Back to Back Issues Page
Prepaid Wireless Tracker #50, August 2012 - Sprint Continues Beefing Up Prepaid Smartphone Lineup!
August 01, 2012

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - August 2012 Issue #50


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.

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.

If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favor and "pay it forward."  If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe to Prepaid Wireless Tracker.

Boost Mobile To Launch Sprint's Samsung Epic 4G Touch
Android Authority

This news is consistent with Sprint's recent activity of dumping some pretty high end phones onto its Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile prepaid brands.  Where they were previously hesitant to cannibalize their postpaid business by offering too nice of a selection on prepaid, they're now probably most concerned about gross ads.  With prepaid on fire, they might as well leverage their access to handsets from their postpaid business to beef up acquisitions, even if it's on the prepaid side.  I also have to note that the author is mis-informed if he truly believes that the selection of smarpthones on prepaid is poor.  While there's still work to be done to be on par with postpaid, there's certainly plenty of selection.  Hopefully this phone will come in under $350 to show the value you can get on prepaid.  iPhone pricing that we've seen is a function of Apple's arrogance, and not prepaid carriers desire to charge exorbitant prices on prepaid.

Analysts See 33% Prepaid Wireless Penetration

Yes folks, the analysts are predicting a third of all wireless will be prepaid in the next 12 months.  Though I'm not sure how much computing power it takes to make such a prediction, it's clear that the rest of mainstream America is catching onto the fact that no contract wireless simply makes sense.  Within the next 24 months, assuming appropriate consumer education, there's no reason to believe penetration can't be a 50% and growing.  Once phone selection catches up to postpaid, there won't be any real reason to sign a contract for those of us calculating our total cost of ownership, and not focusing on getting an inexpensive, or free phone upfront.

Wipit Enables Web Merchants to Accept Cash
Virtual-Strategy Magazine

For those interested in the mobile payments market, this is certainly a good step forward for wipit, which is a new transaction processor that provides customers who prefer to pay with cash options for doing so on mobile devices, and now on the Web.  I like watching payment companies put together these deals.  However, for some reason, wipit smells like a company looking to create some patents and intellectual property in order to cash out by selling the business to PayPal, Google, or other big players seeking to gain a foot-hold in the payment space.  Not that such an objective is bad; it isn't.  I only wish I had thought of the idea first!  I'm just predicting that it either partners (i.e. sells out) to a bit company, or be gobbled up by said big players.  I hope for their sake it's the former.

Virgin Mobile Discusses Virgin Stores Retail Strategy
MediaPost Communications

So Virgin is opening retail stores and seeking to make them cozy, friendly, and community oriented.  I like the concept, which smells very Apple-esque, no?  Can Virgin pull it off?  I don't know that many companies call pull of the spirit of an Apple store, and I think parent company Sprint has some challenges ahead of it to accomplish this goal.  As a customer, would you see yourself hanging out in a Virgin Mobile retail store?  I predict that it will be marginally successful, but not enough to pull off a positive business case.  I suppose only time will tell!

Cricket Beefs Up Broadband Plans & Introduces New Lower $30 Price Point


Cricket seems to desperately be trying to stay competitive in the prepaid mobile broadband space.  While these new plans are a good step in the right direction, competing with Virgin is not going to be easy.  Also, maintaining the unlimited marketing message is going to hurt them in the long run.  Yes, the plans are technically unlimited, however, once you reach your high speed data allowance, you drop down to dial up speeds.  As the article notes, they need 4G (i.e. LTE) fast (pun intended!) in order to stay in the game.

Telstra Launches Prepaid 4G Hotspot

Yes, there is prepaid wireless life outside of the U.S.!  Telstra is Australia's largest 4G carrier, and they're finally getting on the no contract bandwagon with a 4G hotspot modem.  So, yes, the entire globe is moving to prepaid, as Europe first demonstrated to be a successful model over a decade ago.  Now it's time for the U.S., Canada, Australia, and others to continue striving towards bringing products to market that can meet customers'' needs and growing expectations.

T-Mobile Enters Phone Insurance Game For Prepaid
Prepaid Reviews

If you're a Monthly 4G customer, you can now buy phone insurance for $7 a month.  I like the idea of insurance, particularly when you spend several hundred dollars or more on a handset.  HOWEVER, virtually every insurance program I've seen these days has a deductible that's far too high to make it worthwhile.  Really, anything more than $50 is just too high for a deductible.  You're better off buying a previously enjoyed handset compatible with your carrier's network on eBay.  These programs are simply far too expensive for carriers to operate, including the inherent fraud, to offer a reasonable deductible.  Also, don't forget that if you buy your phone using a credit card, they often cover damage or loss within 90 days (for any reason), and double warranty coverage for up to an additional year.  So be sure to check your bank for details before buying into these sad insurance programs.

Verizon Wireless Black-Out Zones For Prepaid Broadband
The Birmingham News

This is a good, though somewhat long discussion.  The net net of it is that prepaid (voice and broadband) on the major carriers, doesn't share the same network coverage as do their postpaid plans.  This is a technique to allow them to both support lower prepaid pricing, as well as to help to minimize cannibalization of their postpaid business by customers leaving to go on prepaid.  This article is a good reminder that you need to check your carrier's prepaid coverage map (better to do so before buying a phone!).  Usually it won't be an issue as it's mostly their roaming parters that we don't have access to, however, for some this will be a critical point.

MetroPCS Loses Customers For First Time In Its History


So Metro lost 186K subscribers in the second quarter, which is the first time ever that it has reported a loss; ouch.  That said, these are dangerous times in the prepaid industry, so hopefully investors won't panic.  Looking for consistent, year over year positive results in more important than one bad quarter.  Let's give them the rest of 2012, and even into the first quarter of 2013, and then evaluate their position in the industry.

What's New at

  • Launched new sitewide design!  Please let me know your thoughts.  Also, please be patient as I need to manually update hundreds of pages in order to align them with the new design.
  • Re-wrote 22 pages to ensure that they're relevant and up to date

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

View Prepaid Wireless Tracker Back Issues.           

Prepaid Wireless Guide Logo
Back to Back Issues Page