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Prepaid Wireless Tracker #108, June 2017 - Prepaid Carriers Focus On Stealing Customers For Growth!
June 01, 2017
Prepaid Wireless Tracker
- June 2017, Issue #108
Now that prepaid wireless is fully entrenched in the mainstream, acquiring new customers is a lot about stealing them from other carriers. Hence Cricket's latest promotion of a $50 bill credit when you port your number over from any carrier except it's parent company AT&T. Existing customers are reminded that you can get a $25 bill credit for EACH new customer you refer using your personalized referral code that you can get from the Cricket Rewards app. New customers can bring your own phone, or get a free, albeit low end, smartphone upon joining Cricket.
Again in the spirit of stealing customers, T-Mobile will pay off your Apple iPhone or Google Pixel, as well as any early termination fees if you switch from Verizon. Your Verizon account needs to have been established for at least 60 days (to avoid people from activating a Verizon account and immediately switching!), and it will take 15 days on T-Mobile before they issue you a prepaid MasterCard to cover your Verizon expenses. i.e. You'll use this prepaid debit card to call Verizon and payoff what you owe, or payoff Verizon immediately, and use the card for personal expenses once received. You're better off taking the latter approach to minimize the amount owed on your Verizon account as most fees will be prorated. This really is a great deal if you've been on Verizon for a shorter period of time, and still owe a good chunk of money on your phone. At this point, however, it only works on these two phones, so unfortunately, Samsung customers are out of luck at this time.
US Mobile currently runs on T-Mobile's network, however, it appears as though they're inking a deal with Verizon as well. A benefit of MVNOs is that they can leverage partnerships with multiple carriers, effectively getting even better coverage than the larger carriers. Large carriers benefit from the extra traffic, which adds to the strategy of growing their business aside from directly stealing customers. Note, however, that carriers will often limit data speeds to ensure that these MVNO partnerships don't completely blow away their own business! Overall, however, this is great news for US Mobile, and I will follow the news to see when this becomes official.
Although T-Mobile continues to see growth in prepaid, it's stating that growth will slow. This is, of course, no surprise given that carriers have resorted to stealing existing customers as the well of truly new customers has shrunk dramatically. The key statement in this article is that T-Mobile refuses to put forth promotions that damage its profitability. Given T-Mobile's aggressive history, I actually find this hard to believe. We'll just have to see how things evolve over the rest of the year.
Republic Wireless is a T-Mobile MVNO that highly leverages WiFi data. New customers activating by June 6th can get 2GB of free monthly cellular data for six months. Currently you need to be on a $30 plan to get 2GB. All you need to do is bring your own Android phone, and get a Republic SIM card, which is free (but costs $4 for shipping). So you can activate their $15 plan (which doesn't come with any cellular data), and get this 2GB offer. While this is certainly a good deal, and 6 months feels like a long time, I personally recommend that you focus on the bigger picture when evaluating your options. If their plans meet your long term needs (2-3 years out), then jumping on this offer now is probably a good idea. If not, don't be fooled by the marketing blitz!
Boost is not immune to stealing customers either! With this promo, you can get 4 lines for $100, and includes 480p video, 500 kbps music, and gaming up to 2 Mbps. This multi-line offer looks a lot like Cricket's long time family plans, and is more subtle by focusing on value, as opposed to a direct port from the competition. The reality is that most new customers are naturally coming from other carriers anyway, whether from prepaid or postpaid, so overtly offering switching deals can come across as desperate. More than likely, however, they're taking this approach to avoid the ability for customers to do a direct price to value comparison on a straight switching campaign.
Cricket's $40 plan has been beefed up from 2.5GB to 4GB, while its $60 plan has increased from 10GB to 12GB. There's no mention that existing customers need to proactively make the change, however, I recommend checking your account to ensure you're getting the extra data. Increasing data allowances is an easy way to keep plans compelling, though without knowing how many customers will actually benefit from this change, it's hard to say whether it adds any true value. Customers currently on these plans may not even be close to the previous data limit, which would make this change more of a marketing strategy than a real customer benefit. That said, I'll take more data with no price increase any time you want to give it to me ;-).
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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