at the store. The service will be available starting October 6th.

It may not make sense to many why Target would want to get in on the cell phone MVNO game, but taking into consideration what Walmart has done in terms of its Walmart Family Mobile and Straight Talk brands you can see why Target would want to get in on the competition.

Not to mention the fact that its loyalty program will keep more people coming back into Target stores every month — presumably buying other things along with their monthly phone refill. Whether it turns out to gain much traction and market share or not, it's great to see another prepaid carrier player in the US.

Source: Target


Reader comments

Target unveils 'Brightspot' prepaid service running on the T-Mobile network


If you're going to go prepaid with T-Mobile, it makes the most sense to just go straight through them.

$35 per month, for Unlimited talk and text, with no data? No thanks. I'm switching back to the $30 plan: it's the best value, if you're in an excellent T-Mobile coverage area.

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^this! the 30$ plan for a smart phone is a good plan it would be sorta of dumb if someone who has the 30$ to switch to the 50$ dollar plan

While I know the $30 plan has lots of converts, it doesn't work for everyone.
Some people still need a cell minutes and don't want to bother with crappy voip apps.
Yes I've tried them all and they all have too many issues for my and many people's tastes.

Then you switch to Solavei, and get unlimited everything w/ 5GB data. I have $30 T-mobile plan (even if I occasionally use more than 100 mins it's only 10 cents per min), my lady has the $50 Solavei plan as she uses a lot of mins. Both getting great LTE signals/speeds on our N4s : ) F*ck you Verizon! LOL.

But just 1gb high speed data is ridiculous. They should at least have a higher option

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We actually have a $65 plan as well with 4gb of 4g...overall the $50 plan is 500mb more than what walmart and regular t-mobile store will give you so.

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Pretty sure this is false. Target offers 1gb for $50. StraightTalk offer 2.5gb for $45. Last I looked 2.5 was more than 1 and 45 was less than 50.

Your right but straight talk throttles you whenever they feel is convenient. Plus you don't get the perks that target will give you.

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I don't think they will anymore now that they're actually officially clarifying and putting on their website that it's 2.5GB. Before this, they never actually said how much data you get so they could get away with being arbitrary about it. They can't really do that anymore since there's a hard number attached to the plan.

Great point. Now that straight talk tells you that throttling starts at 2.5 more people can actually calculate if it works. If this plan works for you, you can bring an lte at&t phone with the straight talk lte sim card your golden. Great coverage, fast speeds and no contract? That to me is better than the target plan. Only plus I see with target is if you have tmobile coverage where you use your phone and only use 1gb data or don't mind the slower speed than the $25 gc is a good feature. Other than that it is an "ok" plan. Not great.

My mother, my sister, and my wife all are happy with their $50 500 mb plan. Not everyone needs that much data.

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My lady was the same way until she "finally" started using her Nexus 4 as a smartphone. Pretty sure she hit 500mb on the $50 Tmobile plan streaming Pandora in one day going to work lol. So, got a free Solavei sim from ac member runtmms, spent 10 mins porting her over on the computer, and now she has the same bill, same service, but now 5GB of data. Worth looking into if you're happy with Tmobile's service.

That's weird. My sprint phone loses signal completely in target but my wifes tmobile phone still connects. It may not be as good as outside but I still get 4g with tmobile. At least target has good wifi service in most of their stores.

There are better buys out there but with the promos it is not a bad deal. I can see the merit in a plan like this being offered by Target. They will market to in-store shoppers and if there is a way to activate and pay your bill in store many customers will appreciate the ease, support and convenience of doing it all at a familiar place. The increased competition in the marketplace hopefully will lead to more prepaid options and lower prices for everybody.

Yes, it will appeal to the ignorant folks who:

1. Are still scared of putting their credit card information online to autopay.
2. Don't know what a GB is and/or how it relates to what they do with their phone.

I had ST for about 5 months and didn't step foot in Wal-Mart once for it. My father has had it for about a year and hasn't stepped foot in Wally World for a fill up card either.

