Friday, December 10, 2010

Verizon's Big Week

Verizon topped this week's news. The introduction of their 4G network in 38 markets and 68 airports was sorta big, but with no handsets and only one 4G modem available, users will adopt slowly. More newsworthy for users like us is Verizon's new rates on Prepaid. We noted that AT&T's new $2 per day rate for GoPhone was a potential game changer and it may have contributed to a big drop in Verizon's prepaid numbers. This week Verizon dropped their pay-per-day rate to $1.99, a whole penny less than AT&T.

Verizon also attached some strings. They increased the accompanying Text rate from .01 to .02, that's a 100% increase. They also added restrictions on the handsets available for Prepaid, primarily to keep postpaid customers from switching. We're not sure if that will affect Verizon users who choose to switch to Page Plus.

Prepaid was once the stronghold of the credit-challenged among wireless users. The trend now is for cellular in the US to be more like that of other countries: pay-as-you-go. It's great to see competition in the Prepaid arena. Even US Cellular introduced 3 new Prepaid plans this week. Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS have been trying to increase their base rates from the $35 to $45 zone but may feel too much pressure from the big players. It may be enough pressure to force those two together.

If nothing else, the increase in the number of prepaid offerings gives consumers confidence to switch to prepaid. Savings can be substantial, as Prepaid moves more toward the mainstream.

Also, Page Plus announced their $80 refill is now valid for a full year. More objections to Prepaid fall by the wayside.

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