AT&T's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand 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.
Participating GameStop outlets will offer a "Dedicated Cricket Consultant" trained to answer questions about AT&T's prepaid brand and to sell devices and services. The deal expands on a 2014 agreement to sell Cricket's offerings in more than 2,900 GameStop stores; the video game chain is now Cricket's largest retail distributor.
Cricket customers can also trade in used video games at participating stores and apply money to Cricket services or products.
"We are pleased to have been Cricket's first national distribution network and now we're its largest," said Jason Cochran, GameStop's vice president of U.S. stores, in prepared remarks.
The announcement comes as most major U.S. carriers are honing their focus on prepaid users, particularly at the retail level. T-Mobile John Legere said several weeks ago that MetroPCS has 7,500 "dedicated doors" -- retail locations -- and the company is building out 1,000 more this year. Sprint's prepaid offerings appear to have lost shelf space in recent months, but the company is preparing to relaunch its Virgin brand later this year "with a much stronger value proposition," CEO Marcelo Claure said last month.
The newfound interest in prepaid users comes as the revenue gap between postpaid and prepaid is shrinking. T-Mobile has seen its postpaid ARPU fall from $54.07 to $46.05 since the first quarter of 2013, for instance, while prepaid ARPU has risen from $35.96 to $37.58.
And the pricing gap between prepaid and postpaid offerings is converging just as the ARPU gap is. MoffettNathanson said recently that prepaid plans are roughly only $5 to $10 a month cheaper than entry-level postpaid plans, due largely to price compression in postpaid stemming from increased competition.
- see this Cricket press release
T-Mobile and AT&T are killing the gap between prepaid and postpaid
Sprint Prepaid loses retail shelf space in advance of Virgin relaunch
GameStop to sell Cricket service in 2,800 U.S. stores