Cingular Gives GoPhone Another Try

NEW YORK Making a bigger play for the prepaid market, Cingular Wireless will re-introduce GoPhone, a legacy product from AT&T Wireless, with a new TV and print campaign this week.

New ads, via Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York and Atlanta, break during Fox’s American Idol. The work will outline the two GoPhone choices: Pay as You Go or Pick Your Plan. The latter offers services starting at $29.99 a month.

AT&T Wireless launched GoPhone in 2003, but at the time, the program only worked with one phone. Now, there’s a choice of three phones and a feature via which users get a text message reminding them of their account balance immediately after a call has ended.

The effort comes as the industry continues to seek untapped niches. About 60 percent of the public has a cell phone, and of the 183 million wireless subscriptions in the U.S. last year, about 15 million (8 percent) were pre-paid, per International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

“Moving forward, [pre-paid] will become an increasingly important part of that mix,” said Lewis Ward, an analyst with IDC. Ward said a portion of the population finds pre-paid appealing because they’re credit challenged or mentally resistant to the idea of an extended service plan.