Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- June 2012 Issue #48
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
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information that isn't readily available anywhere else. Its
content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in
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This monthly email provides you
with a quick glance at what's in the news so that you can easily keep
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so that you can move onto other tasks in your day. Each
includes a link to the original story should you be interested in the
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Cricket Communications First U.S. Prepaid
Carrier To Offer Apple iPhone
June 22nd, customers can purchase an iPhone 4 or 4S for $399 and $499,
respectively, on a $55 per month unlimited plan. There have
always been ways to get iPhones on prepaid plans, however, that
requires some savvy, and some features often wouldn't work (like
data!). This official offer changes the game for prepaid
carriers forever. I expect that the high price tag will
certainly be a barrier for many, however, with the low monthly cost
compared to contract plans, customers ultimately get a better deal
spending more upfront for a no contract plan. Of course, here
in America, we often think mostly about the short term (i.e. upfront)
costs; nonetheless, this is just the beginning. Hopefully
Cricket will be able to do a fast follow with the iPhone 5 once it
becomes available, or customers will flock to used iPhone 4s and
activate them on Simple Mobile now that T-Mobile is going to enable
access to its high speed 4G network for iPhone users later this year.
Lastly, don't expect Sprint to follow too quickly here as
their management is too terrified to cannibalize its postpaid business.
Sprint would have otherwise been the most logical carrier to
be the first to launch the iPhone on its no contract Virgin and/or
Boost brands. Hopefully the economics of the deal are
sufficient for Cricket to grow a successful iPhone business, and to
continue to lower prices, as well as access newer models before they
T-Mobile MVNO Simple
Mobile Acquired by TracFone
Mobile is a Bring Your Own Device MVNO that sells SIM cards and service
only. They've been growing quite successfully, and would
faster if more people were aware of its benefits. TracFone
acquired it to gain access to its growing distribution, as well as its
growing iPhone base. I think they probably picked it up for a
as Simple hasn't quite reached critical mass yet. I would
to see it grow more before being gobbled up. Perhaps cash
flow was an
issue and the founders figured this was a good time to take a bunch of
cash and run before the inevitable business complexities challenge its
Wireless Subscribers See A Decline
been reporting for years that prepaid wireless makes more sense than
contract wireless. Now that the phones available on prepaid
getting increasingly more competitive (and high end), consumers are
catching on. This is apparently the first time in the history
wireless industry that contract providers have seen an overall loss of
customers. A short article, but a powerful point!
New Prepaid Carrier Voyager Mobile Launch
Delayed Due To Web Attack
Mobile, a new Sprint MVNO, reported some kind of website attack that
delayed its launch by approximately two weeks. Hmm, I don't
know what kind of attack could occur on an unknown company with a
website with no traffic, but hopefully things have been ironed out, and
Voyager can show that it has a viable business model. It has
some good ideas regarding launching a rewards program, however, at
present it appears to be a pure low price play, which won't be
sustainable as history has shown.
Canada's Wind Mobile Sees Growth Decline
Trying to mimic the success
of prepaid wireless growth in the U.S., several similar
unlimited carriers launched in Canada in 2009. One of them,
Wind Mobile, is now reporting a sharp decline in subscriber growth.
This is likely due to the incumbents, like Rogers chtr,
successfully beating down these new disruptive carriers.
Hopefully this is not an indication of a long term result for
these new carriers, as that would only be to the detriment of
customers. Come on Wind, keep the fight going!
Boost Mobile Offers Third Party Visual
Voicemail For a Ridiculous Fee
It's almost fair to say that this isn't really news worthy.
However, I included it to point out how pathetic some
management teams can be. Why launch visual voicemail (on May
31) when you can download Google Voice's Android application for free,
which also includes voice to text. I've been using GVoice for
years and while it's not perfect, it's really very usable, and of
course it's free. Who in their right mind would may
$1.99/month for such a service - even if there weren't a free
alternative?! I can tell you that I barely ever leave people
voicemails anymore as it's more about text messages and emails these
days, and I know that I'm not alone on this. Sorry Boost,
this is a sad demonstration of company resources management and
priorities. Or perhaps Smith Micro has an exceptional sales
Mobile Offers 4G WiMAX
I reported last month that Sprint was enabling its Boost Mobile and
Virgin Mobile brands with access to 4G. This month we get
more details about the Virgin offer, which includes a 4G MiFi hotspot
and USB modem. This is really the only move Sprint could do
to keep these brands relevant as all prepaid carriers are in the
process of moving to 4G. Although Sprint's 4G WiMAX network
will be short lived, so long as it can migrate to LTE before WiMAX
becomes completely irrelevant, this is a wise interim strategy.
It even puts them ahead of the competition with respect to
decent 4G broadband coverage that other prepaid providers don't yet
Launches Vesta Powered Android Payment Application
This native Android application enables T-Mobile prepaid
wireless customers to make payments and signup for automatic payments
using their smartphone. I've had the opportunity to tinker
around with this app; it's pretty straightforward and user friendly.
Really, every prepaid carrier should have an application like
this as adding money to an account is the most important thing a
customer can do when interacting with a no contract company.
The fact that it's taking carriers so long to get these apps
out is just short of astonishing if you ask me. For carriers
waiting to build a full service account management Android application
(that includes payment capabilities), you're making a big mistake;
please let me use a dedicated payment application if I so choose!
Teams With U.S. Cellular & Alltel Wireless On Walmart U Prepaid
County Daily Journal
So Walmart is at it again, creating a new brand and offers for
exclusive distribution in its stores. U Prepaid will
initially have limited distribution, and depending on where you live
will either operate on the U.S Cellular or Alltel networks.
The plan details are a little vague at this point, and
handset selection appears to be limited at launch. I expect
that after its tremendously successful launch of its exclusive Straight
Talk unlimited brand via a partnership with TracFone, it's seeking to
scale that success to non-unlimited no contract offers. I
don't know; the market is already pretty crowded. Can
consumers digest yet another prepaid brand, or will it simply introduce
New at Prepaid-Wireless-Guide.com?
- Updated Prepaid Wireless Broadband Plans & 4G
Broadband to reflect the discontinuation of Best Buy Connect on 6/1/12
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tell me what you think!
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