Back to Back Issues Page
Prepaid Wireless Tracker #69, March 2014 - Is Prepaid Pricing In A Race To The Bottom?
March 01, 2014

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - March 2014 Issue #69


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.  The content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in the prepaid wireless industry for over a decade.

This monthly email provides you with a quick glance at what's trending 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.

If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favor and "pay it forward."  If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe to Prepaid Wireless Tracker.

Boost Mobile Launches 4G LTE Promotion - Cuts $20 Off Plan Price

Through the end of March, Boost is offering a deep discount on its $55 plan down to $35 for the first six months.  The plan will only allow 2.5G of LTE data before being throttled to 3G, however, for most users that's more than sufficient, particularly if you turn on WiFi while at home.  Note that after the 6-month period, customers then qualify for the Boost Shrinkage program, which takes down the monthly cost by $5 for each on-time monthly payment, down to a minimum price of $35.  We've been seeing somewhat of a price war these past months in the prepaid space.  Last month I detailed Cricket's $100/month family plan for 3-5 smartphones.  Aio also recently reduced its pricing, and even Net10 has beefed up their data plans.  The risk here is that it's a race to the bottom where only the carriers with the deepest pockets will survive.  In the meantime, it means great prices for customers!

AT&T's Aio Wireless Also Cuts Plan Prices
Mobile Burn

With the purchase of Cricket, it's obvious that AT&T is serious about prepaid, so beefing up its Aio prepaid offer comes as no surprise.  It's unclear whether its new $5 off deal for signing up for automatic payments is a straight copy of Cricket's identical program, which launched in 2012, as a step in the direction of aligning customers to what will become a Cricket prepaid brand play.  The benefit Aio customers will have is that they will already have an AT&T compatible phone, while Cricket customers will either be required to buy a new phone, or be given a new one by AT&T (which could be a great deal for those who hold out for an inevitable forced migration).  I don't expect this new pricing will bring in droves of new customers, however, it may very well help to keep existing customers until AT&T migrates them to the new Cricket plans, which are likely to look very similar to what we see here.

AT&T's Aio Wireless Loses "Magenta" Law Suit

Last year T-Mobile sued AT&T for the use of its magenta brand colors with AT&Ts new Aio Wireless prepaid brand, stating that it intentionally confused prospective customers.  Well, T-Mobile won that suit.  While the article doesn't describe any financial damages that were awarded, the cost to change out its branding will certainly shake things up at Aio.  That said, AT&T is planning on discontinuing the brand once the Cricket purchase is completed (currently awaiting DOJ approval), thus, re-branding doesn't seem likely at this point.  The question in my mind (curious minds want to know!) is whether AT&T specifically chose that color to combat T-Mobile; I suspect that it did.  You would think they had to see that lawsuit coming from miles away!

Vesta Announces DelayPay Installment Plan For Prepaid Customers
Broadway World
Most people aren't familiar with Vesta as they don't have a consumer facing brand.  Vesta processes billions of dollars of credit, debit, and electronic check payments worldwide for various different wireless providers.  For carriers they support, they host automatic payment programs, text-to-pay, as well as your typical Web, IVR, and On Device payment portals.  For carriers that process payments using Vesta systems, they can now offer DelayPay, which allows customers to opt into deferring their monthly payment for 30 days.  Repayment occurs in two equal installments with a 5% penalty if it's not re-paid within the 30-day period.  Personally, I'm not a big fan of financing anything related to phones and service, however, for people who are having cash flow problems, this type of payment delay could be a lifesaver that allows them to maintain service for a reasonable charge.  At the very least, it's great to see continued innovation in the payments space!

Boost Mobile And Virgin Mobile To Launch Galaxy S5
While the launch date has yet to be confirmed, the flagship Samsung Galaxy S5 will likely launch on or shortly after it launches on Sprint.  It's great to see that prepaid continues to gain ground on postpaid, and is no doubt a serious contender.  Interestingly, Cricket has been among the first prepaid carriers to launch the flagship Galaxy smartphones, as well as iPhones, and yet we have yet to see a launch announcement.  I expect that we'll see a delayed S5 launch due to the expectation that they will launch it on the AT&T network post-AT&T acquisition of Cricket; time will tell!

What's New At

Refreshing, consolidating, and simplifying content across the site to optimize the visitor experience continued this past month.  With many hundreds of pages, this process takes time.  If you enjoy the site, the most valuable thing you can do to help is to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, as social presence is becoming an increasingly important factor for search engine rankings.  Thank you in advance!

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

View Prepaid Wireless Tracker Back Issues.           

Prepaid Wireless Guide Logo
Back to Back Issues Page