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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #63, Sept 2013 - Prepaid Competition Heats Up With Nationwide Expansions!
September 01, 2013

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - September 2013 Issue #63


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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T-Mobile Expands MetroPCS To 15 New Markets
PC Magazine

Well well, what do we have here?!  A company (T-Mobile) actually following through on its pre-merger statement of expanding the Metro brand into new markets.  Perhaps I'm being cynical by declaring this a refreshing turn of events.  Notwithstanding the rumors that T-Mobile really only wanted MetroPCS' spectrum, this expansion bodes well for corporate America that has instilled a general lack of integrity and trust in recent years.  If AT&T follows through with its statement of expanding Cricket, it appears as though we'll have another Metro-Cricket face off, only this time around it will be at the national level!

AT&T Takes Aio Wireless Nationwide

Despite its statement following the announcement of the purchase of Cricket (Leap Wireless) that AT&T has not yet decided the fate of its newly launched no contract brand, Aio Wireless, AT&T is taking the brand nationwide in mid-Sept.  Whether this is to hedge against a potential failure of the Cricket deal to go through, or simply following through on its previous expansion plans, it's clear that AT&T is serious about its prepaid business, and isn't taking any chances as the no contract market continues to heat up.

AT&T Purchase Of Cricket Still Faces Opposition
NEW YORK (The Deal)
I'm certainly not surprised that there is opposition to the deal, as any consolidation within an industry is one step closer to a dangerous oligopoly.  However, in this case, Cricket is such a small carrier, which is still not even profitable, that it's either consolidation or bankruptcy in its horizon.  It's unlikely that Cricket can survive for any length of time on its own.  I think it's about time that the government allow natural competition (and survival of the fittest) to take its course.  There's simply too much meddling where it's not necessary helpful.

T-Mobile Sues AT&T Over Aio Use Of Magenta Branding

Oh my goodness gracious me; what do we have here?!  First, it's easy to conclude that T-Mobile's magenta is obviously different from Aio's purple.  The colors are so different that I doubt any trademark litigation involving colors would hold up.  Did Aio intentionally set out to appeal to prospective T-Mobile customers?  We'll likely never know for sure.  The bottom line is that if customers are only seeing the color as a the main differentiator, then Aio is in for a world of hurt.  T-Mobile should focus on its business and optimizing the customer experience, and not provide Aio/AT&T with additional attention, which legitimizes Aio as a viable competitor.

Verizon Launches New Upgrade Program To Compete With Prepaid Pressure

Verizon has followed in the footsteps of T-Mobile and AT&T with its own rendition of enabling earlier upgrades.  I'm not going to compare upgrade programs here, however, what I am trying to highlight is that postpaid as we've known it is on a rapid decline, and postpaid carriers know it.  With smartphone technology evolving so quickly, and device pricing continuing to decline, the value of signing a contract to get a lower cost phone will eventually be completely eroded.  These upgrade programs are postpaid carriers' response to meet customer needs, who are more and more opting for no contract plans.  The next generation may not even know the concept of postpaid wireless by the time it's their turn to make a wireless phone purchase!

Cricket Encourages Parents To Teach Kids Responsible Wireless Habits
SYS-CON Media (press release)

Having your kids sign a contract that outlines responsible cell phone use is a great way to bring these critical items to the forefront for open discussion.  Distracted driving, as well as abusive social activities are no doubt a growing concern, and parents need to take a proactive role by educating their kids from day one.  This is not, however, a novel concept.  I reported this type of contract when I interviewed the founder and CEO of kajeet, Daniel Neal, back in 2009, including a discussion on the topic of implementing a child cell phone contract.

Boost Takes 1st Place In Customer Satisfaction

Wireless and Mobile News

On the no contract front, Boost Mobile took the #1 position for the highest overall customer experience satisfaction.  MetroPCS, TracFone, and Virgin follow in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th positions, respectively.  Note, however, that the spread between positions is not always significant, so I would take the rankings with a grain of salt.  I believe that these rankings are more for corporations to judge themselves against one another, than meaningful data that prospective customers would actually use to make purchase decisions.  Reading these reports, however, is interesting to see how carriers are evolving directionally, and who remains the most consistent over time.

What's New At

  • Updated PTel network on Compare PAYG from Sprint to T-Mobile

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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