Back to Back Issues Page
Prepaid Wireless Tracker #75, Sept 2014 - Prepaid Carriers Fighting Harder To Get Customers!
September 01, 2014

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - September 2014 Issue #75


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.

If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favor and "pay it forward."  If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe to Prepaid Wireless Tracker.

T-Mobile Increases Data By 4x To Complete With Sprint's New Pricing
In response to Sprint's recent competitive pricing change, T-Mobile has shifted its $40, 500MB plan to $45, 2GB.  That's definitely great value, particularly due to the fact that unlike Sprint, T-Mobile's plans are no contract offers.  Customers on the $40 plan can still keep their plan, however, new customers not needing more than 500MB now essentially get a $5 price increase over what they would have previously had to pay.  Keep in mind that the average user uses within 2GB per month; 500MB would be considered low usage in today's world.

AT&T's Cricket Reacts To T-Mobile With Switching Rewards

Bidness ETC

Following T-Mobile's incentive, offering new customers defecting from other carriers a year's worth of free unlimited data, AT&T's Cricket brand is now offering $100 bill credit to customers switching from T-Mobile/MetroPCS.  There's no doubt that ALL carriers are competing heavily in the prepaid space as postpaid continues to decline.  However, customers should remember to look at the long terms benefits of carriers you're considering.

Yes, $100 or a year of unlimited data is nice, however, switching carriers can be a pain if you can't bring your phone with you.  So don't forget to consider the value of the plan in the long term, other available plans you may want to switch to as your usage needs change (for example, Cricket doesn't offer mobile hotspot functionality on its new plans), network coverage, customer service, etc.  Chasing the latest coupon doesn't always yield the best long term cost or overall better experience!

Virgin Mobile Offers Social Network-Only Data Plans

Virgin Mobile is now offering, via its Walmart-specific plans, the ability to pay for unlimited access to specific social apps.  Namely, for $5 per month you can get unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, or get all of the apps for $15 per month.  This type of usage by app simplifies things for customers who no longer have to worry about how much data we need to be buying when not on unlimited high speed data plans.

It does, however, call into question the idea of Net Neutrality, which generally states that there shall be no distinguishing/discrimination amongst any particular content that is available on the Internet.  Here you're paying for access to a particular site/service for unlimited access.  It's arguably a grey area, and personally, for those with limited data needs via these and other apps, this type of offering makes a lot of sense.  We can definitely expect to see a lot more of this in the near future.

Microsoft And TracFone Partnership Offers Free Phone to Diabetes Patients
TechRadar UK

Microsoft, TracFone, and Health Choice Network have partnered to trial a smartphone application that will remind participating diabetes patients to refill prescriptions, display reminders to talk to their doctor when the phone receives calls from their doctor, etc.  Participants receive a free Windows phone and TracFone service.

I'm not convinced that a free phone and service are necessary to trial this medical care application.  It's likely more of a marketing stunt to gain attention for Windows phones and TracFone service, however, it's good to see smartphones adding to the quality of life.  If successful, and once all of the bugs are worked out, I expect the app would become widely available across more popular iOS and Android smartphones.

Pay-As-You-Go Plans On The Decline
Buffalo News

Prepaid no contract wireless began by servicing customers who were either credit-challenged and couldn't get approved for a postpaid plan, couldn't afford a monthly plan, or otherwise wanted to stay anonymous.  As the prepaid market has been going upstream to capture the more profitable market, pay-per-minute plan availability has been quickly decreasing.  There are still, however, customers who can't afford, or otherwise do not wish to have a monthly plan.

Finding these types of per use plans has become more difficult.  That said, while they are decreasing in popularity and availability, they still do exist.  Carriers typically don't market them, so you'll need to hunt around on their website, or use this site to see what's available.  I doubt that these plans will disappear altogether, so there shouldn't be any cause for alarm just yet!

T-Mobile to Launch “Simply Prepaid” Combo Prepaid Carrier Brand
Android Headlines - Android News

So here's a very odd strategy from T-Mobile.  They're taking four of their prepaid wireless MVNOs, and combining them (still as separate brands) into a offering call "Simply Prepaid".  It's bizarre because the value of an MVNO is to target a specific demographic, including geography, and even distribution channels.  This announcement infers that all four brands would be marketed together for customers to choose from.  From a customer perspective, one aspect of MVNOs that can get extremely confusing is that their plans tend to be very similar as they try to compete in a crowded marketplace.

T-Mobile, GoSmart Mobile, Univision Mobile, and Ultra Mobile will make up Simply Prepaid.  Perhaps this is a strategy to minimize price competition in order to keep profits healthier with the promise of this strategy helping to grow each of the MVNOs overall.  In my opinion, this is a failing strategy that will confuse customers and dilute the value of each of the brands overall.  In the long run, expect T-Mobile to kill off these other MVNOs as they fold any unique features and value propositions into the T-Mobile brand.  I'll certainly be keeping my eye on how the actual implementation of this strategy play out!

RadioShack Kills Its No Contract Wireless Brand

The day that RadioShack announced that it would launch its own prepaid brand (powered by Cricket) I stated that it would fail.  With even minimal knowledge of the prepaid space and the RadioShack brand, the fact that this was a bad idea was obvious.  Their program offered no value beyond the Cricket brand that was already being sold in RadioShack, and as a retail destination (for anything really) it offers no value either.

The fact is that RadioShack is likely to declare bankruptcy in the not-too-distant future.  Please don't get me wrong, I don't like to see companies fail, however, when an obviously poor strategy is executed, no tears will be shed; sorry....

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

View Prepaid Wireless Tracker Back Issues.           

Prepaid Wireless Guide Logo

Back to Back Issues Page