MVNOs, or mobile virtual network operators, aren’t anything new. They’ve been around for quite some time now. They are a strange thing, though, in that they can pop up unexpectedly, without any kind of warning, and disappear in the same fashion. Some make a bang, and others barely resonate even a whisper. Some come, but most go. So, which way will the newest member of the MVNO line-up end up?

If you didn’t hear, GameStop is the newest addition. Yep. GameStop Mobile is a real thing. I know, I know, it’s pretty unbelievable, right? It really did come out of nowhere, and maybe that’s a good thing. Either way, GameStop has now entered into the cellular arena, and they’re bringing the “bring-your-own-device” strategy along for the ride.

It works like this: you have a GSM-based, unlocked device, or even an unlocked AT&T handset, and you buy a GameStop Mobile SIM card. Boom. You’re up and running. You’ll have to pick a plan, of course, but they’re all pre-paid. The plans start at $35 a month, and that nets you unlimited talk and text. However, you’ll still have to pay 30 cents for every megabyte of data you use.

The top of the line is $55 per month, and that gives you the same unlimited talk and text options, while bumping your data allowance to 500MB per month. You won’t ever see 1GB of data per month unless you’ve got yourself a data-only device, and you’re willing to drop $55 per month.

Basically, this is where the problem with GameStop Mobile is. It’s right there in the options. While there aren’t many, the sheer fact that the options you do have aren’t all that great speak volumes. Right now, one of the most popular MVNOs is Boost Mobile, and they’ve got plans that start at $50 per month, and offer unlimited talk, text, web, IM and email, along with 411 calls.

As for anything that has options, the only time it matters is when the options are good enough to actually compete. I would imagine that GameStop Mobile believes that their “bring-your-own-device” strategy is one of the things that will attract people to it, but that just doesn’t make much sense to me. After all, even if you bring your own device, you still had to pay for it at some point. Unless it was a gift, of course.

As a new customer, though, you’ll still have to get a phone. The most expensive smartphone under Boost Mobile’s banner is the LG Marquee, and it would run a new customer a total of $249.99. If you wanted to bring over a Lumia 900 by Nokia from AT&T? That’d be $449.99 without a contract. Or, how about the much-desired Galaxy Note by Samsung? $599.99.

It’s great that GameStop believes they have some room to enter into the cellular arena. Honestly, I don’t think anyone can fault GameStop for giving it a shot. But, I can’t sit here and say that I think they’re giving it 100 percent. What is the point of offering up a new service, if the new service doesn’t have competitive prices/features to what’s already out there? So your MVNO runs on the AT&T network? That’s probably fine for some people out there, but I still don’t think that’s enough to warrant a tidal wave of new customers.

As Alex pointed out in the original news article, it will be interesting to see if these plans and features will be worthwhile enough for GameStop Mobile to last.

What do you think? Is GameStop Mobile going to be competitive at all? Will it last even a year? Or has it failed before it even gets off the ground? Let me know what you think.


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Comments & discussions  

15 Reactions to this post

"Do small start-up operators like Gamestop Mobile stand a chance against the big four?"

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Corey Hockett
Corey Hockett Just go to Costco
Max Chesley
Max Chesley oh gamestop. Can not wait for the wopping $5 off a new phone price. Well, i guess lets wait and see how many people they can completly screw over before customers relize that gamestop is a horrible company
Carlo Rosa
Carlo Rosa GameStop might go over 'cause of gift cards & youngsters.
Jaime Andrade
Jaime Andrade If it gets the gamers going. Do you understand how BIG that population is across the world. Gamers are All over the world. And then some...
Brian Walden
Brian Walden For a MVNO it's all about price. So yes, it's possible at the right price.
Josh Veerkamp
Josh Veerkamp There's really no competition between an MVNO and their parent network, because the parent gets the money either way. So, yes. I think they will be just fine. It's all a matter of if the return for GameStop is worth the time and money put into it.
William Priest
William Priest I think they would do much better if they did a flat rate unlimited everything kinda like straight talk even if they charged a Lil more and gave points for airtime they would be more successful but at there current prices I don't see it happening
Cheo Cardona
Cheo Cardona A big NO..cause for one here in NYC if you want pre-paid but want at&t Internet speeds plus unlimited talk text then you go with red pocket mobile or you could choose the shitty H20 but limited to 256mb and 1GB Internet speeds for Dumb ass prices..simple mobile and boost mobile are the best ones here in new York you get unlimited talk text and web for like $40-$50 bucks a month. What this GameStop is offering is total crap in terms of service with the Internet on the side. This is like a take it or leave it situation in which I'll gladly say leave it, I'm better off with simple mobile and plus simple mobile has support for AT&T unlocked blackberries while h20 and red pocket mobile don't. Something to consider for you blackberry fans
Adam Scherzer
Adam Scherzer The fact that it runs on the evil Deathstar ATT, has crappy data plans and isn't competitive isn't going to stray me away from T-Mobile. I doubt even hardcore gamers can keep it going for a year.
Brian Fuller
Brian Fuller Lower the price of data and i think so> Gamestop can tie it into game rewards or promotions lol
Anthony V Cannata
Anthony V Cannata Epic Fail!
Jose Be Julme
Jose Be Julme No.
Jay Lazaro
Jay Lazaro no
Roger Schubert DeOliveira
Roger Schubert DeOliveira not a chance
Anthony Evans Jr
Anthony Evans Jr I give it 6 months

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