Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- May 2013 Issue #59
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
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content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in
the prepaid wireless industry for over a decade.
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so that you can move onto other tasks in your day. Each
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Virgin Offers $100 To T-Mobile Customers
response to T-Mobile's aggressive move to no contract plans, including
device financing, Virgin is offering a $100 credit to defectors for the
month of May. These types of credit programs are usually
either when companies don't have time to react with a meaningful change
to its core offerings, or when it actually believes they have an equal
or better offer that just needs a little more attention given
competitive pressures. Depending on whether you're in need of
hotspot feature, which T-Mobile includes (Virgin charges
$15 extra), T-Mobile may actually be a better option.
there's absolutely no doubt that the prepaid war will continue to be
hot in 2013, which means great value for customers.
Cricket Launches Family Plan Bundle
& Aligns iPhone Plans With Android
Effective April 21st, Cricket started offering two smartphone plans for
$40 each (down from $50 for a single line of service). Note
in order to get that pricing, the account needs to be on automatic bill
pay, which supports credit cards, debit cards, and electronic checks
(i.e. bank accounts). Cricket's iPhone is also now compatible
with all of its plans, which were previously Android only. So
iPhone users aren't stuck with just a $55 plan, but can choose from a
$50, $60, and $70 plan, which include 1GB, 2.5GB, and 5GB of included
data, respectively. It's clear that in the wake of T-Mobile's
focus on prepaid, and a general need to grow its subscriber base,
Cricket is doing everything it can to promote the lowest possible price
with the greatest possible value, while still maintaining
profitability. The article also correctly points out that
competitive (and profitable) will continue to be a challenge if Cricket
remains as an independent carrier.
T-Mobile To Keep GoSmart Mobile
Brand After MetroPCS Merger
GoSmart, T-Mobile's new prepaid brand just went nationwide in
February, will still be part of its portfolio despite the merger
approval. It actually has a
much clearer distinction from MetroPCS' offerings than Sprint has with
Boost and Virgin. GoSmart is much lower end, and remains on
3G network with limited phone selection. To the contrary,
MetroPCS is higher end, with more plan offerings, and large phone
selection. Of course, it will all come down to execution once
now approved merger closes, and T-Mobile integrates MetroPCS into its
core business. It will be interesting to see how its
looks a year from now.
TracFone Reports Amazing Growth, Beating
Verizon - iPhone On Straight Talk Suspected
After Straight Talk started selling the iPhone, it reported extremely
respectable growth, the likes of which we haven't seen in the prepaid
space for quite some time; they even beat out Verizon postpaid!
Whether its solely due to the iPhone, or a combination of
iconic phone, as well as other compatible unlocked smartphones that can
be brought to Straight Talk is unknown. I suspect it's a
access to these phones, as well as the way Walmart makes it easy to
spread out payments over 26 months. It's arguable whether its
pricing is better than T-Mobile's new financing program, however,
Walmart is the largest retailer on the planet, and customers will often
go with that brand as a matter of habit and comfort.
getting the iPhone finally launched is a huge benefit, and TracFone is
no doubt enjoying it!
Verizon Launches $35 Prepaid Plan
The plan includes 500 minutes and unlimited text and Web, however,
before getting too excited, this plan is only compatible with select
feature phones. When compared to other carriers, like Page
(also on the Verizon network), Cricket, Boost, Virgin, and others, it
isn't compelling whatsoever. It's yet another inch forward
Verizon as it continues to tweak its prepaid offerings. I
still believe that when the time comes for Verizon to get serious about
prepaid, they'll be ready to hit the ground running. In the
meantime, Verizon is simply dabbling with non-competitive plans, and
perhaps keeping some postpaid customers on prepaid rather
than losing them. Of course, these are die hard Verizon fans
are willing to pay a premium for its service, and not necessarily
those looking for the best value on the same or similar networks.
AT&T To Get More Serious About Prepaid
RCR Wireless News
Rumor has it that AT&T is launching a new prepaid offering
of its GoPhone brand. $50 for unlimited talk, text, and Web
feature phones, and $60 for 2GBs on smartphones, which may include
refurbished iPhones and the ability to bring your own unlocked device.
I don't think this will inspire many folks, as the pricing is
barely competitive, and unlike Verizon, that seems to be able to
attract customers due to its brand reputation, AT&T has a long
history of poor network performance. That said, a move to
prepaid offerings is long overdue. We should expect to see
continue to evolve its prepaid plans considerably over the next year as
postpaid will continue to decline in favor of prepaid.
Telus To Take Lead Over Bell
Globe and Mail
most notable aspect of this article is that Telus will be able to
surpass Bell in growth due to its focus on getting more prepaid
subscribers. I expect that strategy was validated simply by
what has happened with wireless growth in the U.S. i.e. No
genius required to come up with that strategy! Where Telus is
still behind in its thinking, however, is that it's targeting youth for
The real opportunity, which has already been proving out in
is that prepaid can appeal to the mainstream as well.
correctly, carriers can maintain profitable growth with prepaid, and
hanging on to historically higher postpaid ARPU will only serve to
maintain higher gross margins within a declining customer base.
other words, with wireless saturation at nearly 100%, the pie isn't
growing; getting more share of the soon to be larger prepaid pie is
what carriers need to be focusing on. Higher ARPU within a
postpaid base is far from being a wise strategy Bell!
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