The two main disruptors in 2015 will be Sprint and T-Mobile, as they are specifically targeting AT&T and Verizon's postpaid bases. There may be shifts throughout the year and of course volatility is expected when the next iPhone version is introduced. For 2015 carrier competition remains healthy.
AT&T Mobility's GoPhone prepaid customers who are on the carrier's $60 plan will soon get unlimited calling to Mexico. The addition of the calling option is the latest step AT&T has taken to make calling to Mexico more seamless, especially for its prepaid customers, following AT&T's purchase of wireless assets south of the border.
T-Mobile US' GoSmart Mobile prepaid brand is refreshing its pricing and giving customers on its plans more data. Meanwhile, AT&T Mobility's Cricket prepaid brand is also adding more data to its plans, and U.S. Cellular lowered the price on its prepaid offerings.
LAS VEGAS--AT&T Mobility's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand plans to shut down its Muve Music service on Feb. 7, and starting Jan. 31 will replace it with the Deezer music service, which will be available to Cricket subscribers for $6 per month, taxes and fees included.
Cricket, the prepaid brand owned by AT&T Mobility, said it will change its device unlocking policy starting Dec. 7. The carrier said that, under the new policy, users can unlock their device if they are a Cricket customer in good standing; they have owned and used their Cricket device for at least six months; the device was designed for Cricket's network; and the device was purchased from Cricket or an authorized Cricket distributor.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he is enthusiastic about the growth prospects for the company in Mexico following the company's announcement of a $2.5 billion deal to purchase Mexican operator Iusacell. He also said that a large portion of the customer base of AT&T's Cricket prepaid brand has personal connections to the Mexican market, and there will be synergies between Cricket and Iusacell.
Some Cricket customers were unable to send or receive encrypted email for months, according to The Washington Post, citing security researchers.
Postpaid competition has been dominating mainstream and industry press headlines. Postpaid device and double data promotional moves by all rivals set the competitive tone as we enter the all-important fourth quarter. On Verizon's third-quarter 2014 earnings call, CFO Fran Shammo noted that the prepaid sector growth has slowed relative to previous years, and given entry price points are so close to postpaid, some of those subscribers are moving to postpaid.
Wireless carriers have always battled with each other to encourage customers to switch to a new carrier. But that fight is now starting to heat up in select markets across the country because of a confluence of network shutdowns, technology transitions and smaller carriers exiting the business. Although these market-by-market battles don't get much national attention, they're still worth watching--after all, millions of subscribers scattered across dozens of markets are up for grabs.
T-Mobile US indicated it plans to discontinue its support for the federal Lifeline phone program, which provides subsidized phone service to low-income Americans, as of the end of 2014. The carrier said the move will impact its operations in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York and Tennessee and Washington, D.C.