Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- January 2013 Issue #55
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
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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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Karma Launches Mobile Hotspot And True
new company is offering 1GB of 4G data for $14, plus you get 100MB of
free data each time you share your connection with a new user.
essentially combines the concept of FreedomPop (social sharing for free
data) and TruConnect (pay-as-you-go data that never expires).
this concept, and hope that the company can show respectable growth in
2013. I'm itching to test the service, however,
don't offer 4G coverage where I live, and they don't currently have any
modems that are backwards compatible to 3G. Once I'm able to
I will certainly post a review on the site!
PlatinumTel Re-Launches As PTel Mobile
This is an interesting play. The article discusses
PlatinumTel launching a new prepaid brand PTel, however, the fact is
that they're simply re-launching the company under a new brand (and not
a very creative re-branding if you ask me). In other words,
they're killing the PlatinumTel Brand. I don't know enough
about the inner workings of the company to speak to why they simply
didn't just launch new plans under the PlatinumTel brand.
Maybe it has to do with switching from the Sprint network to
T-Mobile, or perhaps their financials were so poor that only a complete
re-work would appease investors. That said, with the name
PTel, and a new logo, I'm not sure how that really helps.
Their plans are competitive, however, in the sea of small
MVNOs, and the big carriers investing heavily in prepaid, I don't
personally understand how PTel can differentiate themselves enough to
stay afloat. I predict a rocky 2013 for this MVNO trying to
re-invent itself in a brutally competitive no contract wireless market.
T-Mobile Launches New GoSmart Brand
So T-Mobile is launching a new no contract wireless brand. It
makes a lot of sense given its intense focus on prepaid in 2012,
essentially shifting the entire company in that direction. A
new brand will allow it to test various plan offerings without further
disrupting its already fragile T-Mobile brand re-positioning.
Unlike the PlatinumTel re-branding, T-Mobile actually shows
some promise with a multi-brand approach. I expect T-Mobile
to put some fear into the classic prepaid carriers this next year as
they continue to make aggressive moves in this crowded market.
Boost Mobile Throttles Data But Keeps
Unlimited Branding - A Marketing Copout!
Ok, let's call this what it is: Boost is jumping on the bandwagon and
limiting its unlimited plans. All carriers (postpaid and
prepaid) have always had "reasonable use" clauses that allows them to
shut off customers' accounts who are using too many minutes or too much
data on its unlimited plans. This is a good thing, as it
really only affects abusers who are literally using 10 times, 20 times,
or more minutes or data than even the highest usage customers.
This allows them to keep costs as a low as possible for the
average user. However, now carriers are essentially
throttling (i.e. cutting down your data speed) to pathetically useless
speeds (that more than just abusers will hit). And the worst
part is that legally/technically, they're still offering unlimited
usage, because even after your high speed data allocation is consumed
you'll still have data access. It's a pathetic, and very
pervasive marketing approach to help improve profitability without
eliminating the "unlimited" branding. I personally encourage
carriers to strive for better profitability, which is good for
everyone; however, just call it what it is, and do away with
"unlimited". ex. Please just advertise that you get unlimited
talk, text, and 2.5GB of 3G/4G data for $55, and don't try to tell me
it's a $55 unlimited plan! The fact that so many internal
carrier lawyers are approving this technicality is just sad.
The spirit of unlimited is clearly being violated, and
customers deserve better.
Clearwire Looking To MVNOs For Growth
When your own brands fail to succeed, the MVNO market is a decent
strategy for growth; let others worry about building brands and signing
up customers while you focus on maintaining a decent 4G network.
In December, both kajeet and Karma announced that they would
be riding Clearwire's 4G WiMAX network for their data. This
is a great way for these small carriers to gain access to 4G.
It allows Clearwire to squeeze out as much cash as it can
from its legacy WiMAX network, while it rushes to build out its 4G LTE
network. All this while Sprint is in the midst of taking back
control of Clearwire, which it formed in the first place, and while
Sprint simultaneously loses 70% control of its company to Japan's
SoftBank (i.e. it's selling the company!). Oh boy, what a
mess! 2013 will certainly prove to be an important year of
additional bankruptcies and consolidations as wireless struggles to
return to profitability, and prepaid further solidifies itself as the
only viable long term wireless strategy.
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