Verizon Wireless confirmed that tomorrow the carrier will launch a prepaid plan that includes 500 minutes and unlimited mobile web and texting. The plan will go for $35 per month and will only be available on basic phones.
Leap Wireless is realizing that unsubsidized Apple iPhone devices are not hot-sellers with consumers. Without carrier subsidies to reduce the price, the latest iPhone model sells for $500 or more, and that price point is too difficult for Leap's cost-conscious consumers to justify.
Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse is looking past the company's planned $2.2 billion acquisition of Clearwire as he seeks to catch up to larger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility.
Cricket provider Leap Wireless said it resolved its disagreements with Sprint Nextel regarding their wholesale MVNO agreement and also entered into an LTE roaming deal with an unnamed company. In the past Leap executives have expressed support for network sharing and LTE roaming arrangements. Leap currently has a nationwide 3G roaming agreement with Sprint.
Some wireless customers in the Northeast on Thursday received an alert on their phone about the impending blizzard expected to blanket the region with snow over the weekend. The alerts were sent as part of the government's new federal emergency alert system. However, not every subscriber in the region received an alert because not all phones on all participating carriers support the new system.
Verizon Wireless effectively cut the price of its high-end prepaid smartphone plan from $80 to $70, bringing its prepaid pricing closer to rival AT&T Mobility. However, Verizon's prepaid services are still much more expensive than those from many traditional prepaid and flat-rate players.
Tier 2 U.S. carriers said they are uncommitted as of now to Research In Motion's BlackBerry 10 platform.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he liked the approach T-Mobile USA is taking by removing handset subsidies from its plans, and said he would watch the development with interest.
Sprint Nextel's prepaid brand Virgin Mobile and regional wireless carrier C Spire Wireless have been quietly testing handset financing programs, the carriers confirmed. Both operators are using the startup BillFloat to support their pilot programs, which are ongoing but expected to end within the next few weeks. The disclosures come a month after FierceWireless reported that Leap Wireless' Cricket and MetroPCS both recently launched handset financing options.
Verizon Wireless is expected to lead U.S. wireless carriers in terms of net subscriber additions in the fourth quarter, according to analysts' estimates. However, all operators, including Verizon, will likely see their margins come under pressure as a result of higher subsidy costs for smartphones.