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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #68, Feb 2014 - Cricket Gets Super Aggressive With 5 Lines For $100!
February 01, 2014

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - February 2014 Issue #68


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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Cricket Launches Aggressive Family Plan Promotion
From January 6th through March 31st, customers can get 3-5 smartphone lines of service for $100.  It's basically their $50 smartphone plan with each line getting 1GB of full speed data (instead of the typical 2.5GB).  This is a very aggressive offer that is only available in company owned stores and premier dealers.  It's available to both new and existing customers, and really doesn't require that the lines be actual family members, nor even live at the same address.  Moreover, unlike its other ongoing promotions, it doesn't require that autopay be added to the account.  Adding autopay (which requires a credit/debit card or checking account) gets you another $5 off (i.e. $95 total).

It's interesting to note that Cricket doesn't have shared family plan capability, so it's really 5 separate lines joined on one account that qualifies.  They're promoting the fact that you don't have to worry about family members consuming your data, but the reality is that they don't have that capability.  The downside to this approach is that you can't take advantage of others in your group who don't use all of their data allotment.  Regardless, it's still a great deal!

T-Mobile Launches Prepaid Debit Card

Well, well, what do we have here; yet another carrier launching its own branded prepaid debit card.  I'm a big fan of prepaid debit cards (and actually launched such a program in the past), particular when there are no monthly fees, as is the case with T-Mobile's card.  However, there is no mention of any other benefit for using T-Mobile's card vs. any of the other myriad of prepaid debit cards currently available.  No doubt they will tie offers to it for T-Mobile wireless customers.  The question becomes whether it's rich enough to attract you.

These cards act very much like a virtual bank, meaning that the longer you use it, the more services you have tied to it, like direct deposit, bill pay, automatic bill pay, etc.  So switching to another card becomes painful over time.  The fact is that you're likely not going remain a T-Mobile customer forever, so personally, I'd prefer to go with a card that's not tied to my wireless service.  In addition, it's very common for these types of affinity cards be eliminated over time as companies realize that they are too expensive to operate, particularly given the plethora of other options customers have.  There would have to be a truly compelling reason(s) to go with this card in lieu of Green Dot's GoBank (among others), which also has no monthly fees.

Net10 Attempts To Stay In The Game - Adds New Data Plans

Net10 was definitely in need of revising its plan offers.  That said, while these new plans are acceptably competitive, they are in no way compelling.  That said, existing customer unwilling to move to another provider will certainly benefit.  When I think of Net10 it still makes me laugh given its silly and wholly irrelevant name.  TracFone named the brand at a time when $0.10 per minute was considered an absolutely amazing deal when prevailing prices were closer to $0.25/min.  To name a brand based on a product price point is simply odd (and even insane).  Perhaps most customers don't consider this oddity, however, the reality is that this brand is no longer relevant.

Verizon Offers Decent Smartphone To Its Prepaid Lineup
iTech Post

Not everyone wants a Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone, which are quite expensive on prepaid given that they aren't subsidized.  For those who want an extremely capable phone, and arguably more so than even an iPhone 5, the Moto G is a great option.  For $100 you get a high resolution 4.5" screen, a quad-core processor, and one of the later Android operating system promised to be upgraded to the latest shortly.  It really is a great deal that customers shouldn't overlook.  Verizon is one of the last carriers to see prepaid as truly important for their business.  While the launch of this smartphone isn't groundbreaking to say the least, it does show signs additional strides to inch forward in the prepaid space.  Come on Verizon, keep it coming!

AT&T To Attack No Contract Market With Cricket Brand
During AT&T earnings call they stated that the purchase of Cricket will close this quarter, including reaffirming their current prepaid brand, AIO, will be shut down in favor of an aggressive market attack using the Cricket brand.  There hasn't been any news to infer that the deal won't close, so it will be interesting to see what strategy they take in the latter half of the year to make good on their promise to get serious in the prepaid market.

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