America’s wireless market is strange. I say this as someone who used to live in America, but now lives in Europe. For reasons I don’t quite understand, you folks in America pay the same amount of money per month if you buy a phone either with a contract or without one. Here in Europe, you can get just about any phone you want for free, but you have to pay more per month. On the flip side, you can pay the full price for you phone upfront, but then you’re left with a drastically cheaper monthly bill. Phone contracts are, in simplest terms, a loan that’s given to you by an operator.
Prepaid is another thing I don’t quite get. America doesn’t really have “prepaid”, at least how I recognize the prepaid business model. In Europe, you put money on a SIM card, and then you use it until it runs out. In America, you pay a bill every month, regardless of your usage. Stop paying your bill and you stop getting service. That’s just strange to me, but whatever, I know I can’t change the way things work over there.
All that background information brings us to today’s news. T-Mobile has just announced that they’re taking their “GoSmart” prepaid brand nationwide. For $30 per month you get unlimited talk and text. Add $5 and you get unlimited EDGE. Add another $10 on top of that ($45 total) and you get unlimited EDGE and 5 GB of 3G data. You have to bring your own phone to their network, of course.
Should you sign up? Ehhh, sorry to say this, but T-Mobile’s network isn’t as good as AT&T’s network. You can get a prepaid SIM that uses AT&T’s network from Straight Talk. They charge the same $45 per month for unlimited everything. I have several friends back home in Texas who swear by the service, so I have no problem recommending it to you guys.