Prepaid Wireless News!
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This section 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 commentary so that you can move onto other tasks in your
day. Each snippet includes a link to the original story
you be interested in more details.
A Year In Review
Looking back at 2018, prepaid carriers made small shifts in plan
pricing and features, however, nothing too innovative resulted. We
really saw more convergence between prepaid and postpaid, with most of
the change being around postpaid looking and feeling more like
prepaid. As I've stated previously, I see a
not so distant future where the terms "prepaid" and "postpaid" are
largely irrelevant, and evolve to something new. With no
phone subsidies driving contracts, and a massive convergence between
pricing on these two models, the historical stigma of prepaid really
should no longer exist.
In addition, 2018 saw a lot of news around the pending T-Mobile Sprint
merger, and its potential impact on prepaid and MVNOs.
Despite any forecasted negative impacts, my gut feeling is that it will
be approved. If it is in fact rejected, I feel that customers
in general, both prepaid and postpaid, would benefit from the current
level of competition. That said, this deal just smells like
it will be pushed through. I hope I'm wrong! I also
hope that we see a much greater pace of innovation in the wireless
space in 2019. Stay tuned to keep up with the latest news.
We've known that Lifeline suffers from a lot of abuse and fraud,
however, completely gutting the program isn't the answer.
Measures have been put in place to help address issues, however, there
are still proponents of implementing changes that would essentially
cripple the program. For example, if the reforms are passed,
prepaid wireless providers would no longer be able to participate,
standalone broadband would be eliminated, the length of time a
household can keep the service would be limited, and funding would be
reduced. I really hope these don't pass, and calmer heads
While I hate to see carriers compete on price, as it rarely leads to
long term profitability, T-Mobile has been very creative with its
offerings in general, so I'll let this one slide. Its
T-Mobile One Prepaid Domestic Only has been reduced from $60 to
$50. It includes unlimited text, talk, and domestic 4G, with
streaming capped at 480p, and unlimited 3G hotspot. It's
Simply Prepaid plan was reduced from $50 to $40, and includes unlimited
text, talk, and 10GB of 4G data, after which you'll be throttled to a
useless 2G speed. Hotspot is 4G, but only up to the 10GB
total plan allowance. Both plans are fairly compelling in
today's market, and by no means rock bottom pricing. You can
also get some pretty sweet multi-line pricing, so check out their site
if that's of interest to you.
There's certainly a demographic of customers who don't need cellular
connectivity, and rely solely on WiFi connectivity for all of their
data needs. However, that does leave gaps when they're away
from a WiFi connection. Republic Wireless is experimenting
with data-only plans; a 30-day plan for $30, and a 90-day plan for $75.
Both are positioned as being unlimited, however, 4G data is limited to
20GB, after which it's throttled to 2G. I could see this type
of plan becoming more widely available. That said,
plans that include voice/text are arguably offer voice/text for free,
and don't necessarily incur additional costs to customers; they're
simply expected to be included. Though it could be seen as
offering an air of value in terms of not paying for services you don't
use. It will be interesting to see how this type of plan
Prepaid carrier offerings for Android phones are largely on the lower
end, with Samsung's flagship Galaxy lineup largely representing the
higher tier phones. To contrast that, iPhones dominate the
high tier lineup of prepaid wireless carriers. I think this phenomenon
is pretty simple to understand. iPhones are seen as
aspirational, and generally have a higher perceived value.
In my opinion, this demonstrates the power of a strong brand.
I don't want to get into a platform debate, however, in my
opinion, Android phones are superior in so many ways. That
said, the simplicity of iPhones does have a strong appeal for people
who want their phone to just work, without having to fiddle with
customizations and settings.
In addition, youth like to have what their friends have, so group think
also plays a role. Though I was still a bit shocked by how
much stronger iPhone penetration is on the high tier phones.
It just goes to show why Apple is the most valuable company
on the planet!
This technology began to surface with the iPhone Watch 3, and
more recently the Google Pixel 2. In this case "e" doesn't
stand for electronic, but rather "embedded"; thus embedded Subscriber
Identity Module. So rather than pop out your SIM card when
you change carriers, provisioning can occur without receiving a new SIM
card. An eSIM is build right into the motherboard, and
permanent. The benefit is that with the use of apps
(forthcoming), you can register on a different carrier network and
provision a plan without having to purchase a new SIM card.
It also opens up the opportunity to have multiple phone
numbers on the same phone without having to use 3rd party apps like
This article provides some good background, and some pros and cons. I
definitely agree that it's the future, however, it will take a number
of years before it becomes a standard feature on new phones, and where
the installed based is pervasive enough to make this a standard
activation method. It will be interesting to see how it
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