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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #87, Sept 2015 - Another MVNO Bites The Dust!
September 01, 2015

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - September 2015 Issue #87


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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BYO Wireless MVNO Is Going Away
Prepaid Reviews (blog)
It appears as though the Verizon prepaid MVNO BYO Wireless will be folding into Budget Mobile.  Subscribers should have already received notification of the change.  While change is always difficult for those involved, I've been saying for a long time that there are way too many MVNOs.  It's extremely difficult to build a profitable wireless company, and the choices consumer have make competition that much more fierce, not to mention confusing.  
Unlike the author of the linked article, I feel this consolidation is required, and not an overall loss to the industry.  In fact, whether Budget Mobile can survive is still in question, and it looks like growth by acquisition is one of their current strategies.  In wireless it's "grow or die"!

Boost Launches Amazing ZTE Warp Elite Smartphone
At $180 this is a very high end smartphone at a fantastically low price!  Check out the stats (high quality large screen, high megapixel camera, etc.), and add this to your list of contenters for your next smartphone.  This definitely appears to be ZTE coming in under cost to increase brand awareness and market share in the U.S.  Don't let the low price scare you into thinking it's low quality!

Consumer Groups Outraged by Telus' Unfair Seizing of Prepaid Funds
This is actually a really surprising development.  Telus (a Tier 1 carrier in Canada) prepaid users with a balance of $300 or more are being required to subscribe to a monthly plan.  First of all, I'd be surprised that there's a significant number of customers with balances that high.  It probably consists of glove box users who topup just prior to the expiration date of their balance to ensure that they don't lose money that's already on the account.  I actually have a phone that I use in this way for when friends and family visit from abroad.

Carriers don't like these prepaid balances as they represent a financial liability for them.  I can't imagine this will hold up in court, as it clearly violates the terms of the agreement.  They would at the very least need to grandfather any existing customers into the old rules, and apply this new rule only to new activations.  Take this as simply another sign of wireless carriers' struggle for profitability.

AT&T's GoPhone Users Get 4GB of Free Roaming Data
Wireless Week
AT&T is extending its Mexico and Canada play that it launched with Cricket to its GoPhone brand.  Though customers need to be on the $60 plan to get the 4GB of free roaming data.  I expect the race to the bottom for the Mexico-Canada-U.S. features/plans to play out in the next year.  I'm looking forward to what will come next.  I'm thiking it will be a global roaming play, though setting up cost effective internatinal relationships will take a little more time.  The value of the GoPhone brand is still questionable, though it continues to hang on.

Boost & Virgin Offer High Speed Data Add-On
RCR Wireless News
Sprint's prepaid brands, Boost and Virgin, are now offering high speed data add-ons priced at $5/GB.  Given the amount of data included in their existing plans, I'm not convinced this will have any real impact on customers' appeal to the brand.  That said, it really depends on customers' awareness of our personal usage.  I think it's still very common to have a fear of running out of data (even though there's no overages on prepaid), and there was previously no way to add extra data mid-month.

Their lowest priced plans already include 2GB (Boost), and 2.5GB (Virgin), which is likely more than sufficient for the average user.  And don't forget that even after these thresholds, you get unlimited throttled speed, and, of course, there's always WiFi.  Thus, is this offer really expected to carry true value, or is it more of a marketing technique to lure uneducated customers?

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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