Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- December 2013 Issue #66
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
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content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in
the prepaid wireless industry for over a decade.
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T-Mobile On The Attack
With MetroPCS Brand
Investor's Business Daily
notable success re-launching itself as the "uncarrier" (meaning no
contracts, device financing, additional included features, etc.),
T-Mobile went on the attack in late November with its classic prepaid
brand MetroPCS, which it acquired earlier in the year. That
has already seen early success, and has direct competitors like Cricket
taking notice. This past year has been a huge transition for
almost as if it were given a "do or
die" directive from its board of
Fortunately for them, and surprisingly so, it has shown
impressive success, with major players in the industry playing
catch-up. I honestly never thought they would see this kind
so quickly. It will be interesting to see whether T-Mobile
this momentum despite the increase in competition that they will
inevitably see during the coming year.
Verizon Offers Lame $5 Per Day No Contract
Data Plan For Connected Devices
Verizon is offering $5 for 300MB for one day of access; no
required. Many customers will initially find this appealing
caters to customers who only want short, quick access to non-multimedia
content (i.e. Internet browsing, email, Facebook, Twitter, and the
However, the per megabyte cost is extremely expensive.
Most customers are better off using local free hotspots, or
purchasing a no contract mobile hotspot modem, some of which now offer
pay-per-use plans, and even free service (though free services still
have limited coverage).
The reality is that this segment is a massive opportunity for carriers
that is brave enough to mass market a true per use prepaid data plan
where data doesn't expire. Customers simply don't want to
to a monthly data service when we only need access on occasion.
So all-in-all, don't get sucked into this seemingly
data option; there are better deals to be had with comparable
Verizon To Launch Moto G On Prepaid
Although the Moto G is considered a mid-
tier smartphone, the specs are
actually quite fantastic. For $179 it has a high
4.5" screen, 1.2GHz processor and 8GB of memory. While this
as exciting as a new Galaxy or iPhone announcement, it speaks to a lot
of prospective customers who want an extremely capable smartphone at an
excellent price; look for it early next year. I predict that
will prove to be the year where smartphone capability and price off
contract will severely depress the postpaid market as more customers
come to understand that prepaid is no longer the second class citizen
it once was.
Sprint Still Struggling With How To Break
Last Barrier To Additional Prepaid Growth
This issue is nothing new, however, for some reason, Sprint is only now
taking this topic
seriously. Now that phone selection is
sufficient to compete with the best of them, prepaid adoption now boils
down to the out-the-door cost of smartphones. T-Mobile and
Cricket spent the better part of 2013 rolling out device financing
programs to help alleviate this pain point. Early signals are
that it's working well. This article is long, but really
down to "Sprint needs device financing as well"...!
The article doesn't talk about this next point, however, an area where
it could have a competitive advantage over smaller prepaid providers is
its access to large inventories of used and returned (like new)
smartphones. For me, that's the obvious play for Sprint,
and AT&T. These carriers can also use their buying
(particularly now that Sprint is owned by Japan's SoftBank) to bring
down the price they pay to phone manufacturers. Ultimately,
Sprint needs to stop being so paranoid that
its prepaid business will
cannibalize its postpaid business, and get a lot more aggressive (i.e.
competitive) in the prepaid space.
Cricket Launches Refer-A-Friend Program
In an attempt to gain customers after reporting a net loss (in both
customers and revenue), Cricket fired up a refer-a-friend program
whereby the referrer and the referee each receive a $25 account credit.
Customers can earn up to $500 per year. Carriers
this type of program virtually going back to the beginning of time.
I expect it will help with some gross subscriber lift,
nothing anywhere near what they need to stop the bleeding. In
addition, customers willing to give up some personal information, could
use social media as a means of racking up the referrals to prospective
customers who aren't even friends. That said, even if such
of the spirit of the program happens, it
should still help to drive new
customer growth for Cricket. The real question is whether
can really get excited enough about $25 to sway their wireless carrier
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