PrepaYd Wireless is a new Sprint MVNO offering some very compelling no contract plans that include voice, text, and data for both feature phones and smartphones. Josh Berman, Founder and Vice President, was generous enough to participate in the following interview. Thank you Josh!
Interview Date: December 5, 2011
|| Can you share some
background regarding the company history,
startup inspiration, and target demographic of PrepaYd Wireless?
[Berman] PrepaYd Wireless officially launched December 1, 2011 as a subsidiary of PrepaYd, Inc. As a discounted MVNO, we provide no contract wireless service plans at low rates, while still offering free or heavily subsidized handsets. Our sister company Bank Freedom has been issuing Prepaid Debit Cards since February 2008 towards what we consider to be the UnderBanked and Underserved Market in the US and we have launched PrepaYd Wireless to accommodate the needs of this same demographic. Becoming an MVNO evolved from our desire to partner with other prepaid wireless service providers to offer a Top Up Service with our Bank Freedom Prepaid Cards.
|2.|| Your website mentions
that you provide innovative financial services products. Can
you describe these services in more detail?
[Berman] We’re currently setup as an electronic bill pay provider through one of the largest bill pay networks in the US. Online Bill Pay has typically only been made available for post-paid and we have found how to add convenience in topping up your phone through traditional banking payment channels. Through Bank Freedom, our customers can also send an SMS Payment to PrepaYd Wireless when they’re ready to Top Up. We also are providing our subscribers with handsets that are equipped for mobile banking and for person to person (P2P) Payments. Over the upcoming months more innovative mobile financial services products that we will be offering in conjunction to our prepaid card business and until those services have been announce I cannot share additional information on them at this time.
|| Sprint has a myriad of MVNOs that
are playing in a very competitive environment; what’s PrepaYd
strategy to achieve profitable growth?
[Berman] Bank Freedom has been issuing prepaid cards since 2008 to the same customer demographic and we understand prepaid and providing quality service in the very competitive high churn prepaid market. The more services our customers leverage and bundle from PrepaYd the more competitive we can be on our pricing which might lead to a price war in the future with other MVNOs we are prepared to win. The key for us is offering a strong variety of handsets, offering competitive pricing and expanding on our product offering with additional value added services and unique plans that tailor towards all consumers.
|| Where does PrepaYd
Wireless have product
distribution? Are you planning additional distribution?
[Berman] Currently PrepaYd Wireless is only marketed online and towards our Bank Freedom Cardholder base. We’ve created several web materials and our PrepaYd Call Center has also been used for upselling customers on PrepaYd Wireless. We have been partnering with third party online wireless dealers and intend to offer our PrepaYd Services in retail locations in the future through a limited number of wireless dealer partnerships.
|| Do you have to be a
Bank Freedom Customer to get PrepaYd
[Berman] You don’t need to be a Bank Freedom customer to use PrepaYd Wireless, however if you currently use prepaid cards there could be many reasons you’d want to get a Bank Freedom Card. There’s no Monthly Fee for the Bank Freedom Prepaid MasterCard for cardholders that deposit at least $500 per month and there’s a loyalty program that provides cardholders with discounts on PrepaYd Wireless service. Bank Freedom is one of the first card issuers to offer SMS Mobile Payments which adds convenience for topping up your wireless phone and for paying other bills.
|6.|| How many customers do
you currently have?
[Berman] I cannot release those numbers on this interview but our parent company PrepaYd, Inc. is a public company and more information can be found at PPDC.PK
|| Where can customers
replenish their PrepaYd Wireless account? Do you offer
[Berman] Currently our customers can replenish their accounts through our online My Account Site or through our IVR using a prepaid, credit or debit card. They can also use online and mobile banking or remit payments using Bank Freedom SMS mobile payments. In the upcoming months we will be partnering with other retail and online Top Up providers to add convenience to customers who prefer to use third parties for making payments.
|| PrepaYd Wireless
doesn’t have a strong brand presence.
communication strategy to help prospective customers become aware of
your competitive offering?
[Berman] PrepaYd Wireless is a new brand without a strong brand presence yet but our PrepaYd brand has been providing financial services for almost 4 years. One of the benefits we have with being a Sprint MVNO is the ability to sell Sprint Branded Devices which has helped us in our initial marketing efforts to sell handsets. We’ve also been making PrepaYd Wireless well known and easily available to our cardholder base through email, print, IVR, social media and web communications. Our initial marketing campaign has been successful in offering free handsets for our initial subscribers and we have been deploying social media campaigns on Google+, Facebook and Twitter for brand awareness.
|| Do you plan on offering
prepaid broadband to complement your
voice plans? What about data/hotspot tethering?
[Berman] We see large potential growth for prepaid broadband services. With our initial launch we are only offering individual voice plans today which includes plans which includes unlimited talk, text, data, picture messaging, GPS locator and picture messaging. We plan on launching prepaid broadband plans for tablets and airtime cards in 2012 in addition to family and business plans and 4G data coverage.
|| Are your
handsets new or refurbished?
[Berman] Today we are only offering new handsets to our customers. Our personal experience with using refurbished phones has not been a positive experience and to provide the highest Quality of Service to our customers we will avoid selling refurbished handsets.
|| Is there anything else that you
would like prospective PrepaYd Wireless customers to know about your
company or service?
[Berman] PrepaYd Wireless strives to provide the highest quality of service at the most competitive prices. We strive to provide our customers with a post-paid experience with pre-paid pricing and affordable handsets. Currently our plans only include domestic calling and Unlimited Monthly Plans however we will be launching affordable international calling add-ons and Pay as You Go Plans sometime in 2012. Our PrepaYd Wireless team is here to help you and we understand when you need a few extra days of free service before paying your next bill. Financial Security and customer satisfaction are our top priorities and you always have access to contacting the PrepaYd Call Center whether you have an active plan with us or not.
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