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Prepaid Wireless Tracker, May 2011 - Sprint Finally Eliminates Common Cents Prepaid Brand!
May 01, 2011

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - May 2011 Issue


Prepaid wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry.  At Prepaid Wireless Guide I try to provide you with in-depth information that isn't readily available anywhere else.  Its content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in the prepaid wireless industry.

This monthly email provides you with a quick glance at what's in the news so that you can easily keep informed.  I believe in brief, to-the-point summaries/commentary so that you can move onto other tasks in your day.  Each snippet includes a link to the original story should you be interested in the full details.

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Boost Introduces Its First CDMA Android Smartphone
PC Magazine
The Samsung Galaxy Prevail is a low end version of the Galaxy Android series with a 3.2” touchscreen, 2.0 megapixel camera at $179.99.  There’s no mention of the processor speed.  I would like to get my hands on one for a review, but in the meantime, it is good to see Boost’s CDMA line finally get a respectable smartphone in its lineup.

Ready Wireless Announces Lifeline Reload Plans
CSP Daily News
Lifeline offers free wireless service to qualifying households.  Although the plan offers monthly free minutes, customers are often in need of adding additional funds prior to receiving their next month’s allocation, or to purchase additional services.  The Lifeline reload brand will enable retailers to offer one consistent topup card that will be compatible with numerous Lifeline programs.  This approach will not only help customers, but also provide retailers with a space-conscious opportunity for sales of reloads for Lifeline programs.  I will be adding a new page to describe this program in further detail, so stay tuned!

Boost Mobile Scores Highest Among No-Contract Phone Owners
Winning for the cost of service category seems somewhat odd.  Perhaps it is a matter of perception rather than reality, for while some prepaid carriers still charge reload fees, many do not, and offer similar or better pricing than Boost.  Regardless, it is an interesting study to review!

Sprint Discontinues Common Cents Mobile Prepaid Brand
All I can say about the elimination of the Common Cents brand is the cliche line that it never really made any sense in the first place.  Sprint’s brand strategy following the acquisition of Virgin Mobile USA was just short of absurd, and remains questionable.  Eliminating this brand was a wise choice.  It is still unclear as to whether or not the plan will remain as an available plan for new customers under Virgin, though I believe it is being discontinued altogether.  Only existing customers on the plan will be able to keep it until they make a change to their account.

US Cellular Launches Prepaid Android Phones
Having a prepaid smartphone portfolio is no longer considered innovative, but rather is a necessity to stay in the game.  US Cellular is not too late though, and they are launching with a couple of reasonably nice handsets with the LG Optimus U, and the LG Apex Android smartphones for $199.99 and $249.99, respectively.

Prepaid Wireless Telecom Revenues to Reach $25.3 Billion by 2015
I will let you read the figures for yourself, but suffice it to say that no one, and no carrier will now be able to say that prepaid wireless is not a formidable force in the wireless industry.  I have been saying this for years, and finally there is absolutely no room to debate it!

AT&T Sells First Prepaid Android Smartphone
Despite its GoPhone prepaid brand, AT&T dismissed prepaid for so long by not offering any real compelling handsets or plans.  However, it is 2011 and it can no longer sit on the sidelines.  Along with a revision to its prepaid plan pricing, it now offers the 3.2” touchscreen LG Thrive Android smartphone for $179.99.  It looks extremely similar to the LG Optimus line, but a reasonably nice handset nonetheless.

Public Mobile's Network Service Expands to Markham (press release)
For our Canadian readers, following Public Mobile’s expansion is likely to be of interest, due to its $15/month unlimited talk plan.  This is the lowest pricing available in the country, which is likely to draw increasing attention.

Leap Won't Exactly Leap to LTE
This article describes that while Cricket will launch 4G LTE in the second half of this year, they will not launch any meaningful products until 2012.  It rationalizes this approach by saying that customers are so excited about its current 3G smartphone offerings that it has no real need for 4G at the moment.  The question is whether this is an excuse for an inability to execute, or truly a strategy to keep operational costs low.

AT&T Cuts Data Rates To $500 Per Gigabyte
I love the title of this article!  The bottom line is that although AT&T has reduced its prepaid data plan pricing, it is still insanely high.  So while AT&T can no longer ignore the prepaid market, it is certainly still not seeking to be innovative or aggressive.  Unless you really like AT&T for some reason (?), it would be very curious to see new customers flocking to AT&T due to these changes. 

Clearwire to Launch Prepaid 4G Wireless Broadband
Chicago Tribune
After announcing that it will no longer aggressively pursue its own prepaid broadband brand, Clear announced a wholesale agreement with Locus Communication to offer prepaid 4G broadband.  It will be interesting to see what pricing it will launch with, as well as its distribution model.  Clear is desperately trying to avoid bankruptcy, so hopefully this agreement will help.

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