Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- September 2012 Issue #51
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
Prepaid-Wireless-Guide.com 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
informed. I believe in brief, to-the-point
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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RadioShack No Contract Wireless Launching
RadioShack is launching its own branded (powered by Cricket) prepaid
wireless program on September 5th. The top tier smartphone
plan gets you a $5 discount over Cricket's similarly featured plan,
however, the question really boils down to: Does the market really need
another brand? RadioShack sells a lot of wireless; there's no
doubt about that. However, can it really pull in more revenue
with its own brand? I predict that the program will go bust,
ultimately shutting down within three years. Sorry
RadioShack, but this is simply a bad idea. Stick to your core
competency and perhaps add to your portfolio of available carriers.
Perhaps go as far as to get an exclusive on a fully featured
smartphone at a ridiculously low price, or a hot smartphone not
available anywhere else. But an entirely new brand, ugh.
I think you'll find that managing the program will be far
more complex and expensive than you realize, and won't bring in the
sales that you expect. It will be interesting to see how this
Virgin Mobile Finally Begins iPhone
So after receiving approval on their marketing plan from Apple, Sprint
will be promoting Virgin's iPhone for one month. Truth be
told, Sprint is only selling the iPhone on prepaid to help meet their
sales commitment to Apple. Time will tell whether customers
are willing to fork over the absurd amount of dollars for this device,
when equally, and arguably more feature rich Android smartphones are
available at half the cost. Also, with the iPhone 5 just
around the corner, a major price drop would be required to attract any
sales of the outdated iPhone 4.
Ready Wireless Makes Fortune 5000 List
Congratulations to Ready Mobile for making the list of 2012 fastest
growing private companies! With its new MVNO enabler
relationship with Sprint, I expect their revenues will continue to grow
Boost Mobile & Virgin Mobile To
Launch Their Own Samsung Galaxy Series Phones
In September Boost is getting the Galaxy S2 4G (WiMAX), and Virgin is
getting the Samsung Reverb. You can read the article for the
specs. The key point here is just to keep up with new
smartphones coming to town on prepaid. The options are
certainly starting to catch up to postpaid!
MetroPCS Launches Truly Unlimited 4G LTE
Plan For $55
The unique aspect of Metro's plan is that it's said to be truly
unlimited. That's in contrast to other prepaid carriers that
advertise unlimited data, but actually have a data allowance after
which they throttle speed to the point of dial-up or worse (i.e.
unusable except for app-based email). With growing customer
frustration around unlimited plans that aren't truly unlimited, this
type of approach is wise. They're marketing it as
promotional, which means they need to evaluate the impact in terms of
gaining new subscribers, versus the profitability of customers having
access to unlimited data. At that price point, with tethering
disabled, it should be sustainable.
Leap's Poor Financial Performance Ignites
Company Sale Rumors
Vision 2 Mobile
There have been rumors of a Leap sale or merger with MetroPCS for
years. However, its performance this year so far has been
extremely poor. Of course, one or two quarters, or even a
year of poor performance is not necessarily a prediction of future
performance. Wireless platforms have an 18-month lifecycle,
and turning the ship takes time, so good decisions can take time to
take effect. With a new CFO that recently joined the company,
hopefully it will be able to get its cash flow under control.
It's amazing that its CEO has survived this long after
leading the company into bankruptcy over a decade ago. Sprint
is the most obvious buyer given that it already has an MVNO
relationship, and has a proven track record of funding (not managing!)
prepaid brands. Cricket was smart to note that every option
is on the table, as that's probably the only comment that could
reasonable fend off analysts (who are usually unqualified in prepaid
wireless to really add value to the discussion, but that's another
story). Don't expect anything to happen this year.
Virgin Mobile Launches Samsung Feature Phones
Yes, feature phones (i.e. basic, non-smartphones) are still alive!
However, there are obvious signs that some prepaid wireless
providers are slowing down or even outright eliminating feature phone
launches. I've even seen dumbed down Android phones being
positioned as feature phones. In other words, paring down
Android (no access to Google Play, removal of smartphone app and data
features, etc.) is less expensive than managing the customization and
launch of feature phones that usually come with OEM software
interfaces. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as your basic
contacts, calendar, and navigation will feel similar and make a
transition to a smartphone much easier. In the meantime,
hardware running such a dumbed down operating system requires less
processing power, memory, and the like (i.e. lower cost).
Certainly we can all foresee a time where there's no such
thing as a feature phone, however, in the meantime, there are still
feature phone launches trickling in with little fanfare.
Simple Mobile Reduces Unlimited 4G Plan to
Not a bad deal for an unlimited 4G plan! Recall that Simple
Mobile runs on T-Mobile's network and was recently purchased by
American Movil, parent company to TracFone. They're a 100%
Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) business model, and one of the easiest ways
to get a prepaid iPhone (which, of course, doesn't currently have any
4G models). Hopefully Simple doesn't price itself
too low where it can't remain profitable. In the meantime, if
you have your own unlocked GM phone, Simple Mobile is certainly a no
contract provider worth considering.
Cricket Adds Muve Music To All Android Plans
Cricket is introducing three new Android plans that now all include its
unlimited Muve music service; no need for an additional add-on or
buying up to the top tier plan. I haven't heard anything
about Muve being added to its iPhone offering, however, I imagine
that's inevitable. Apple doesn't like looking like they have
an inferior product, however, they're also very difficult to work with
in terms of changing their devices for carriers, so perhaps a Muve app
is the only option. When information about that surfaces,
I'll certainly report on that!
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