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Prepaid Wireless Tracker, January 2011 - 2010 was the year of prepaid smartphone proliferation!
January 01, 2011

Prepaid Wireless Tracker - January 2011 Issue


Prepaid wireless is a growing and truly exciting industry.  At Prepaid Wireless Guide I try to provide you with in-depth information that isn't readily available anywhere else.  Its content is original, and created from firsthand experience working in the prepaid wireless industry.

This monthly email provides you with a quick glance at what's 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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MetroPCS Expands 4G Footprint
It’s great to see MetroPCS expand its 4G coverage, however, without any 4G smartphones or broadband devices, in all honestly, it’s really quite uninspiring.

Page Plus Adds Yearly Plan Option
Prepaid Reviews (blog)
This is really an $80 topup card with a 2,000 minute value that doesn’t expire for 365 days.  While this is not a new concept in the prepaid market, it’s definitely good to see carriers coming around to the inevitable conclusion that customers should get additional value if they fork over more money for a given topup.  Good job Page Plus!

T-mobile Comet (prepaid Android smartphone)
By bert5
While most T-Mobile phones that are off contract can be used with T-Mobile prepaid, it’s good to note an additional Android option for prepaid.  The proliferation of prepaid smartphones in 2010 is extremely encouraging.

Leap Wireless CEO Sees Acceleration In Migration To New Phones
It’s really fantastic to see the numbers indicating that prepaid has truly evolved to more mainstream users, and that they are certainly interested, and even demanding, more functional smartphones.  Throwing humility to the wind for a moment, I think it’s fair at this point to say “I told you so” ;-).

Verizon Offers Specialized, No-Contract Plans for Google's Chrome OS
Prepaid data options are most certainly always welcome.  That said, I’m not sure that we’ve really seen any Chrome OS notebooks/netbooks to speak of, nor would we expect them to be treated any differently in terms of data pricing, right?  I suppose the nature of Chrome (i.e. cloud-based computing) could result in greater data usage, which is likely the distinction of significance to the hosting carrier.

U.S. Cellular Fills Out Prepaid Plans
RCR Wireless News
Some may not consider this to be newsworthy as they really appear to be playing catch-up for the most part, and don’t offer any pricing that is particularly competitive, however, it’s good to see that fans of U.S. Cellular now have more prepaid options. 

Degrees of BYOD on Prepaid Wireless
While some information in this article is not accurate (ex. only a select number of legacy Sprint CDMA phones can be used on Boost CDMA), the general idea of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is something I hold near and dear to my heart.  I understand that using a handset that hasn’t been specifically designed, optimized, and tested for a given carrier can pose some problems, and even costly support issues, from a customer perspective, it’s really a great concept.  When it’s feasible, I’d like to host a table that shows specifically what phones can be used with which carriers, and what features will work and not work.  Unfortunately, clarity around this topic still doesn’t exist. 

Sprint's Postpaid vs. Prepaid Customers – Who's More Valuable?
This is an interesting, not to mention age-old discussion.  Even though postpaid customers may deliver higher revenue over the lifetime of a customer (largely due to the contract locking them in!), prepaid is what the market is demanding.  In other words, it’s someone irrelevant which drives more revenue; carriers need to provide products and services that customers want, and there’s no doubt that prepaid is where the interest lies.  The ONLY value of postpaid is the handset subsidy and selection.  Selection will continue to improve rapidly, while the cost of the handset will take more time to decline as technology/manufacturing costs continue to decline. 

Yes, there will be free Wi-Fi for MetroPCS | Prepaid Reviews
By Joe
Including software that automatically connects to WiFi hotspots is a nice idea.  However, keep in mind that with a good solid 3G, and later hopefully 4G network, WiFi shouldn’t be necessary.  In other words, offloading data traffic to WiFi mostly benefits carriers by avoiding network capacity issues, a poor customer experience due to low speeds from network congestion, and ultimately costly upgrades.  I largely see this a twisted marketing campaign to market a “feature” that is only necessary largely due to poor quality cellular networks and/or performance challenges, and weak/expensive overages with non-unlimited data plans; so don’t be fooled! 

Leap Offers Unlimited Music Download
Cricket announced that it will include Muve unlimited music in $55 and up service plans.  I’ve seen carrier music services launched time and time again with little success.  We’ll see how Cricket does.  With an easier way to access iTunes from feature phones and smartphones (Android and Blackberry), these types of services seem difficult to sustain.  Though free unlimited downloads certainly does have a compelling ring to it!

What's New at

  • Added new 4G Wireless page (4G landing page)

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