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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #106, April 2017 - New Unlimited GoPhone Plan; $5 FreedomPop Family Plan
April 01, 2017

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - April 2017, Issue #106


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's Odd New GoPhone Unlimited Data Plan

Ars Technica
I still don't understand the point of the GoPhone product in light of what AT&T is offering on Cricket.  It's likely one of those bureaucratic decisions that will result in a long slow death of GoPhone.  Anyway, they have a new plan, which offers unlimited data for $65 ($60/month if you signup for autopay).  However, it limits video to standard definition, speeds are capped at 3Mbps, and there's no hotspot capability.  Realistically you can accomplish almost anything with that speed, so most users may not even mind, however, you can get a better overall plan on Cricket, so I would argue that this new plan isn't offering anything compelling.  Nonetheless, it's still an option for GoPhone fans.

FreedomPop Launches New $5 Smartphone Plan

FreedomPop now has a new low end family plan (2-10 lines) for $5/month for 1GB of shared data.  They're [lamely] marketing it as a free plan, but then charge you a Family Plan Line Access Fee of $5/month per line.  Each of their plans have this fee, so they're artificially lowering their advertised plan price by $5.  I really do like FreedomPop, and we actually have one of their mobile hotspots in our family, however, I don't like this new marketing approach.  I think they'll lose customers who don't pay attention to the checkout process where that $5 fee is displayed, and later get upset.  Anyway, for low data users, it's a good value for unlimited talk and text, and 1GB of shared data.

Cricket Wireless Punishes High Maintenance Customers With Increased Fees

Prepaid Reviews
Since the beginning of time prepaid carriers have charged fees.  Those fees have definitely fluctuated over time, including disappearing and reappearing.  The reality is that they have always focused on getting customers to self-serve, pay on time, as well as pay automatically.  Cricket is playing around with its fee schedule again.  Keep in mind that it still offers $5 per month for automatic payments using a credit/debit card.  The bottom line is that customers need to be aware what their carrier charges.  If you're shopping around for a new provider, you'll want to make sure that your payment preference doesn't end up costing you more in fees (ex. in-store payments, or paying over the phone with a live agent).

Get 20% Off Mint SIM Plans

I recently added Mint SIM to the site as the latest MVNO entrant on the T-Mobile network.  You can checkout on their website using promo code TANDROID20 to get 20% off of their 6 and 12 month plans.  There's no indication regarding how long the promo code will work.  Although we often see MVNOs disappear as fast as they appeared, it's probably safe to say that they'll be around for at least a year, and if you use an unlocked phone, you can easily use it on another carrier.  That said, I think it's the longevity concern that is one of the greatest barriers for many MVNOs to grow; people simply do not want to bother taking the risk that the service won't be around in two or three years.  That said, if you're interested in trying them out, you should definitely use this code!

Lawmakers Still Trying To Get Prepaid Customers To Pay 911 Fee

Hawaii News Now
This law has been in the works for years.  The reality is that prepaid has gotten away with not paying this fee, while postpaid users have been paying it since the beginning of time.  There's a lame comment by the president of retail merchants in Hawaii stating that prepaid is only for the credit challenged and those on a fixed income.  I'm not sure if this is a negotiation strategy only, or if she's truly naive regarding prepaid's present day mainstream status!  Regardless, it's only a matter of time before prepaid users across all states will need to pony of dollars to support e911 services.

FreedomPop Launches Its Own Branded Smartphone

Prepaid Reviews
This was surprising news to me!  The cost, and value of branding your own phone tends not to be worth the hassle, particularly when a myriad of well known brands can be easily used with FreedomPop.  The FreedomPop smartphone is available in the UK and Spain, and is expected in the U.S. soon for $72.  As expected, it's a pretty low end phone, but decently capable at that price, and comes with the FreedomPop SIM that gets you started on their free service plan.  It's not yet known who the OEM of the phone is.  I expect that this is some FreedomPop executive's pet project with very little real business value, at least at this point in time.  Notwithstanding, it's great to see this little carrier growing and offering more options for phones and plans!

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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