T-Mobile's "Project Dark" a Threat to Prepaid Providers


gtmo_12061_158079_v3T-Mobile USA has seen its growth stall and its ARPU slide in recent months as cut-rate discount service providers poach budget-conscious customers, and as AT&T (s t) and Verizon Wireless target high-end users. So the nation’s fourth-largest carrier is taking aim at both segments at we enter the holiday season with new calling plans and two new Android phones. But it’s the prepaid guys who have the most to fear.

“Even More Plus” plans, which don’t require a contract, include an unlimited-everything option for $80 a month and a voice-only unlimited plan for $50 a month. And while T-Mobile doesn’t offer subsidized handsets with the new no-contract plans, it does allow users to pay for expensive phones over a 20-month period without interest; users who already have a handset can also take advantage without additional fees. A number of traditional contract plans are offered, too, under the “Even More” category.

The prepaid plans, which were announced yesterday, had been rumored for weeks as the centerpiece of T-Mobile’s “Project Dark” initiative, and the carrier is clearly taking aim at its bigger brothers by marketing the offerings on its web site as “1/2 the price of comparable AT&T or Verizon plans.” But it’s the smaller, prepaid-only providers that could be feeling nervous about the new plans. T-Mobile hasn’t matched the rock-bottom plans of bargain-basement providers like TracFone Wireless, but it does operate a truly national network and it offers a more compelling lineup of handsets than most prepaid competitors. For prepaid users looking for more than just voice and text messaging, “Even More Plus” will be pretty attractive.



On the flipside of what Rachel from Boostmobile says, Boostmobile phones are not even close to what Tmobile offers in terms of variety. If you want a good top of the line phone from Boost you will pay out the wazzou! Tmobile offers better phone selections at cheaper prices. So really, the entire $50 dollar per month theme is actually not a good as it sounds.

Rachel Gross

Hey everyone, Rachel from Boost Mobile here again. I just wanted to point out that while Martina has a point that technically the cost looks like less than Boost Mobile, when you factor in the telecom tax the Straight Talk customer will actually have to pay more. Plus, when you consider the limited distribution (Wal-Mart only) it is easy to see that Boost Mobile is an overall better choice with 20,000 retail stores nationwide. Plus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Martina is actually a Straight Talk employee, at least I come out and say who I work for.

Corey Anders

Wal-Mart is “limited distribution”? LOL!

Regardless, it’s easily available online too.

Also Boost is on Sprint’s lesser network, as I understand it, and Straight Talk is on Verizon.


Hi Rachel: I would come back to Boost in a heartbeat if you could guarrantee that your text message issues have been fixed.


Project Dark is still in the DARK! If this economic downturn has any silver lining it’s that consumers have gotten a lot better at sniffing out true value. So far, T-Mobile’s not truly competing, and their offer falls way short of Boost Mobile, as Rachel pointed out and particularly StraighTalk, offered by Walmart. Here’s why, StraighTalk will give you unlimited text, talk and data for $45 a month, for a $60 yearly savings over Boost. And they can better that with their $30 – 3000 minute monthly plan, if your cell phone’s not your life and you use it more infrequently. Now, True T-Mobile’s a real network. But Verizon’s an even better network, and it sublets its services to StraighTalk so that if you look at any map, you’ll find coverage coast to coast. And it’s not just me, a happy customer saying that, Consumer Reports, the holy grail of all endorsing organizations has rated Verizon/StraighTalk best cell phone coverage across the board. Now, if you’re on vacation, or anticipate not having to use your cell, you can simply stop usage for whatever amount of time and not pay. That’s the beauty of NO CONTRACT. You pay as you, and if you go StraighTalk, your money’s gonna go way longer. The same service for an iron-clad 2 year Verizon contract will cost you twice if not three times the StraighTalk value. I know. Been there, done that.


i have got a samsung tocco lite ( black ) >< + when i bought it the man said that if i topped up £10 month, and i usually top up £10 a month so it would work out great :D but i dont know how to get it :( please help me + send an email to my email – pdcogle@hotmail.co.uk please please please please please help ;D

Corey Anders

T-Mobile? LOL? I dumped them for Straight Talk. They are so much better. Great coverage, good phones and low bills.

I wouldn’t wish T-Mob on my worst enemy. Meh


Let’s be a little careful when throwing terms like “unlimited-everything” about. If you actually read what T-Mobile is offering in terms of data is “unlimited web” which T-mobile defines as two people communicating. When it comes to data, T-Mobile’s Project Dark is far from unlimited.

Trudy Hein

I bought a Straight Talk phone and it’s great, I got the unlimited everything for $45/month and I’m really glad I did. The reason it’s better than the other prepaid unlimited offers is because it runs on Verizon’s network which is known to be the best network and it’s nationwide so I don’t have to pay extra for roaming or long distance because it’s all included.

Rachel Gross

Hey, this is Rachel from Boost Mobile, I just wanted to say that Boost Mobile is not worried. T-Mobile’s “Even More Plus” prepaid offer still costs nearly $30 a month more for the same service someone would get with Boost’s $50 Monthly Unlimited plan – which includes unlimited talk, text and Web. Plus, Boost Mobile doesn’t nickel and dime its customers with extra fees or telecom taxes and customers can take advantage of true nationwide coverage which reaches more than 274 million people in over 17,500 cities throughout the U.S. And unilke other no-contract providers, Boost Mobile is different. In September, we unveiled our first push-to-talk slider phone, the Motorola Debutâ„¢ i856. We also offer the high-end Motorola Stature i9 and i465 Clutch, Boost Mobile’s first handset to feature a full QWERTY keyboard.



Can we use our own phones with Boost Mobile, I have gd900 by LG and I am using now with t-mobile prepay mostly for text, which costs me one dollar per day.



Rachel Gross

Hey Surindra – Only a Boost Mobile SIM will work on the Boost Mobile network. You can use a Boost SIM in either a Boost Mobile handset or most Nextel phones, but there can be some limitations. Any other phone would not be compatible with the technology.


Boost still compares unfavorably to Straight Talk (which runs off the Verizon network) and is $5 cheaper for unlimited everything. I have used both services and found Straight Talk a much better option.

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