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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #57, March 2013 - T-Mobile's GoSmart Brand Launches Nationwide!
March 01, 2013

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - March 2013 Issue #57


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.

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T-Mobile Launched New GoSmart Brand Nationwide
On February 19th, T-Mobile launched its new GoSmart service nationwide after a successful two-month trial.  This new brand is clearly targeting the lower end market with its lower entry price of $30/month.  However, even its $45/month plan offers a respectable amount of data that rivals other prepaid carriers that started throttling users last year.  Unlike the transition from 2G to 3G where the strategy was to get everyone off of 2G in favor of 3G, carriers are really playing up the speed bundles that include 4G data up to a limit, and then 3G kicks in.  GoSmart really highlights these differences between the available plans.  I expect this is due to providing an incentive to upgrade to higher priced plans, as well as a means of controlling costs as 4G is still not fully rolled out and optimized for high traffic.  T-Mobile also noted that they're trying to serve people who either don't need, or can't afford 4G service.  Also note that their phone selection is limited, which further narrows its market appeal, however, anyone with a compatible and unlocked phone can use it on their GoSmart plans, which shows that it's targeting potential defectors from other carriers looking for a better deal.

Verizon Wireless Makes Changes To Prepaid Plans - Continues To Limp Along
Verizon discontinued its $80 for 1GB in favor of two new plans: $60 for 500MB, and $70 for 2GB, both with unlimited talk and text.  While these are less pathetic that the previous plan, they're 3G only, and available only on select phones.  As the dominant (and very profitable) postpaid carrier, this prepaid strategy still makes sense for Verizon.  While it remains a sad alternative to other prepaid carriers, it continues to limp along in the prepaid space, probably to ensure that when it starts to see postpaid sales plummeting, it can quickly make changes to prepaid to actually get in the game.  In other words, rather than start from scratch, they're ready to play in the prepaid game when the time is right.  The time to compete is, however, not now!

Virgin & Boost Mobile Offering 4G LTE
While it will continue to offer 4G WiMAX until that network is shut down, Sprint Nextel announced a number of 4G LTE devices that will launch on its prepaid brands.  This makes a lot of sense as WiMAX is replaced with LTE.  Given that lead time, beginning to offer LTE now is a logical strategy.  The average customer may get confused, however, regarding the difference between the 4G technologies and coverage.  While WiMAX has much better coverage currently, over time the lifespan of WiMAX phones will be limited.  Hopefully the conversion to LTE will be done in a matter than ensures appropriate value for customers who have invested in higher end smartphones.  Offering LTE now also allows Boost and Virgin to sell the iPhone 5, which is the first 4G capable iPhone.  This will no doubt help Sprint to meet its sales obligations to Apple, which it has historically struggled with achieving.

GameStop Now Selling Net10 Prepaid Wireless Service (blog)
GameStop announced that it is now offering Net10 phones and service in its stores.  I suppose if you frequent these stores, it could be a convenient topup location, however, as a new phone sales location, I just don't get it.  Customers should not feel that GameStop is endorsing Net10 service and trust that it's the best option for them.  In other words, prospective prepaid customers should seek out stores that offer multiple prepaid brands in order to truly understand what service will best meet their needs.  While Net10 is a great option, shoppers should beware of blindly purchasing a service just because it's offered at a location they happen to frequent.  I wish retailers would stick to their core competencies, and stop getting greedy trying to get in on the prepaid wireless action!

What's New At

  • Published new page: History Of Smartphones
  • Updated T-Mobile $70 plan to unlimited 4G data on Compare Unlimited Plans
  • Removed Verizon from Prepaid Wireless Broadband Plans with note that now only offer 4G

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

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