Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- April 2016, Issue #94
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
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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
informed. I believe in brief, to-the-point
so that you can move onto other tasks in your day. Each
includes a link to the original story should you be interested in the
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nor do I get paid by any of the sites that I link to below.
are simply topics that I deemed interesting, and provide a link for you
to learn more, and I give credit to the source by listing their name
under the title. Enjoy!
New California Bill Seeks To Eliminate
Prepaid Wireless Anonymity
If this California bill goes through, every prepaid phone
sale, including SIM cards, would require the purchaser to provide a
valid form of ID to eliminate anonymity. People are stating
that these phones are being used by terrorists, and are often referred
to as "burner phones". The reality, however, is that they
could purchase a phone from outside CA, steal a phone, or simply use
fake ID when purchasing. One of the benefits of prepaid
phones has always been the ease of purchasing it; this new process
would be expensive and cumbersome to implement, administer, and
enforce. They're also great for simple privacy, for those who
don't want their personal information lying around in corporate
databases that are constantly getting breached.
I think it's fair to say this will not affect terrorism whatsoever, but
rather will place a burden on good people who prefer a prepaid option.
The CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) attempted
something similar many years ago; it never went anywhere as it was
simply too complex and expensive to deploy,
and garnered huge
resistance. I expect this bill will die a slow death!
The Big 4 Offer Free Calls And Text
The four major carriers are offering calling cost relief in response to
the tragic events in Belgium. Interestingly, Sprint is the
only one also offering free international roaming for those with U.S.
phones in Belgium, which seems like a far greater benefit than simply
calls originating from the U.S. Of course while it's great
that carriers regularly do this, it's hard not to think that their
fundamental motivation is marketing PR, as opposed to any real concern
per se. Regardless, it's good to know for those who need it;
hopefully they sent a text or other communication to customers
with calls to/within Belgium, so they can take advantage of this short
Sprint Shifting Away From "Lower
Quality Prepaid Customers"
Sprint is now stating that they're shifting their business away from
"low quality" customers to help improve their profitability.
They don't, however, articulate what that actually means.
Will they be focusing on getting Sprint subscribers and
divert marketing away from Boost and Virgin? Will they be
finally eliminating the Virgin brand altogether? In reality,
prepaid customers can be very lucrative if you know how to run a
prepaid business. In addition, if they had an appropriate
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program, prepaid customers would be a
straight revenue proposition.
There wouldn't be any phone
subsidy, and any payment made would simply be top line revenue.
For the longest time I believed that there was no real value to a lot
of the MVNOs given that the large carriers evolved to have solid
prepaid offerings. However, now I'm seeing that smart MVNOs
can target these "lower value" customers that Sprint and other carriers
no longer want. With the right management team implementing
intelligent offers, there could be a fantastic opportunity to build a
very profitable company while Sprint continues to bleed out!
Sprint Further De-Emphasizes Prepaid,
Leaving AT&T And T-Mobile To Take Prepaid Customers
Investor's Business Daily
The past several years has seen AT&T and T-Mobile heavily
invested in growing their prepaid
brands, while Sprint has been
struggling with how to manage their Virgin and Boost brands.
What I find humorous in this article is the statement that
Sprint has meaningfully pulled away from the prepaid market.
Other than some press statements, and some adjustments to the
Virgin plans (including eliminating payLo & Broadband2Go), they
still have a large prepaid presence with Boost, not to mention that
Sprint has hundreds of MVNOs riding its network, which largely focus on
the prepaid market.
Perhaps Sprint is looking to evolve to a passive prepaid strategy by
servicing MVNOs only, however, nothing at present reveals any
particular exit from the market. It's really an internal
brand struggle that they can't seem to reconcile. It also
seems pretty apparent that now that AT&T and T-Mobile are so
powerful in prepaid, Sprint can no longer compete, and is shifting
It's really quite amusing to see them
flailing around with no real
direction or strategy that anyone can understand. That said,
it's even more entertaining to read articles from so called prepaid
analysts who are supposed to be experts, who really have very little
knowledge of the industry, let alone the particular inner workings of
Sprint or any other carrier. Anyway, it will be interesting
to see what Sprint is up to after the next 12 months of its ongoing
Cricket Wireless Offers LG Spree
& Samsung Galaxy S7 Smartphones
This past month Cricket launched a lower end LG Spree, and the higher
end Galaxy S7 smartphone. It's always great to see more
options for prepaid. I was expecting that Cricket would have
organized around launching flagship phones at the same time as they
available on postpaid, however, this lag isn't too bad.
As nice as the S7 is, however, purchasing it unsubsidized
really would be hard to swallow at $650. Prospective buyers
will likely want to wait for a promotion of some type.
Ordinarily I would say that getting the previous generation
at this point would be a great deal as prices drop, however, with the
return of the microSD expansion slot, and water resistance, the S7 is
really a must have over the S6.
Project Fi Is Now Out Of Beta &
Available Without An Invite
Google's no contract wireless service that runs on the T-Mobile and
Sprint networks no longer requires an invite. The invite
approach is Google's standard way of controlling the roll out of new
products and services. It has
been in Beta for about a year.
During that period competition in the prepaid market has
intensified, resulting in Google's service plans no longer being as
competitive as they were when first announced.
Don't get me wrong though, it's still a good deal depending on your
usage needs. The most compelling part is that they will
actually credit you for unused data each month, so you truly only pay
for what you use. Also keep in mind that you are limited to
specific Nexus phones; you can't just port over any Android phone.
This largely has to do with how their service can toggle
between networks. That said, I expect this is likely a
software feature that could eventually be installed on any device in
the future. Though Google is probably seeking to keep close
control over the end-to-end customer experience at this point in time.
Boost Mobile Offers Half-Off To Attract
Family Plan Customers From Competitors
So Sprint is at it again, however, this time with its prepaid Boost
brand. When companies ditch innovation and leadership in
favor of competing solely on price, you know they're desperate.
That said, the prepaid market is very mature, and as a result
innovation really is a challenge, leaving a lot of carriers to compete
on price. This usually results in a race to the bottom until
the survivors are identified.
Anyway, here we've got an offer for those switching from a different
carrier for $60/month for two lines that each get unlimited talk, text,
and 10GB of high speed data, and unlimited 2G data thereafter. It
really is a great deal. HOWEVER, note the small print that
states that "prices and offers are subject to change without notice"
"Boost reserves the right to modify, extend or cancel [the]
offer at any time." This type of legalese is of course always
required, however, it does make you ponder how long you'll be able to
keep the plan. It's probably at least a year, and with the
ease of switching with cross-carrier compatible, unlocked phones, it
could be worth trying for those who don't mind the need to switch
carries later with likely minimal notice (ex. 30 days).
Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and
tell me what you think!
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