Alcatel's latest $150 Onetouch Pop Astro smartphone is now available from T-Mobile, featuring a 4.5-inch qHD display, a 5MP camera, 4G LTE speeds and a 24-month payment plan that lets buyers pay only $6.24 per month to get one.
The Onetouch Pop Astro also includes a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of memory, a 0.3MP front camera, WiFi calling capabilities and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. The smartphone runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and can handle a wide range of Android apps and services for users.
Low-priced smartphones typically don't also include payment plans for buyers, which makes this one even more attractive for customers who can't lay out the cash all at once for their new devices.
The Alcatel Onetouch Pop Astro is 5.26 inches long, 2.57 inches wide and 0.39 inches in thickness. It weighs 5.11 ounces. The phone also includes 4GB of on-board storage for music, photos and more, as well as battery life of about 11 hours for talking.
Customers can get their Onetouch Pop Astro on one of several T-Mobile Simple Choice calling plans, all of which include unlimited talk and text, WiFi calling and no domestic overage charges on data plans. Customers on T-Mobile plans also can roll their unused data over each month for up to 12 months so they can use the data they have paid for, according to T-Mobile. Customers who activate a new phone also get a free one-time 10GB data stash to use as well.
A T-Mobile Simple Choice plan with 1GB of data is $50 per month, while a plan with 3GB of data is $60 per month. Service with a 5GB data plan is $70 per month while a plan with unlimited data is $80 per month. Taxes and fees are additional for all plans.
T-Mobile just added 1.8 million new contract customers in the first quarter of 2015, giving it a total of 56.8 million customers, which surpasses the 55.9 million customers reported by Sprint back in February, according to a recent eWEEK report. That means that right now T-Mobile apparently is in sole possession of third place in the U.S. mobile market among the big four carriers when ranked by contract customer numbers, a category in which Verizon Wireless and AT&T, respectively, lead.
For T-Mobile and Sprint, which have been fighting for market share behind Verizon and AT&T for a long time, the rivalry has increased in recent months as T-Mobile CEO John Legere has often boasted about how his company has or would soon surpass Sprint to take over the No. 3 spot. Legere made such comments during a recent earnings call and at a press event in New York in March.
Yet while the momentum in the customer race may have swung to T-Mobile for now, that could all change again on May 5 when Sprint unveils its fourth-quarter 2014 financial results and also announces how many new customers it has gained since February.
T-Mobile recently reported mixed financial results for the first quarter of 2015, with a 13.1 percent revenue increase to $7.78 billion, but a loss of $63 million compared with the same quarter one year ago. At the same time, the company reduced its customer churn rate to a T-Mobile record low rate of 1.3 percent. The April 28 earnings announcement was a bit of a contrast to the company's fourth-quarter 2014 earnings results that were announced in February, when T-Mobile raked in a profit of $101 million and fourth-quarter revenue of $8.15 billion.
Through the start of 2015, T-Mobile continues to introduce innovations to attract new customers and expand its business. In March, the company began offering new mobile services targeted directly at small and midsize businesses to bring them into T-Mobile's ecosystem. Under its "Un-carrier for Business," or Un-Carrier 9.0, offering, the company is selling mobile services for $16 per line per month for up to 19 lines of service, with each one including 1GB of high-speed data. Pricing for 20 to 999 lines is $15 per line per month, including 1GB of high-speed data per line, while pricing for 1,000 lines or more is $10 per line per month.
At the same time, T-Mobile unveiled a program aimed at consumers, starting with guaranteed rates forever and payments of up to $650 per line to buy out a new customer's existing smartphone payment plan from either Verizon Wireless or AT&T. The offers aim to help the company bring in new customers and keep them with T-Mobile for the long haul.
In the last two years, T-Mobile has unveiled a series of what it calls "Un-carrier" events that have ended mobile contracts for consumers, removed overage charges, created rollover data capabilities and more.