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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #44, Feb 2012 - Is Sprint Delusional About Its Position In Prepaid?
February 01, 2012

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - February 2012 Issue


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.  Its content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in the prepaid wireless industry.

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Sprint Eventually Plans to Bring 4G LTE to Prepaid
So Sprint will offer prepaid 4G using it's WiMAX network.  My first thought was, of course, that's a no-brainer.  What I found to be somewhat embarrassing for Sprint is their comment regarding using this offer to stay ahead of the competition.  Really?  I wonder if this statement was made in error, or complete naivety.  Sprint is already well behind the market in terms of offering prepaid 4G, and getting their offer to market will be necessary to stay in the game.  To stay ahead of the competition, they're going to need to be far more innovative than this!

SIMPLE Mobile Heats Things Up

MarketWatch (press release)
While I don't know that this press release reveals anything really new, generally speaking, I really like Simple Mobile's offering.  You can bring your own unlocked GSM phone or buy one from them.  Then select one of their well priced unlimited offers, and you're done.  It really is brilliant.  I think the key for Simple Mobile will be to continue to expand its distribution and brand awareness.  The only really key element that I see lacking is an easier way to guide customers to a source(s) of pre-owned, quality unlocked GSM phones.  If you don't already have your own phone, buying a nice mid- to high-tier smartphone from them is "simply" too expensive.  I'm currently seeking partnerships to help re-sell pre-owned unlocked smartphones; please contact me if you're interested.

Virgin Mobile to Throttle Smartphone Data in March
Smartphone users will start to see their speed reduced to 256kbps when they reach 2.5GB in a given month.  Really, this should not impact most users unless you're streaming a lot of Netflix or the like.  I think this is their strategy to deter heavy/free usage for customers who have rooted their phones to access the free hotspot feature.  So long as the data limits remain reasonable, and increase as people's normal usage evolves, I have no fundamental objections to reasonable throttling limits.

LG Marquee Android Smartphone Added to Boost Mobile Lineup
This 4" touchscreen, 5MP rear-facing and 2MP front-facing cameras, 1GHz processor, thinner than the iPhone smartphone actually gets really good reviews.  You can get it on Boost Mobile's website for $279.99, and you can expect that this price will drop close to $200 within a few months.  A nice option to consider for sure, though I would wait for at least the first price drop.

Cricket's Muve Music Reaches 500,000 Subscribers
At 500K subscribers on its unlimited music subscription service, Cricket's Muve is now second in the U.S. only to Rhapsody; not bad.  As it rolls out Muve to all of its phones (or at least all of its smartphones), no doubt we'll see this number grow substantially. Now just find a way to let us access Muve music on multiple devices (ex. a PC), and you've got a serious iTunes competitor!

MetroPCS to Offer Live TV
Metro partners with Mobile Content Venture to offer live TV to its customers; it will be called Dyle Mobile TV.  They don't mention whether it will cost anything additional, though I suspect it will.  I suppose the real question of the day is whether people watch live TV anymore?  Particularly if you're on the move looking to kill some time watching TV on your phone, why would you want to watch live TV?  Wouldn't you prefer to access your shows recorded on your home DVR, or be able to playback a recent TV show you missed, which allows you to play and pause at will?  I suppose only time will tell, but my prediction is that people won't want to pay for this service, and adoption will be insignificant.

Huawei Mercury Android Smarpthone Comes to Cricket Wireless
PC Magazine
With a 4" touchscreen, 8MP rear-facing and VGA front-facing cameras, 1.4GHz processor, and Android Gingerbread 2.3, some say this is the best prepaid smartphone on the market today.  With the screen quality, and the faster processor, it is certainly a contender for being a sleek and fast device, and at $179.99 it's arguably much better value than Boost's LG Marquee.  So there you have it, another step forward for the prepaid smartphone market.

Leap & MetroPCS Could Be Sweet Consolation Prize for AT&T

I included this article as a kind of comic relief, as well as another opportunity to caution those who put too much faith in financial analysts or unqualified market commentators.  Both Leap and Metro PCS operate on incompatible CDMA networks (compared to AT&T's GSM network).  If the Sprint-Nextel merger taught us anything is that this type of merger of incompatible technologies is more of a hassle than its worth; not to mention a costly proposition.  Yes, getting their spectrum would be nice, and yes, they're both rolling out 4G LTE networks (the same technology as AT&T's 4G network), however, there are far less synergies than value here.  Of course the scale of this topic is much smaller than the Sprint-Nextel deal was; nonetheless, to propose that this makes any sense at all is fundamentally least in my opinion.

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