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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #99, Sept 2016 - Carriers Still Pushing Family Plans For Growth!
September 01, 2016

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - September 2016, Issue #99


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!

Should You Be Concerned About T-Mobile's Fine Print On Their New Unlimited Plans?

T-MobileONE is their new unlimited talk, text, and data plan that runs $70/month for the 1st line, $50 for the 2nd line, and $20 for the 3rd and 4th line. That equates to an average of $40/line, which is extremely competitive!  This does, however, only include 480p video, which is what has some up in arms.  It's still a great deal in my opinion.  Also note that you'll have to sign up for autopay to get that price; otherwise it's $5 more.  In addition, I was able to find the fine print on their website that notes ">26GB/month may see reduced speeds when network has competing demands." That threshold shouldn't really impact the vast majority of users, and in my opinion is a reasonable restriction to protect the company from abusers.  What do you think of their new unlimited plan?

Sprint Launches Unlimited Freedom Family Plans & Unlimited Unhook'd on Boost
Business Wire (press release)

To compete with the T-MobileONE unlimited offer, Sprint launched unlimited Talk, Text, and Data for $60 for one line (compare to T-Mobile's $70), $40 for the 2nd line, and $30 for the 4th through 10th line.  Sprint also "optimizes" video streaming to 480p, which I really don't think is a big deal unless you're using a larger tablet.  Note that depending on how many lines you have, the pricing compared to T-Mobile isn't always better.  For example 4 lines comes out to $40/line on both programs.  And of course, this plan is on contract, which is why they are also offering a new Unlimited Unhook’d plan on Boost Mobile for $50 (same features), and $30 for the 2nd through 5th line.  Obviously this is the way to go to avoid contracts unless the number of lines you need saves you some money, which still needs to offset the benefit of locking into a contract.

AT&T Is Beefing Up GoPhone; But Why?
Seeking Alpha

AT&T is launching family plans on its prepaid GoPhone offering.  These plans essentially just offer a discount for additional lines.  While I don't agree with the premise of this article that AT&T launching family plans on prepaid is worthy of raised eyebrows, I do find it odd that it's launching them on GoPhone.  It has very aggressive family plans on its Cricket offering (some of the best in the market), so anything less valuable than those plans really won't be compelling.  In fact, the GoPhone brand really makes no sense to me, and hasn't for a long time.  It's really a dead-beat service that AT&T seems to be clinging to for some reason.  Launching family plans on this program is probably a move to help with subscriber growth on the GoPhone brand, which is likely desparately in need of more subscribers!

Verizon Launches HD Voice For Prepaid Customers
Android Headlines
Verizon is bringing VoLTE to prepaid this fall.  This is also referred to as HD calling, and routes voice calls over the data network providing a much clearer call quality.  It's actually a more efficient use of spectrum benefiting the company just as much as it does customers.  Note that you'll need to have HD calling added to your service in order to be able to take advantage of this service once it arrives.  It's a free add-on, however, the expectation is that customers won't be automatically migrated.  Given the benefit it has for Verizon, they really should auto-migrate everyone.

Unlocked BYOD Smartphones Have Disrupted The Wireless Market


For those of us who have been around awhile, this really is old news, however, I wanted to emphasize the impact of this topic.  BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) was a massive change in mindset in the industry as it became more prevalent over the past couple of years in North America.  It provides tremendous flexibility for customers to move around, and with people's general tendency to upgrade based on hype as opposed to a real need, the "previously enjoyed" smartphone market, coupled with BYOD, provides even more flexibility for customers to get the phone they want at a reasonable price, and on the network of choice using a myriad of carriers (host carriers and MVNOs).  I encourage people to educate yourselves on these options!

Prepaid Beats Postpaid On Best Buying Experience


Prepaid really kicked butt in providing the best customer experience!  Customer responses were largely impacted by how easily they were able to understand their options, and get their questions answered, whether in a store, online, or over the phone.  Thus, it's no surprise that prepaid won out overall, as postpaid is generally far more complicated.  That said, prepaid has become more complicated than it used to be.  When it wasn't as popular in the mainstream, prepaid had much fewer plan options and features.  Now, I would argue that the plans look very similar to postpaid, which is actually part of the appeal as you can basically get a postpaid-looking plan for a lower price and without a contract.  That said, it appears as though prepaid overall remains more straightforward than postpaid, and is providing a more satisfying buying experience.

Republic Wireless Beefs Up Device Lineup
Tom's Guide

Republic Wireless is an MVNO of T-Mobile and Sprint, which relies heavily on WiFi to offset costs.  With this new move, they're moving upstream by offering a slew of high end smartphones, where they previously offered mostly feature phones and low end smartphones.  Customers can pay for these new phones upfront, or get on a monthly payment plan.  They're now offering the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Moto X Pure Edition, Galaxy S6, Galaxy J3, Moto G4 and G4 Plus.  Republic offers a good array of plans, starting at $15/month for unlimited talk and text, and WiFi only data.  I like that Republic is offering an excellent range of smartphone options, which takes them nicely away from simply a low budget carrier, as they can now appeal to virtually any customer.

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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