December 25, 2013
T-Mobile Offers Facebook Access To GoSmart Prepay Customers
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
T-Mobile is making friends with customers with its GoSmart Mobile prepaid wireless plans. That is, the company is offering free unlimited access to Facebook for customers with smartphones and feature phones that don't have data on their plan.
The offering eases withdrawal from Facebook each month after the data allotment on a GoSmart prepaid plan runs out.
"Have you ever been notified that you've blown through your wireless data plan limits and can't connect with friends and family on Facebook over your phone?" T-Mobile asks, in a corporate statement.
The move makes T-Mobile the first wireless provider in the US to offer free access to Facebook and Facebook messenger for all wireless customers, including customers who do not have wireless data services.
"Once again, T-Mobile is shaking up the wireless industry by offering unlimited Facebook for GoSmart customers with no strings attached," said Doug Chartier, senior vice president of T-Mobile's GoSmart Mobile brand. "Customers love GoSmart because it's one of the simplest and most budget-friendly no annual contract options in wireless. The deal just got a whole lot sweeter."
If Facebook access is truly unlimited, it means wireless data allotments each month can also be stretched farther. Access to Facebook won't count toward data, therefore it frees up data to visit other websites or use data-consuming apps.
"Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected, and we're delighted that GoSmart subscribers, many who don't have data access, will be able to use Facebook for free," said Chris Daniels, vice president of partnerships at Facebook, in a T-mobile corporate statement.
The announcement comes in advance of T-Mobile's next "Un-carrier" announcement, expected on January 8 at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The GoSmart plan offers two ways for users to access Facebook, reports SlashGear. Users can log on from a browser or use a Facebook application to access the social network to check their News Feed, post updates and see what their friends are up to. Users can access Facebook Messenger using the same two methods.
"Supposing you use Facebook Messenger for all your communication needs and Facebook for all your photo and video sharing - and nothing else - you’ve got a big potential for no data cost at all," according to Slashgear's Chris Burns.
GoSmart plans start at $25 per month for unlimited talk, and $30 per month for unlimited talk and text. A plan that includes unlimited talk, text, and 5GB high-speed (3G) data costs $45 per month. A GoSmart Mobile SIM kit needs to be purchased for $8 to get the GoSmart plan up and rolling on a GSM compatible handset.
The terms of the deal between T-Mobile and Facebook were not disclosed. However a source quoted by the Wall Street Journal says Facebook isn't covering the cost of the data, but is likely sharing marketing and promotional costs with the wireless carrier. This is how previous deals have been structured.
Access to Facebook might be the bait to sell consumers on data plans. "For T-Mobile, the effort could give customers who haven't been consuming data a taste of the service and potentially put them on the path to buying more mainstream access," the Wall street Journal's Thomas Gryta and Reed Albergotti wrote.