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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #49, July 2012 - Walmart & TruConnect Launch Internet On The Go!
July 01, 2012

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - July 2012 Issue #49


Prepaid wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry.  At 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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Walmart And TruConnect Offer No Contract Internet On The Go
Walmart and TruConnect are to offer Internet On The Go for prices that range from $0.10 to $0.45 per megabyte.  While these prices are not competitive compared to other no contract monthly broadband plans, with these plans your money never expires.  Aside from TruConnect's own standalone program, there aren't any other broadband services that don't have expiration dates.  I get a TON of inquiries regarding prepaid  broadband plans that offer no expiration dates, and these two TruConnect centric offerings are the only ones.  To compare, TruConnect's own program costs $4.99/month access fee + 3.9 cents/MB for data usage.  No word yet on device pricing or launch date.

Virgin Mobile Launched Prepaid iPhone On June 29th

Mobile bloom News
So Virgin is launched its version of the prepaid iPhone only a week after Cricket's launch.  While Virgin offers a number of price plans to choose from (Cricket only offers one $55 plan), it comes with a premium on the handset price.  Compared to Cricket's $400 and $500 for the 4 and 4S, respectively, Virgin's will be priced at $550 and $650; ouch!  No doubt Sprint is in this game for a different reason than is Cricket.  Sprint is on the hook for selling a massive volume of iPhones under its contract with Apple, and moving a bunch via its prepaid brand(s) is certainly going to help somewhat.  The higher price point is no doubt to help fend off executive fears of cannibalizing the postpaid Sprint business.  While Cricket on the other hand is actually selling it as a business desire to meet market demands.  At least that's the way I see it from what I know about Sprint's Achilles heel!

PrepaYd Wireless Adds Free International Texting
MarketWatch (press release)
PrepaYd Wireless is now including free international text messaging (sending and receiving) in its plans.  While most prepaid carriers already include this, it may not be all that inspiring; however, as PrepaYd does have some intriguing plans, it's good to see them evolving their products.  Given that so many of us these days have friends and family that either live abroad, or are continually traveling, it's nice to know that we can keep in touch with them without additional charges (at least on our end!).

America Movil Finalizes Purchase of Simple Mobile
TracFone's parent company, America Movil, officially completed the purchase of Simple Mobile from T-Mobile.  Personally, I think T-Mobile lost out, and likely would have got more value in the long run had they kept their stake.  That said, no doubt they needed the cash and jumped on the opportunity.  On the other hand, I think America Movil got a great deal, and Simple Mobile owners jumped ship too early.  Had they continued their expansion for a couple more years, they could have extracted far more shareholder wealth.  I imagine that they were running short on cash, got a good offer, and decided to jump on it before getting sophisticated out of a highly competitive market running on little cash.  Note that I have no idea what their actual cash flow situation was; these are simply my intuitive thoughts!

WIND Mobile CEO Says Prepaid Market Is Doomed

By Ian Hardy
Translated:  WIND executives don't understand what it takes to succeed in the prepaid market.  Managed correctly, the cost to acquire a customer (CPGA or Cost Per Gross Add) on prepaid is much lower than postpaid, and despite a typically lower ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), the effective LTV (Lifetime Value) of a prepaid customer can in fact be on par or higher than a postpaid customer.  The fact is that there are very few people (executives or otherwise) who truly understand the prepaid industry, and Canada has a unique geography and competitive landscape such that simply attempting to duplicate what U.S. prepaid carriers did would be a fatal decision.  Sorry WIND, prepaid didn't fail you, YOU failed at prepaid; ouch.

What's New at

  • Updated Page Plus $55 plan to reflect increase of its data allowance from 1GB to 2GB
  • Added Virgin Mobile HTC Evo V 4G to 4G Phones
  • Added Virgin Mobile LG Optimus Elite & ZTE Venture, Cricket BlackBerry Curve 9350, and Virgin iPhone 4 to Smartphone Comparison

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

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