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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #97, July 2016 - Prepaid Beats Postpaid In Customer Satisfaction!
July 01, 2016

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - July 2016, Issue #97


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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Note: I do not have any affiliation, nor do I get paid by any of the sites that I link to below.  They are simply topics that I deemed interesting, and provide a link for you to learn more, and I give credit to the source by listing their name under the title.  Enjoy!

No Contract Carriers Scored Higher Customer Satisfaction Scores Than Contract Providers
RCR Wireless News

Scroll halfway down on this linked article to find customer satisfaction scores for prepaid carriers.  Prepaid carriers ranked in the following order:  Consumer Cellular, Cricket, StraighTalk, MetroPCS, Boost Mobile, TracFone, Virgin Mobile, then U.S. Cellular.  The study rated network coverage, data speeds, dropped calls, strength of calls, new device technology, easy to change plans, and plan flexibility.  It's really telling that the overall conclusion was that prepaid ranked so much higher than postpaid due to the overall value.

The reality is that if you select the right prepaid carrier, and get on the right plan, you're going to get materially better value than virtually any contract plan.  What's not clear in the study is why T-Mobile wasn't included in the prepaid study.  They have a significant no contract program, but obviously are still seen by market analysts as one of the big four "classic" contract carriers.  Perhaps that's why they scored #1 in that class; due to the superior no contract customer experience!

T-Mobile Offers Free Data Roaming in Europe
StreetWise Journal
T-Mobile is providing free data roaming in Europe from July 1st to August 31st for its Simple Choice customers.  This is a nice benefit, as we all know that without a good plan or add-on international data roaming can be quite expensive.  Unfortunately, expect data speeds to be quite slow, so you won't be surfing the net, or loading Facebook photos without getting frustrated.  However, synching email, and the occasional quick Internet search should be acceptable.

Boost & Virgin Launch LG K3 Budget Smartphone

For $80 the LG K3 is a fantastic value!  For that price you get a 4.5-inch Full Wide VGA touch-screen display (854 by 480 pixels), a 1.1GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of memory, a 1,940mAh battery, and 8GB of storage (plus a expandable microSD card storage slot).  You also get a 5MP rear facing camera, and VGA front facing camera.  Selfie enthusiasts likely won't be thrilled with the camera quality, however, for someone looking for standard smartphone functions, this is a great value entry level phone.  Of course, you can also look at getting "previously enjoyed" higher end phones like the Galaxy S4 and S5 at Gazelle.  With how often we tend to upgrade our phones, and our propensity to use cases, there are plenty of used smartphones out there in fantastic condition that are being re-sold at great prices.

Cricket Offers $50 to Switch - ENDS JULY 14th!
Cricket will give you a $50 credit if you port your number from another carrier.  If that carrier is T-Mobile, you'll get another $50 credit.  If you bring your own phone, you'll earn another $35 credit, though you'll have to pay $10 for a new SIM card.  There is also $25 in activation fees.  You'll also have to activate on a $40 or more plan to get the credits, though recall that if you sign up for autopay, you'll get a $5 monthly discount.  Overall, if you're interested in getting Cricket, this is a good time.  If not, as I always reiterate, don't be fooled by short term incentives, but rather look at the long term (2-3 year) total cost of ownership.  Cricket happens to offer great value plans, so you should be good in the long run, however, do take a look at your particular needs!

Krew Mobile Launches Cheap Parent-Child Plan

Krew Mobile is a relatively new MVNO focused on parents and children.  It appears as though they're taking the Kajeet cell phone for kids concept further, and targeting families with children.  They're a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) only company, so you'll need to either already have a phone, or acquire one.  Of course, that's really not a barrier these days, and provides you with ultimately flexibility by being able to get the phone you want for the best possible price on the open market.

They're keeping things simple by promoting 1 plan with 3 lines.  There's the parent plan that includes unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of highspeed data, plus 2 lines for kids with unlimited talk and text.  They've currently got an introductory promotion of $19.95 for the first 2 months, and $39.95 per month thereafter.  The plan includes parental controls.  I haven't yet concluded whether Krew is a real contender, or one of the myriad of MVNOs that has, or is destined to die.  Regardless, it's great to have the competition, especially for companies focusing on families and kids!

Sprint Replaces Prepaid Group Leader
Kansas City Star

Sprint is bringing in an outsider as the new president of its prepaid unit, which includes MVNOs, Sprint Prepaid, Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile.  The people involved aren't really relevant at this point.  What's truly telling is that Sprint has been failing in the prepaid space since it folded Boost Mobile into its corporate Sprint offices, and acquired Virgin Mobile.  As Sprint was previously the master of prepaid, posting amazing results, and showing innovation in the marketplace, as well as building relationships with hundreds of MVNOs.  It really is sad, or dare I say pathetic.  Sprint simply doesn't understand the prepaid market, nor has a grasp on marketing and segmentation.  It will be interesting to see if the new guy can make any material changes over the next 2-3 years.  If Sprint is smart, they'll give him a very modest base salary with massive results based bonuses.

Verizon Continues to Ignore Prepaid
Motley Fool

I hesitated posting this article because I feel like a broken record as I've been saying this for over a half a decade now.  It does, however, help to reinforce how far prepaid has come as the line between prepaid and postpaid has been significantly blurred.  With carriers working to eliminate phone subsidies and multi-year contracts, the major premise behind postpaid plans is largely evaporating.  Verizon's position on its prepaid business was logical about half a dozen years ago, however, is largely short sighted.  That said, I believe that they've built the necessary infrastructure to ramp up their prepaid efforts when it becomes absolutely critical.  Until that inflection point, it's unlikely that they'll change their perspective.

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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