Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- November 2012 Issue #53
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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FreedomPop's Free 4G Mobile Broadband Now In
Limited Live Beta
been looking forward to the launch of this service. It's an
interesting model that could really take off. The current
that coverage is limited, so while they allow me to order the modem, it
won't work where I currently live, work, and play, so testing it isn't
feasible. Also, without 3G backwards compatibility, even
those in 4G
markets will have coverage issues as they move around (unless they stay
in one general location, which isn't in the spirit of mobile
broadband!). They say that they're going to have this
later, hopefully shortly after the Beta test is completed (no end date
on that yet either). Anyway, I'll certainly report back when
I get my
hands on one when coverage is available in my area!
MetroPCS Gets Flagship
Samsung Galaxy S III!
there you have it ladies and gentlemen. With the availability
iPhone 5 shortly after national launch on Cricket and other regional
carriers (not Metro), and the Galaxy S3 also available on prepaid not
too long after its debut, prepaid has officially entered the realm of
the mainstream. Prepaid wireless is no longer for the credit
challenged or so-called low end market. It's literally taken
since I first began preaching that prepaid would catch up to postpaid,
and that time is finally here. The future possibilities are
we will continue to see the postpaid market decline even more rapidly.
I don't like to do this often, however, for those nay sayers,
now is the time to say "I told you so"!
Net10 Adds Family Plans
Net10 (part of TracFone) now offers family plans, which basically
allows you to add a line to their unlimited plans at a discount.
While this concept isn't anything new in wireless, it's just
starting to proliferate in the prepaid wireless world. In
addition to the discount you get from adding lines, it makes billing
and payments more convenient for families. We should expect
to see additional prepaid providers offer and market family plans,
which can also be extended to serve small businesses.
Cricket Eliminates Its Daily Plan Offer
Cricket is streamlining their offerings by discontinuing their daily
plan. This is a good thing. There have been
essentially two flavors of daily plans in the market over time; the
first being one that charges you a daily fee regardless of whether or
not you use your phone (Cricket's plan was like this). The
second flavor only charges you on days that you use your phone.
For occasional users, the latter approach can be a great
deal, even at $2/day. However, that model is rarely
profitable for carriers, which is why it has not been widespread, and
pricing on such plans has increased over time. The fact is
that if you use your phone occasionally, a per minute plan should be
just fine. For occasional users with more usage, there are
plenty of bucketed monthly plans that don't cost as much as monthly
unlimited plans. Daily plans are an unnecessary, and often
confusing option for customers to think about and for carriers to
maintain and manage. Good decision Cricket!
Verizon Now Allows iPhone
4 & 4S On Prepaid
Prepaid Reviews (blog)
This is both encouraging and amusing. Verizon has
historically been very proactive to ensure that prepaid does NOT have
any chance of cannibalizing its thriving postpaid business, with
uninspiring prepaid plan price points, and lack luster phones.
So now that the iPhone 4 series is beyond old news and at the
end of its lifecycle, Verizon is allowing it on prepaid.
There's some exaggeration there, as the iPhone 4, while old,
is still a good buy for many people, particularly on postpaid, and the
inventory of new and used handsets is certainly plentiful.
This is Verizon taking additional baby steps towards becoming
more competitive in the prepaid space. Undoubtedly, they'll
continue to lag behind in prepaid until they see postpaid declining too
rapidly to bare.
PrepaYd Wireless Now Allows Bring
Your Own Sprint Phone
While I think the title of this article is a little suspect (which is
why I changed it here!), the fact that you can activate certain Sprint
handsets on PrepaYd Wireless plans is a great evolution of their
service. I suspect the restrictions are largely to help to
avoid losing iPhones, and other higher end phones to Sprint's MVNOs.
When you think about it, it seems so feckless for carriers to
spend so much time and money customizing their phones. Just
let OEMs compete on hardware, and let customers activate phones on any
service they desire. i.e. Carriers need to exit the handset
(and corresponding handset subsidy) part of the business.
Carriers need to focus on plans and customer service, and
leave the hardware open. One only needs to look at the
European model to see how well such an approach can work.
Cricket Launches ZTE Engage Smartphone
Cricket continues to stretch its reach to the higher end, and this
smartphone certainly helps. With similar specs to the
original HTC EVO, it's not wholly inspiring, however, does pack some
punch with its $250 price tag with no contract required.
T-Mobile USA To Gobble Up MetroPCS
Waiting only for FCC approval, the "merger" between T-Mobile and
MetroPCS is pretty much a done deal. While they're calling it
a merger, it's really an acquisition of Metro by T-Mobile (with some
funky dancing due to T-Mobile's foreign ownership), but we'll leave the
semantics to those that truly care. T-Mobile executives have
been quoted as saying that they really just want Metro's spectrum,
which is hard (and expensive) to come by these days. Whatever
the case, expect other carriers to be launching campaigns to poach
Metro customers where possible!
Virgin Mobile USA To Eventually Get
I'm honestly not sure why the speculation as to the launch
timing/delay. Clearly Sprint wants to capitalize on the
iPhone 5 rush for its postpaid business before offering a competing
prepaid product. Yes, the Virgin version will be much more
expensive, however, Virgin Mobile plans are a much better deal, and
savvy customers are likely to prefer a Virgin iPhone. It's
kind of sad for me to have to state the obvious...
AT&T Brings Down Prepaid
Smartphone Plan Price
AT&T dropped its smartphone plan from $75 to $65 for unlimited
voice, text, and 1GB of data. While it's better than
Verizon's $80 plan, it's still not very competitive with the rest of
the market, though certainly an important step closer to being in the
realm of reasonable. Other prepaid carriers still offer more
data for the same or lower price, however, as the market in general has
started to veer away from unlimited data on smartphones (even on plans
dubbed unlimited), AT&T is now within the stratosphere, which
is a good thing.
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