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 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.
As the critical holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, the Consumer Technology Association said that smartphones stand at the top of Americans' list of most-wanted tech products, beating out TVs, tablets and laptops. And wireless players continue to work to stimulate that demand, with AT&T's Cricket Wireless and América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, offering new discounts today.
In a new, lengthy filing with the FCC, AT&T reiterated its proposed changes to the agency's Lifeline program. Specifically, AT&T urged the FCC to offload most of the management functions of the program to the Universal Service Administrative Company, and to also allow Lifeline recipients to use the program to pay for their Internet access, whether that's wireless or wireline.
According to a recent Politico article, lawmakers are concerned that the FCC hasn't yet collected fines against some telecommunications companies. For example, the FCC has announced fines against the likes of AT&T Mobility and others, but hasn't yet collected those fines.
The third-quarter earnings season is coming to a close, so now it's time to see how the nation's top wireless carriers stacked up against each other in terms of key metrics. In this report you will find a ranking of the of the top eight U.S. wireless carriers in the third quarter of 2015 by subscriber base, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. Below that, Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson provides several slides that offer an in-depth look at how Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile US and Sprint each performed in the third quarter of 2015.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, added around 13,000 total customers in the third quarter, ending with 25.726 million total subscribers. "Our brands Straight Talk, SafeLink and our new brand Total Wireless have shown solid growth whereas our legacy brands registered client disconnections," América Móvil said, indicating that the TracFone, Telcel America and Net10 brands are underperforming in the market as a result of more intense competition.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, thinks the FCC should not impose minimum service standards on Lifeline phone service providers as it seeks to revamp and reform the program. TracFone has around 4.4 million qualified low-income households currently enrolled in its SafeLink Wireless Lifeline program, and is the country's leading provider of Lifeline-supported services.
América Móvil extended to many of its prepaid wireless customers its cross-border plan that lets Mexican subscribers use voice, SMS and data service in the United States as if they were in Mexico. The new offer comes after a series of escalating moves by T-Mobile US, AT&T Mobility and Sprint to offer cross-border services without roaming costs.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, plans to challenge T-Mobile US and AT&T with its own Mexican roaming offer, though details on the forthcoming action are cloudy. América Móvil's CEO announced TracFone's plans during his company's quarterly conference call with investors.