AT&T's prepaid brand Cricket Wireless is providing $5 in credit to some users who suffered through a service outage last weekend.
AT&T's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand suffered a service outage that started late Friday afternoon and lasted through Saturday morning. The company wasn't able to provide details on the outage, including what caused the glitch and why it didn't affect AT&T's branded services.
Cricket Wireless said its products and services are now available at 3,400 GameStop locations in the U.S., underscoring increasing competition in the prepaid retail market.
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.