Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- August 2012 Issue #50
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
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This monthly email provides you
with a quick glance at what's in the news so that you can
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so that you can move onto other tasks in your day. Each
includes a link to the original story should you be interested in the
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Boost Mobile To Launch Sprint's Samsung Epic
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
postpaid business by offering too nice of a selection on prepaid,
they're now probably most concerned about gross ads. With
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
Virgin Mobile Discusses Virgin Stores Retail
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?
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
hanging out in a Virgin Mobile retail store? I predict that
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
step in the right direction, competing with Virgin is not going to be
easy. Also, maintaining the unlimited marketing message is
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
(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.!
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
Canada, Australia, and others to continue striving towards bringing
products to market that can meet customers'' needs and growing
T-Mobile Enters Phone Insurance Game For
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
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
carriers to operate, including the inherent fraud, to offer a
reasonable deductible. Also, don't forget that if you buy
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
buying into these sad insurance programs.
Verizon Wireless Black-Out Zones For Prepaid
The Birmingham News
This is a good, though somewhat long discussion. The net net
it is that prepaid (voice and broadband) on the major carriers, doesn't
share the same network coverage as do their postpaid plans.
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
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.
give them the rest of 2012, and even into the first quarter of 2013,
and then evaluate their position in the industry.
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