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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #61, July 2013 - AT&T Makes Moves Attempting To Stay Relevant In Prepaid
July 01, 2013

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - July 2013 Issue #61


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.  The content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in the prepaid wireless industry for over a decade.

This monthly email provides you with a quick glance at what's trending 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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AT&T Allows Smartpones On GoPhone
AT&T now finally offers smartphone plans on its prepaid GoPhone program.  But before getting too excited, the included data is extremely uncompetitive.  This change was much needed, and hopefully sets the stage for ultimately increasing its data plan allowance to something more practical to keep the brand afloat in the market.

AT&T Allows Aio to Offer 4G LTE
Light Reading

This shift to 4G occurred much faster than I predicted.  This is a wise decision for AT&T.  Given the evolved state and marketing around 4G in the prepaid wireless market in general, Aio would have difficulty establishing itself as a legitimate alternative prepaid brand.  Even lower budget customers want speed, and don’t want to feel like second class citizens using an outdated network.

TAG Mobile Launches Prepaid Wireless
The Prepaid Press

TAG Mobile rides on both the Verizon and Sprint networks to provide nationwide no contract service.  Their plans are fairly competitive (certainly much more inspiring than AT&T GoPhone!), and once they launch their BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program, they will have a much broader consumer appeal.  TAG also participates in the Lifeline free cell phone service for qualified low income households.  This carrier could be a good alternative depending on your specific needs.

T-Mobile Allows Bring Your Own Device On MetroPCS

MetroPCS stores will now be able to activate certain AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint devices on T-Mobile’s GSM network in defined markets.  This is a huge win for customers, who can use certain iPhones, Android smartphones, and Windows Phone devices on MetroPCS’ lower cost plans.  I believe that BYOD represents the future of the industry (similar to Europe), where OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Apple, etc. focus on creating unique devices that can be activated on an carrier.  Carriers’ involvement in morphing handsets and dealing with warranties and repairs, and OS updates, contributes to an overall deteriorated customer experience. 

Virgin Mobile Finally Gets iPhone 5

It’s important to report that Virgin will have the iPhone 5 available for sale, even though this “news” is far from inspiring as it’s been a year since the iPhone 4 was available on Virgin.  This delayed launch is no doubt due to Sprint’s desire to keep hot new smartphones limited to its postpaid brand, which it deems more profitable.  When Sprint starts to get concerned about its iPhone sales quota not being met, no doubt that Boost will also get this [dying] iconic phone.

Verizon Seeking To Acquire Canadian Prepaid Carrier Wind Mobile
CBC News

This is really interesting news.  Wind is a small carrier in Canada that doesn’t have nationwide coverage, so competing in Canada against the big three (Rogers, Bell, and Telus) will take a lot of time and massive infrastructure investment.  Even if they were to compete and become the number one carrier in Canada, so what?  The Canadian market is so small, that it would represent a rounding error when compare to Verizon's overall revenue and profits.  It seems as though using access to the Canadian market with North American plans (within their U.S. plans), would provide additional competitive advantages for their U.S. business, which may be their main objective.  I get a lot of inquiries from U.S. customers looking for the best carrier/plan when traveling to Canada.  I look forward to hearing more from Verizon when they’re willing to discuss their strategy.  That said, they will be unlikely to reveal too much too soon.

On a side note, the fact that the stock prices of the Canadian carriers dropped on the day of this announcement show how absolutely ridiculous the stock market is.  Nothing about those carriers’ assets or value has changed.  Even if Verizon does enter that market, it will be years before anything material happens that would erode the profits of the incumbents.  I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the fundamental workings of the pathetic stock system.  That’s why Warren Buffet looks at real company value, and compares it to the stock price (which has very little to do with real value)…but I digress…

Boost & Virgin Mobile Get Samsung Galaxy SIII
Wireless and Mobile News

So Sprint finally releases the Samsung Galaxy SIII on the likes of Boost and Virgin.  While it’s certainly a great smartphone, it’s pretty old news given that the Galaxy S4 hit the market three months ago.  In my opinion the price needs to drop another $100 before being a truly compelling offer.

What's New At

  • Added Cricket Samsung Galaxy S4 to 4G Phones
  • Added Boost Mobile HTC One SV & Boost Force to 4G Phones

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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