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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #84, June 2015 - Boost Launches Amazing LG Phone; T-Mobile Shuts Down CDMA
June 01, 2015

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - June 2015 Issue #84


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.

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Amazing LG G Stylo Available at Boost Mobile!

At $199, this is an absolutely fantastic price for a fully feature, high end smartphone: 5.7-inch HD IPS touch-screen with Gorilla Glass 3, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a removable 3,000mAh battery that provides up to 24 hours of talk time, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel front camera; wow!  This looks very similar to the Galaxy Note series for a much lower price.  Truthfully, LG is probably taking a very slim margin in order to propagate its brand in the U.S., and/or Sprint is subsidizing it to drive prepaid sales.  Whatever the business relationship or reasons, this is a great buy that's definitely worth checking out.

T-Mobile is Shutting Down the MetroPCS CDMA Network this Month

Here's an important heads up for MetroPCS customers who are still using their legacy CDMA phones.  On June 21, those phones will no longer work, as T-Mobile (Metro's parent company) is shutting down the CDMA network.  So if you still have a CDMA phone with Metro, you should seek out their upgrade offer, or find another service quickly!

T-Mobile Offers Free Prepaid Phone
RCR Wireless News
T-Mobile continues its plight to be different.  Typically postpaid contract plans will offer at least one option for a free phone given they know you're committing to at least 2 years.  However, with prepaid there's no guarantee that you'll stick around for even a second month, thus free phones are typically a non-starter from a business case perspective.

T-Mobile, however, is offering a $150 LG 4G phone for free (after rebates) to customers who startup on certain plans.  The phone is an entry level smartphone, however, a solid, fully capable smartphone.  Nice move T-Mobile!

Is The Light Phone a Joke?

Here's an interesting Kickstarter project for a voice-only, super thin (wallet sized) phone for those who don't need or want a smartphone.  If you've noticed over the past few years, the number of available feature phones (i.e. non-smartphones) have been dwindling rapidly.  Here you have the "anti-smartphone" with super long battery life.

The "kicker" with this product, however, is not only does it not allow you to text, but it requires that you have a smartphone that forwards calls to this Light Phone.  I supposed you could buy a used, barely functional smartphone, or get an old smartphone from your friend, and simply keep it at home.  That said, the concept is disappointing.  Had it been a standalone "real" phone, perhaps the value proposition would have been compelling.

For me, the question at hand is whether there are a significant number of people out there who want a feature phone, and are resisting moving to a smartphone.  And if so, why?  What's holding you back from embracing smartphones?  Is it battery life?  Complexity?  Other?  Anyway, the fact that this program has raised as much money as it has it truly amazing.  I think only Apple can get away with launching a product (the Apple watch) that requires another product (an iPhone) to work!

Class Action Suite Against Verizon & Sprint

This class action lawsuit, with a $120M claim, and includes these carriers' prepaid brands (ex. Assurance Wireless, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile), and addresses unclear premium SMS charges.  It's good to see some policing around carrier billing practices, however, the reality is that the few dollars you might be owed probably isn't work the time to read the article and submit a claim!  That said, I wanted to stay true to keeping you up on what's going on in the market!

AT&T Adds Rollover Data to GoPhone
E-Commerce Times

Prepaid GoPhone users can now rollover unused data.  Rollover voice minutes became popular under the Cingular brand nearly a decade ago.  Clearly voice calling is not where consumer interest now lies, so implementing the feature for data makes a lot of sense.  It's not as sleek as Google Fi's credit for unused data, however, a decent alternative approach.  That said, GoPhone isn't really very compelling overall when compared to even it's own sister brand, Cricket.  Though, for those tied to GoPhone (for whatever reasons?), this is certainly a welcome feature.

Is AT&T's Cricket Really Successful?

Yes, Cricket has increased its customer base since being acquired by AT&T, however, I guarantee you that the 450K net additions is far below its forecast.  The reality is that they're burning cash with promotions and migrations, and their growth has been disappointing.  Hopefully that will turn around, as their offer is generally quite good (despite the lack of a hotspot feature).

My personal experience with Cricket was disappointing.  I had a Samsung GS4 in perfect condition on their old CDMA network.  I called on a number of occasions to get an offer on the same phone on the AT&T network in order to stay on as a customer.  They only offered the standard $150 trade in, which would leave me spending hundreds on a new phone.  I received no email/text offers either.  I stopped paying and churned off; not a message from Cricket.  If they can't keep a customer who wants to stay with them, and proactively reaches out, that's saying a lot!

AT&T Launches Go Phone Hotspot
Business Wire (press release)

AT&T is now offering AT&T Unite Express for GoPhone, which is a prepaid, no contract hotspot offering.  I love to see prepaid hotpsot offerings, so this is good news.  However, the branding is extremely bizarre.  Why not just call it GoPhone Unite Express?  Honestly, I feel as though the GoPhone brand is worthless, and they should simply move to offering no contract offerings under the AT&T brand, and keep Cricket as its prepaid brand.

Net10 Beefs Up Data Allowance & Adds Discount for Autopay Customers
Phone Arena
Net10 is beefing up its plans for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) customers who will get 5GB of high speed data in lieu of the standard 3GB.  In addition, signing up for autopay gets you an additional $5 off your monthly plan (similar to Cricket's autopay discount program).  Net10 is doing a good job staying relevant despite its pathetically outdated name, which was birthed when 10 cents per minute for voice calls was an amazing deal....heh.

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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