Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- March 2016, Issue #93
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.
This monthly email provides you
with a quick glance at what's trending in the news so that you
informed. I believe in brief, to-the-point
so that you can move onto other tasks in your day. Each
includes a link to the original story should you be interested in the
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Sprint Kills Virgin payLo &
has been cleaning house over the past two years, and recently announced
that it is de-emphasizing
its Virgin Mobile brand. In the
wake of that
announcement, it's discontinuing their prepaid broadband
offer, stating too much competition with tablets and phones, as well as
killing their lower end usage payLo brand. It's clear that
trying to streamline operations, and overall the Virgin brand has
negligible value (in my opinion), so I wouldn't be surprised if it
ultimately dies, or
is sold off at some point in the not to distant future.
Virgin Mobile Replaces payLo With Three New
Sprint is de-emphasizing its Virgin Mobile brand, it has relaunched its
plans. Their unlimited $30, $40, and $50 plans offer 500MB,
6GB of high speed data,
respectively. The value is still
While I'm only guessing, I suspect that these plan revisions
already being planned before Sprint announced it would be
de-emphasizing the brand. It will certainly be interesting to
the plans evolve (or don't!) over the next year or two. Will
evolve with the market, or stagnate into oblivion?!
Verizon Increases Data On Prepaid To Stay In
If you've been reading my newsletter for any period of time, you'll
know that Verizon is famous in the prepaid space for being a laggard,
as they continue to value (over value in my opinion) their postpaid
customers. After a number of prepaid carriers increased their
recently, Verizon has now followed suit. Its
entry level $45 smartphone plan will now get you 2GB of data (increased
from 1GB), and if you sign up for auto pay, you'll get an additional
1GB of monthly data. Kudos for Verizon for stringing
themselves along in the prepaid market just enough to stay in the game
What You Need To Know About T-Mobile's Free Smartphone Offer
For those considering T-Mobile's latest "free smartphone" offer, you'll
want to understand how it works. Of course, because it's
free, and you don't have to sign a contract, don't expect the latest
and greatest flagship phones. They are however reasonable low
to mid-tier smartphones that are more than usable. You will
however, have to fork over $50 for the phone and wait for your
rebate in the mail. It's no really a big deal unless you were
not expecting any out-of-pocket cost, so a simple heads up on this
offer for those considering it!
Cricket Launches Highly Capable ZTE
Here we have an extremely capable new smartphone with a 5.5" HD
display, 1.3GHz quad-core processor, and 16GB of storage, 8 MP rear
camera, 2 MP front camera, and an expandable microSD slot.
Existing customers can upgrade for $130, and new customers
for $80. I have to say that Cricket is definitely all in on
prepaid, continuing to add compelling phones to its lineup, and ZTE is
well known for being eager to gain some market share in the U.S. market.
Karma Kills Neverstop Prepaid Broadband
After seeing unprofitable data usage on its unlimited Neverstop plan,
Karma throttled the service, enforced a maximum monthly usage limit,
and restricted the number of devices that can connect. Of course, that
resulted in customer backlash, and Karma then completely eliminated the
In its place it launched a completely new service called
Pulse. Pulse service isn't be throttled, however,
it's essentially the standard model whereby you purchase a
given number of GBs per month. Additional data can be
purchased mid-month. The initial plans are set at: $5GB for
$40, 10GB for $70, and 20GB for $140 dollars.
Eliminating the unlimited offer effectively removes their competitive
positioning, and makes them pretty much identical to any other
provider. Now it's
back to a pricing and data bucket
size game, which is the lowest level of competition in this industry.
The real question is whether they'll evolve the program to
something more unique, or ultimately close shop entirely.
Unfortunately, business (i.e. profitability) reality set in
for Karma. We'll see what happens over the next 18 months!
InstaVoice Ring For Sending Missed Calls
this feature is currently only available in emerging markets, I thought
it was quite interesting, and worth some food for thought.
InstaVoice Ring allows prepaid users who don't have a balance to make
outgoing call to basically send a missed call notice to the
recipient's phone. Having seen that they missed a call, the
is that the intended receiver of the call will call that number back.
Note that this concept works in these markets only because
to have a "free incoming calls" model.
This is certainly showing
some creativity in an industry that has become quite stagnant in recent
years. I would think that it could open up the opportunity
to minimize or eliminate paying for cell phone service by simply using
this feature in perpetuity. I expect they have rules around
they can make such calls, and that they must make payments in some
frequency to maintain their account in good standing.
one of the more interesting features that I've heard of in a long time!
Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear
from you. Just reply to this zine and
tell me what you think!
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