AT&T's Ralph de la Vega said he is not concerned about the decline in the number of the carrier's postpaid phone customers because of the growth of AT&T's Cricket prepaid wireless business. And he said that AT&T has a significant cross-selling opportunity following its acquisition of pay-TV company DirecTV.
Verizon today said it will double the amount of data available on some of its prepaid plans, and will also offer unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada. The actions come just a few weeks after the operator reported another quarter of prepaid customer losses.
Prepaid customers have long been almost an afterthought for most major U.S. network operators, who have opted instead to focus on postpaid users who often generate higher ARPU and lower churn. But as the growth of smartphone sales slows-- and as the gap between prepaid and postpaid ARPU narrows-- carriers are increasingly focused on the prepaid segment.
Sprint is rapidly losing prepaid customers, and its self-branded prepaid phones are disappearing from retail stores as the carrier prepares to relaunch its Virgin Mobile brand in an effort to boost sales in that market.
AT&T's prepaid service provider Cricket Wireless unveiled an unlimited talk, text and data plan for $70 a month, touting "a network that is bigger than T-Mobile's." Cricket also offers a $5 monthly "auto pay credit" for users who set up automatic payments, and the sum includes monthly taxes and fees.
Cricket made good on its recent promise to expand its retail footprint in a big way, announcing distribution deals with Best Buy and the lease-to-own retail chain Aaron's.
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.