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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #98, August 2016 - AT&T's Financial Results Saved By Prepaid!
August 01, 2016

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - August 2016, Issue #98


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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Note: I do not have any affiliation, nor do I get paid by any of the sites that I link to below.  They 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!

AT&T Bleeding Postpaid Customers; Makes Up With Prepaid

So AT&T lost 180K postpaid subscribers in the 2nd quarter, however, due to its success in prepaid, it gained 185K customers overall.  It stated that much of the loses were from postpaid feature phone users who are actually more costly to acquire and maintain than prepaid customers.  Unlike Verizon, AT&T has been investing heavily in prepaid as it sees the industry evolving away from contracts.  It definitely took them awhile to get this strategy on deck, however, it appears to be proving itself out with positive results.

Sprint's Boost Partners With Comcast
RCR Wireless News
Comcast has partnered with Sprint to offer Xfinity prepaid broadband and TV service in Boost mobile retail stores.  Since consolidating its Virgin and Boost brands into the Sprint mother ship, and laying off most of the employees who had operated the prepaid businesses over the past decade, Sprint has been bleeding prepaid customers while T-Mobile and AT&T's Cricket have been thriving.  I appreciate Sprint's efforts to expand their offering, however, there was no mention of any kind of bundles or special offerings.  Time will tell if they'll offer discounted pricing for cross product purchases; if not, this partnership is likely to see marginal to no benefit.

AT&T, Cricket and MetroPCS Step Up Competition
RCR Wireless News
These carriers are definitely serious about prepaid, and continue to step up the competition!  AT&T has a BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) smartphone offer on its GoPhone program, in addition to beefing up the data allowances.  Cricket has a $35, 2.5GB price (with autopay), and T-Mobile finally allows iPhones to be activated nationwide on its MetroPCS brand.  I think we can safely call 2016 as the inflection point where postpaid carriers are investing material resources in their prepaid brands, further blurring the lines between postpaid and prepaid.

Verizon Adds Throttled Unlimited Data To Stay In The Game
Ars Technica
When I first saw the numerous headlines on this topic I was thinking that Verizon was finally taking some initiative in prepaid by offering unlimited data at reasonable speeds (maybe even 3G).  However, I should have known that true to its DNA, Verizon is simply catching up to what prepaid carriers have been doing for years.  As opposed to simply cutting you off after your high speed data bucket is consumed, they're providing unlimited data at 128kbps.  It's amazing how this news on various sites was reported as some kind of innovation.  This is simply Verizon continuing it's strategy to creep forward and stay relevant...and barely relevant at that.

Boost & Virgin Launch $70 Alcatel Dawn Prepaid Smartphone

This smartphone is the lowest cost phone available on Boost and Virgin this year.  As a low end smartphone, it has a 4.5" WVGA screen, 1.1GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of memory, 8GB of storage, expandable microSD card slot, a 5MP rear camera, and a front-facing VGA camera.  While it's low end compared to today's standards, it's still a very capable phone running Android Marshmallow 6.0 with hotspot capability.  It really is a great value for those looking to spend less, and avoid lame financing contracts, but still have a very capable smartphone.

Cricket Expands Into 400 Sam's Club Locations
With wireless, and prepaid in particular, retail presence is critically important.  However, smart retail relationships are also key, as retail is known for low margins, and return policies that can destroy profits.  Unlike its seemingly desperate move into Game Stop stores, Sam's Club seems like a good partnership given appropriate terms.  A lot of mainstream customers still have never heard of Cricket, so this will definitely help expand awareness and legitimacy.  What do you think?

MetroPCS Launches Phone & Family Plan Promotions
DSL Reports
MetroPCS has a $60 off of ANY smartphone when you port your number over, and purports that can be used to get one of nine smartphones for free.  You can also now add a family line for $25/month and get 5GB of high speed data, though the main line must be activated on at least a $50 plan or higher.  The campaign targets Sprint by offering greater overall value, with lower prices and more data.  There's no doubt that T-Mobile is more than happy to strike at Sprint when it's down, and will surely have an impact as Sprint customers have been unsatisfied with coverage, data speeds, and customer service in general.

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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