T-Mobile Debuts Pre-Pay Android Handset


t-mobile-pulseWhen the first Android (s goog) handset debuted last year, I never gave a thought to the pay-as-you-go market. Here in the U.S., we tend to see feature phones fit the pre-pay model, not the latest and greatest smartphones. But pre-pay here doesn’t necessarily equate pre-pay in other corners of the globe. T-Mobile is proving that maxim with the introduction of a pay-as-you-go Google Android handset.

The T-Mobile Pulse is made by Huawei and will retail for 179.99 pounds ($294.32) when it debuts in the UK and seven other European nations next month. SlashGear says that like the new HTC Hero, the number of usable screen panes will double from three to six. A navigational trackball, 3.2-megapixel camera, a 3.5″ 320×480 touchscreen, included 2GB microSD card, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and support for 7.2Mbps HSDPA/2Mbps HSUPA throughput round out the basic specs.

To our friends in the EU: How does this deal stack up against current contract offerings with T-Mobile for an Android handset? Is it appealing enough to make you grab a T-Mobile Pulse for your mobile arsenal?



I have an unlocked iPhone (legally unlocked after immediately quitting contract for around 450 Euros) that i use with an O2 prepaid plan. Unlimited data is 6 Euro per month for 3G speed and decent coverage. Other fixed monthly costs are 0 (zero). Most of my calling are international, and almost all providers in Europe have the same international rate (max allowed by EU) for all plans (pre-paid or contract), so it really makes sense for me to use a pre-paid solution. If I stay abroad for longer times I buy a local SIM card so I can receive calls for free, and pay local charges for local calls.

Chris Davies

The cost is certainly less than you’d pay for a SIM-free HTC Android handset, and the bigger screen is interesting. If you went for a free HTC Hero (which T-Mo UK call the G2 Touch) on contract then you’d need to sign up to a £35 ($57) per month agreement for 18 months, though that does get you 800 minutes each month together with unlimited SMS and data (with a “fair use” policy, naturally). If, though, you’re willing to pay a fair chunk for the phone outright you can get a £20 ($33) tariff with 100 minutes, unlimited SMS/data and pay £166.37 ($273) for the Hero.

As for pre-pay data, T-Mobile UK offer two options: there’s a £2.50 ($4) five-day e-voucher which gets you up to 40MB per day, or you can just use it as-and-when you like and be charged per MB, up to £1 (just under $2) each day, again for up to 40MB “fair use”.

Considering the pre-pay cost of data alone is going to be around £15 for the month if you do the 5-day voucher, that doesn’t leave much for SMS and voice calls compared to the contract. I guess it depends whether you want a contract, make many voice calls/send many messages, or have such bad credit that you couldn’t sign up to an 18-month deal in the first place.

Graham Thomas

T-Mobile do offer two other pay-as-you-go (prepay) data plans in the form of boosters which you pay for using your available credit. It’s £5 for 30 days access or £20 for 180 days access – again you’re limited to 40Mb a day but for £40 a year it’s pretty hard to find fault.


The real interesting question is: do they also offer a pay-as-you go data plan that’s affordable? When I took my Google ION to Germany earlier this year, I couldn’t find a prepaid data plan… (except Vodafone with a 4 Euro/day plan that offers unlimited data).


I would buy one if available in the U.S. I already own a T-Mobile Pre-pay dumbphone just for an emergency backup in my car.

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