AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the model that has prevailed in the U.S. wireless industry for years of customers getting subsidized devices in exchange for signing two-year contracts is radically shifting.
Leap Wireless lost nearly 92,000 net customers in the fourth quarter, bringing its total customer base to just 4.55 million at the end of 2013. The prepaid carrier blamed the losses on increasing competition from nationwide operators, particularly T-Mobile US and its MetroPCS brand.
Verizon Wireless reworked the pricing for its prepaid plans by reducing prices but also cutting the amount of data in the plans. The new prepaid plans come weeks after Verizon updated its shared data plans, changing the name of those plans from "Share Everything" to "More Everything" and increasing the data allotments for some plans.
Leap Wireless lost customers and reported lower revenue for the third quarter, though its customer defections were fewer than it had in the year-ago period. The flat-rate carrier, which operates the Cricket brand, is in the process of being acquired by AT&T, making its third-quarter report likely one of its last as an independent company.
T-Mobile US prepaid unit MetroPCS expects to see benefits from AT&T Mobility's purchase of Leap Wireless and Leap's Cricket prepaid brand, according to a senior MetroPCS executive. If that notion seems paradoxical--a major competitor moving more aggressively into the prepaid market actually being a positive development--Tom Keys, executive vice president and COO of T-Mobile's MetroPCS unit, does not seem to think so.
AT&T Mobility's prepaid brand Aio Wireless is seeking to assuage customer concerns that their service will be disrupted once AT&T finalizes its purchase of Leap Wireless and Leap's Cricket prepaid brand.
Leap Wireless shareholders voted to approve AT&T's $1.2 billion acquisition of the company on Wednesday, leaving only regulatory approvals in the way of the deal's closing.
U.S. Cellular and Sprint prepaid brand Boost Mobile confirmed they will begin selling Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c models on Nov. 8, becoming the last major U.S. carriers to do so.
Now that Apple is trumpeting that it sold a record 9 million units of the iPhone 5s and lower-priced iPhone 5c during the new models' debut weekend, smaller carriers seem to have been given the green light to announce their own plans to sell the new gadgets.
AT&T Mobility's Aio Wireless prepaid brand is starting off small, but has big ambitions; the company wants to be a major nationwide prepaid brand on the same level as T-Mobile US' MetroPCS brand.