T-mo's $30 prepay has no data roaming. Their old contract plans did through at&t. Now that T-Mo is "contract less" I dunno how their new plans work.
But I would guess no data roaming on this.

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T-Mobile has the worst coverage (by far) of the big four. Having no roaming with that would be unacceptable to a LOT of people.

The issue is I think most people don't realize it until they have problems, because it is not like these prepaid plans come forward and actually clearly tell customers they will have no roaming. It is usually just fine-print crap.

Patently false. Tmobile does not have the worst coverage "by far". They have excellent coverage in most populated areas. Yeah, on a farm you might get 2g, but most places around the country where there are more people than cows, the coverage is excellent. Now Sprint on the other hand, horrible!

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^^^Many times this! I travel for business and had Verizon. I still travel for business and have Tmobile. Abosutley no regrets after making the switch. Have never had any real signal issues even in the boonies. Well. that's boonies as in a hundred or so miles from a metropolitan area. If you're a mountain man in Montana, YMMV heavily.

I would rather go with GoSmart for $30/unlimited talk and text, which is owned by T-Mobile, you don't get rather gift card but you save real money. Or if you have a lte compatible phone step up another $5 and go with MetroPCS, also owned by T-Mobile, sure it's only 500mb before throttle, but atleast it's lte speed. I guess T-Mobile seem to covered the whole price range.

Why does everyone bring up the roaming thing? Our phones take FOREVER to go into roaming mode. By the time they drop signal, can't reestablish, then roam and pick up the competitor's signal if at all, you're back in network or have no signal at all. I can count on 1 hand the number of times over 10 years and almost as many phones, I've placed a call while roaming and I find myself in areas about once every 2months I could use such a feature only to never get a signal. Ive been on ATT, tmob and Sprint over those years.

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Everyone has different needs when it comes to a cell phone. I use a lot of minutes talking. I have switched from T-Mobile prepaid to BrightSpot 2 days ago. I had 1500 min. talk and text combined and 30mb of data with TM for $30. I am in the Tampa Bay area of Florida where T-Mobile is very strong and have never had problems in 14 years with the service. With BrightSpot which is T-Mobile powered, I get a super friendly Target store 2 minutes from my house with a black shirt mobile phone employee that has forgot more about smart phones than I know, $50 per month for unlimited, 34 times more data at 4G (with 4G LTE capable) than with TM, a $25 gift card every 6 months, and 5% off of every refill purchase and did not have to buy a new phone. I bought the SIM for $10 and it works perfectly in my NOT unlocked TM LG L9 and Nokia 521. It should work in any TM powered phone including Walmart Family Mobile without unlocking. Worst case scenario is to change the APN settings. I did nothing to mine. It just slid in and cranked off. The reps and the employees will typically not tell you this. They had told me that it would not work if not unlocked. I was their guinea pig. So far I am very happy with this service and have recommended it to my friends.

Do not purchase this product. After waiting 5 hours for my account to activate, I was told by 3 supervisors that brightspot does not "refund, transfer or credit paid accounts". What?? No customer service? The answer is sadly, no. Do not throw your honest money away on dishonest service.

Brightspot's $25 6-month loyalty program is a fraud. I reached the 6-month mark over 4-months ago. After 10 total payments, 3 phone calls and sending emails, they still have not sent the $25 gift card. I keep hearing "the cards in the mail". Funny how the day our bill is due, the phone service gets "cut off" if not paid. But these people can owe for over 4-months without paying and that's ok. Fraud, fraud, fraud.

Target's Brightspot seemed like a good deal. I have used T Mobile service in the past and found it satisfactory. Activating an account, however, is a pain in the arse. Tech support requires long hold times (in my case, 40 minutes) and then the tech support agents didn't have a clue as to what I was talking about. Unlike Tracfone which has always been a walk in the park. All in all, it has been a big disappointment up to this point. Target really needs to get their act together!

Brightspot is the worst service that I have ever received in a phone plan. They double charged my account and refused to refund the second charge. Technically stealing money from me. The coverage is spotty and the phone that I got with the service is slower than anything I have had before. Shame on Target for allowing such poor service, Target's insight on technology has become weak and blind to the common people.