Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- January 2017, Issue #103
wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry. At
Prepaid-Wireless-Guide.com 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
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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do not have any affiliation,
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!
2016 Showed Steady Prepaid Growth
Unlike previous years, we didn't see any hockey stick growth in the
prepaid segment, nor any ground breaking offers. 2016 was
really a year of steady growth across virtually every carrier.
Even Verizon showed real moves in prepaid, which it had
neglected for essentially the past decade. As carrier
networks improved in both quality and efficiency, we saw increased
competition with data bundles, though truly unlimited high speed plans
remain a phenomenon of the past.
The expansion of family plans, including data sharing was popular,
along with the introduction of data carryover as a means of
"innovating" with data while avoiding unlimited offers. We
also saw carriers move completely away from phony marketing of
"unlimited" plans, which confused and infuriated customers when they
learned that after their high speed allotment was depleted, they would
get pathetic 2G (or even 1X) speeds. Lifeline programs also
saw healthy activity, including Sprint's acquisition of Access Wireless.
Smartphone selection remained strong, and we definitely saw T-Mobile
and Cricket dominate, while Sprint continued to struggle. It
will be interesting to see how 2017 unfolds. I don't expect
anything revolutionary, but rather increased
pressure on price and data
allotment competition. No doubt though, that there will be
some great deals to be had for prepaid customers!
Lifeline Now Available For Broadband
December 1st, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) approved the
extension of the Lifeline program for low income households to
broadband service. This includes both fixed home and mobile
It's basically a $9.25 subsidy that can be applied to any
service or voice and data bundle. As a result, households
advantage of Lifeline's wireless service will now have data access as
well. With this change has come the expansion of smartphones
of legacy feature phones. I dedicated a new page specifically
topic, which you can find at the link above.
Prepaid Wireless Customers Now Charged 911
The Lane Report
This fee has been a long time in the making, and has been rolling out
around the country. Initially prepaid wireless was basically
ignored, even though postpaid wireless customers have long since had
this fee added to their bill. These fees help to support the
911 network, so although no one likes fees, this is certainly for a
good cause. This is a testament to the growth and importance
of the prepaid market, which is now so large that states are hungry for
this additional revenue.
Each reload will now cost you 93 cents additional, which is actually
NOT trivial. Considering that I pay $1 every 90 days for my
emergency backup prepaid phone, that's almost a 100% increase in cost.
For the more
typical plans, this still represents a
non-trivial increase in cost for the lower priced plans.
Note that this isn't the wireless carrier charging you this
fee; it's the retailer selling you the prepaid topup.
Unfortunately, with the success of prepaid comes these types
of fiscal responsibilities.
T-Mobile Digits Frees You From Your Phone!
T-Mobile Digits frees you from your phone & lets you use your
phone from any device, including access to multiple phone numbers!
It's like Google Hangouts on steroids, and far more
versatile. I felt the topic was so intriguing that I wrote a
dedicated page on the site to cover this topic; check it out for all
Are Unlocked Phones Worth
With the growth of no contract wireless came the increase in purchases
of unlocked phones, which is said to now be up to 12%. That
doesn't sound like a lot when compared to the rest of the world,
however, for the U.S. this is a huge shift. Google offered
the previous Nexus line, and now the Pixel, Amazon offers their
ad-supported Blu line, and most iPhones and Android phones can be
purchased at their no-contract price. Except for Amazon's
phones, you'll pay a hefty price to liberate yourself from a contract.
Though most carriers now also offer financing or leasing
I'm personally not a fan of financing/leasing, as this approach
essentially locks you into a contract, which needs to be paid off
before you can make a carrier switch. Regardless, if you can
afford it, buying an unlocked phone gives you supreme flexibility, and
I have no doubt is a trend that will continue
to grow in the coming
Cricket Still Has Holiday Promotions!
For those still looking for a sweet deal may want to check out Cricket.
Although they have limited supplies, and there are only a few
days left, you can get a certified pre-owned HTC Desire 512 for $0.99,
or the following smartphones if you switch carriers: LG
Escape 3 ($19.99), Samsung Galaxy Amp 2 (FREE), Microsoft Lumina 650
(FREE). These are not top-of-the-line phones, however, are
extremely respectable, particularly for the price. If you do
select Cricket, don't forget to signup for autopay, which gets you $5
off every month.
Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and
tell me what you think!
Wireless Tracker Back Issues.