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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #89, Nov 2015 - Smartphone Plans With Data That Never Expires!
November 01, 2015

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - November 2015, Issue #89


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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TruConnect Announces New Prepaid Wireless Plans Without Data Expiry!
Hola Arkansas
TrueConnect, which was the first provider to offer no contract data plans where your data never expires, now offers new smartphone plans with the same benefit.  Not only are the plans competitive with unlimited talk and global texting, but data allowances never expire so long as you remain an active customer.  For me, this offer is far more compelling that Boost's 3GB of extra data after 18 months of payments, as unused data is likely to accumulate faster than people think.

While I've always liked the concept of TruConnect, I've been dubious of their ability to survive in this competitive market.  Although I obviously don't know the inner secrets of their financials, I am very happy to see that they're still around, and have expanded their portfolio to phones (previously only mobile Internet), and are continuing to expand their never-expiring data offering!

Boost Mobile Rewards On-Time Payments With Extra Data
Boost now has a data offer that is in a similar vein to their previous Shrinkage plan.  Customers on a $30, $35, or $45 plan who make 18 months of on-time payments will get an additional 3GB/month of high speed data thereafter so long as they remain a customer.  The real business challenge with prepaid has always been customers who don't pay on time each month, or who skip months.  Over their lifetime that represents a massive revenue opportunity loss.  Loyalty plans like this are certainly good motivators.  That said, is 18 months too long to motivate customers, particularly when most of us have relatively ubiquitous access to WiFi to supplement our mobile data needs?  Time will tell!

GIV Mobile Explains Why Other Carriers "Suck"
Wireless Week
To refresh you, GIV Mobile is an MVNO of T-Mobile that donates a portion of its revenue to charity.  You've got to admire their dedication, as they've setup a completely new website ( just to tout the benefits of no contract prepaid wireless compared with GIV's offering.  I expect they're hoping for some social media viral element to help grow their business.  Given that building a brand, and the immense marketing cost to do so, is very difficult for small carriers to do profitably, GIV is trying whatever they can to create buzz.  They actually have very competitive plans, not to mention the charity benefit, so it's definitely worth checking them out to see if they can meet your needs.

AT&T Launches Ruggedized, Water Resistant Kyocera Hydro Air
Phone Arena
The Kyocera Hydro Air is not only water resistant, but also shock resistant to a military specification.  The specs of the phone are clearly mid-tier, but still highly respectable for a $100 phone.  Quite honestly, with all of the phones I see getting water damaged, cracked, or otherwise badly damaged, I've very surprised that more phones aren't being offered with these types of features.

I have no doubt that given the choice, people would pay extra (potentially up to even $50 more) to get the phone they have with these extra features.  Even Samsung dumped their water proof feature after the Galaxy S5, which was a huge disappointment.  Unfortunately, this phone is only available on AT&T's lack luster GoPhone program.

Verizon Wireless Sees Losses Across All Subscriber Types
RCR Wireless News
So Verizon postpaid performance dropped 15% from last year, and its prepaid business went from a horrible 9K net additions to an abysmal 80K net subscriber loss this year.  For over 5 years I've been articulating that Verizon is embarrassingly behind in the prepaid market.  They've been able to get away with that due to their prowess in the postpaid market.  However, now that there are signs of the competition affecting their entire business, Verizon will need to step up their game in order to maintain the number one carrier position.  Hopefully they haven't been so arrogant as to not have any plans in the pipe, ready to pounce when the time is right.  Well that time is this next 12 months, so lets see what you've got Verizon!

Verizon Launches New Prepaid Mobile Internet Plans
Verizon is making moves in the prepaid data space with its new plans.  You can now get a weekly, monthly, or 2 month plan, ranging from 500MB for $15/week to 10GB for $100 for 2 months.  While these plans are more competitive than previously, they're certainly not game changing.  It's really Verizon continuing to inch forward, and coming to understand that people prefer a more flexible plan for their secondary data device.  Hopefully they're also working on upgrading their smartphone data plans.

Cricket Adds Free Data Roaming in Canada & Mexico & Launches New High Value Alcatel Phone
Extending on its international play, Cricket now allows customers on the $50 and $60 plans to use their data allowance with no additional roaming fees while in Canada and Mexico.  As I noted previously, innovation is now really taking place in the international market.  The next phase will be global plan, though it will take some time to evolve those profitably.  Also, don't forget that you get a $5 monthly discount if you sign up for autopay using your credit/debit card.

Cricket also now offers the Alcatel One Touch Idol 3, which is at the higher end of the mid-tier, has a 5.5" screen, an excellent rear facing camera, and a wide angle front facing camera for the ultimate selfies.  Definitely a great value at $150.

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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