Prepaid service growth to continue into 2009

Prepaid wireless service, which has been gaining steam over the past year, will continue to outpace contract-based growth going into 2009, according to third party research from Boost Mobile, Sprint Nextel's prepaid unit.

The data shows a growth rate of 14 percent for 2009 in the prepaid market, compared with 4 percent for postpaid. The carriers are also seeing some returns in the market; T-Mobile USA had 370,000 prepaid subscribers in the third quarter, up from 143,000 in the year-ago period. As credit has tightened up, prepaid may look like a more attractive option to customers that still allows them to keep their wireless phone, according to Boost.

The trend also fits with research done by Informa Telecoms & Media that found prepaid growth outstripping postpaid in both 2007 and into 2008.

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