Sprint yesterday said that it is de-emphasizing its Virgin Mobile prepaid brand and may introduce a new strategy for the Virgin brand at some point in the future. The news highlights Sprint's continued struggles in the prepaid sector, mainly due to the successes that T-Mobile's MetroPCS prepaid brand and AT&T's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand have had in the market.
The new president of AT&T's Cricket prepaid business, John Dwyer, said the company plans to significantly expand its market reach by opening more exclusive, Cricket-branded retail outlets across the country. "We've got a very aggressive distribution strategy," he said.
AT&T announced that Jennifer Van Buskirk will be replaced by John Dwyer as the new president of Cricket Wireless, the prepaid business that AT&T acquired from Leap Wireless early last year. Glenn Lurie, the president of AT&T's mobility business, said Van Buskirk would move to AT&T's Northeast Region as the president of that business, helping to sell AT&T's postpaid products and services in that area.
As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, it appears that AT&T is doing all it can to push its Cricket prepaid brand among millennials (Americans born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s). As reported by Adweek, Cricket Wireless will be the sole advertiser tonight on Turner's Adult Swim episode of Family Guy, a new advertising technique that Turner is offering to those brands that want to make an impression on its younger Adult Swim audience.
Hot on the heels of Sprint's promotional offer cut the rate plans in half of customers who switch to Sprint from Verizon, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile US, Verizon and T-Mobile's MetroPCS prepaid brand are rolling out their own promotions ahead of Black Friday. Verizon is offering 1 GB of free data to customers on qualifying plans, and MetroPCS is rolling out a "Buy One Get One" smartphone offer for Black Friday shoppers.
AT&T Mobility's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand is launching its own rewards program and is touting it as the first such program from a no-contract U.S. operator. Customers can earn rewards by taking actions in a variety of different apps and signing up for Cricket services, and then redeem them for gift cards, the ability to enter sweepstakes and make charitable donations.
AT&T plans to participate in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum and would like to win a 2x10 MHz block of spectrum nationwide, but it is not willing to commit to how much it will bid, according to a senior AT&T executive.
AT&T Mobility continues to lead all of its competitors in TV advertising spending in October, according to a new report from TV advertising measurement firm iSpot.tv. AT&T also led the market in TV ad spending in September and August, according to iSpot.tv, while T-Mobile US was the leader in July.
AT&T Mobility's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand will now let customers on its $50 and $60 per month plans use their plans' data buckets in Mexico and Canada free of charge as if they were in the United States. The new offering adds data to Cricket's current offer of unlimited calling, texting and messaging in between Mexico, Canada and the U.S. It also gives Cricket a slight edge over T-Mobile US' MetroPCS prepaid brand, which offers unlimited data usage in Mexico.
AT&T Mobility added far fewer postpaid customers in the third quarter than it did a year ago but saw a resurgence in its prepaid business, notching the best quarterly prepaid subscriber additions in nearly eight years.