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Prepaid Wireless Tracker, October 2010: Verizon Prepaid Smartphones, MetroPCS Beats Verizon to 4G!
October 01, 2010

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - October 2010 Issue


Prepaid wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry.  At Prepaid Wireless Guide I try to provide you with in-depth information that isn't readily available anywhere else.  Its content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in the prepaid wireless industry.

This monthly email provides you with a quick glance at what's 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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Verizon Announces Prepaid Plans with Smartphone Data
Verizon makes a slew of its smartphones available on a prepaid basis.  You’ll pay a pretty penny for the non-subsidized cost, and the plans aren’t super competitive, however, it’s a positive step in the direction of bringing prepaid to the masses.

Verizon Announces Prepaid Data Plan
By Arthur
Some good details on Verizon’s new prepaid data plans to support their aggressive entry into the prepaid smartphone game.

MetroPCS and Leap Take Prepaid Calling Upmarket
NewsFactor Network
There’s no doubt that MetroPCS and Leap are vigorously working to expand their target demographic to include the higher end market.  Many analysts criticize the wisdom of losing their brand appeal by becoming too mainstream.  While I do predict some consumer confusion as these brands evolve, I anticipate that when all is said and done, they’ll be just fine, with a materially larger customer base, and greater customer acceptance of prepaid.  It will be interesting to see what the landscape looks like a year from now!

Fido Set to Release the Android-Powered Acer Liquid e
It’s great to see prepaid Android phones gaining momentum in Canada.  Hopefully we’ll see some better selection available before the end of the year.

Gogo Inflight Internet Reaches 1000 Aircraft
It’s great to see inflight WiFi continue to grow.  Though as previously discussed, I don’t believe passengers will be willing to pay a lot for this service once the free trials end.  Rather, it will become a point of differentiation, and eventually it will become part expected services.  We’ll see if profitable business models can be implemented and sustained.

Rover: Clearwire's New Prepaid Broadband Brand
While I noted Clear’s new prepaid Rover brand last month, for those that missed that edition, I thought it would be worthwhile to make a quick mention of it again.  Recall, however, that Rover’s current equipment is 4G only, without the ability to support nationwide 3G roaming.  Personally, I’d wait for a dual mode modem and plan to become available, but that’s just me.

PlatinumTel Wireless Introduces the Samsung Seek and Offers Free Bluetooth
Marketwire (press release)
Although it’s not a smartphone, it’s great to see feature rich touchscreen QWERTY devices launching not only on the major prepaid carrier networks, but also MVNOs.  Only time will tell, but it seems inevitable that PlatinumTel and other growing MVNOs will add prepaid smartphones to their arsenal before too long.

Sprint Expands Common Cents Mobile at Wal-Mart
Here’s some news that’s actually not about prepaid unlimited plans, demonstrating that there’s still a healthy market for the classic pay-as-you-go market.

Walmart Debuts Its Own Wireless Plans
Walmart launches Family Mobile on the T-Mobile network, which allows for the addition of up to five lines of service.  You know when Walmart puts its brand on something that it means business!  While the plan itself isn’t all the inspiring in light of what else is currently available in the prepaid market, it may be a good fit for many, and the attention this will draw to the prepaid wireless market in general is really what I find exciting.  I look forward to seeing their activation results over the next 6-12 months.

Pre-Paid Carrier MetroPCS Beats Verizon and AT&T to 4G LTE
Well what do we have here!  With all of the hype about the big carriers launching 4G networks, MetroPCS is the first to market (Sprint’s Clear offering notwithstanding).  Though keep in mind that Metro notes that for them it’s more about leveraging the capacity that 4G brings to help them manage operational expenses, rather than raw data speeds.  In fact, the available handset isn’t a smartphone, but rather a supped up feature phone, and no prepaid broadband service will be available, at least not for the time being.  Verizon’s 4G LTE network is expected to be in a whole different ball game (i.e. MUCH faster).  That said, it’s exciting to see prepaid carriers making investments in next generation technologies, and keeping up with the big boys.


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