TracFone Wraps Simple Mobile Buy, Can Now Offer 4G, BlackBerry Services

By Josh Long Comments

TracFone Wireless on Tuesday revealed completing its purchase of Simple Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that relies on T-Mobile USA's network.  

TracFone, a prepaid provider and subsidiary of the Latin American wireless giant America Movil S.A.B. de C.V., will continue to provide service to Simple Mobile's customer base, which totals more than 1 million customers.

Simple Mobile has added more customers than Leap Wireless since it began operations two years ago, according to BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk in a research note last month.

Simple Mobile operates a business in which customers buy their own phone and activate it with a SIM card.

"The lack of any handset subsidy and inventory management enable the operator to offer very competitive rate plans and the customer has access to a much wider selection of handsets," Piecyk wrote, commenting on SIM-only offerings. 

Through the acquisition of Simple Mobile – another wireless provider that offers service without a contract – Miami, Fla.-based TracFone said it can now can offer 4G, mobile broadband and BlackBerry services. To provide 4G services, Simple Mobile relies on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network.

On May 10, America Movil announced an agreement to purchase Simple Mobile. Piecyk said T-Mobile owned 30 percent of Simple Mobile.

TracFone serves about 19.3 million subscribers, according to its website.  Its best-known brand, Straight Talk, is offered exclusively at Walmart.

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