RIM’s internal plans for pre-paid BlackBerry service, BlackBerry in a Box

By on November 4, 2008 at 11:09 AM.

RIM’s internal plans for pre-paid BlackBerry service, BlackBerry in a Box

RIM’s already gone and launched its pre-paid BlackBerry server in Indonesia, but there’s a whole lot of countries that are probably foaming at the mouth. We’ve been saying this all along — pre-paid will take RIM to the next level. Why do you think Sidekicks got so popular? Because every single person in the hood could get one, every one who didn’t have perfect credit could get one, and even people that just wanted that flexibility could get one. We have a feeling this is going to be RIM’s power play for 2009. There are two different ways of doing BlackBerry pre-paid, one is daily, and one is monthly. We got a hold of pretty detailed document outlined all of RIM’s internal strategies for this. Stuff like their pitch to carriers, the target market, how RIM gets paid, when they get paid — all of that good stuff. Here’s a little synopsis of the key points:

  • Targeting people that are on a limited budget
  • People who can not get post-paid carrier credit
  • Those that do not want to be tied to a long-term contract
  • People that don’t “want to share personal information because of security and tax purposes.” DRUG DEALERS!

Here’s some of the selling points to carriers:

  • It takes the risk off of the carrier. Meaning, instead of the carrier shelling out for hundreds of thousands of devices and them sitting in their stock rooms, it would be up to the retailer to sell the devices. By retailer, we’re talking about Best Buy, RadioShack, Fye, etc. Please note by the way those retailers are just for an example, there’s nothing in here that says anything about them specifically…
  • It increases how much pre-paid users spend
  • The pre-paid BlackBerry service engages users and reduces the churn rate. Stats show that after 25 days of inactivity, 70% of pre-paid users go bye-bye. With BIS however, the carrier has a direct channel to market to the subscriber and send them offers, campaigns, and other things to try and get them to stick around.

There’s two concepts RIM is fooling with in regards to how this works. One is purchasing the device with no subsidy (full price) and buying pre-paid cards to fill up their account with. The second is slightly more intriguing, and that’s a BlackBerry in a Box. The user purchases the device and one year of BIS service all in one package at the retailer. After a year is up, they can purchase whatever they’d like. Another year, time-based access, monthly, all that.

Finally, here’s some last “marketing practices” RIM is touting:

  • Don’t call it pre-pay. It has a connotation of being cheap and poor.
  • Upsell the IM services like Google Talk, MSN, etc.
  • Encourage carriers to put the devices at the front of the store since it’s pretty much a no-headache sale.

So what do you think? If RIM can actually start to get carriers to jump on-board with this, we have a feeling this is going to make them absolutely explode with growth at a time where most other manufacturers are looking at cutting jobs and scaling back production. Who’s buying a “BlackBerry in a Box”?

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O2 jumps in the fray, plans to offer pay-as-you-go iPhone option

By on June 15, 2008 at 10:13 AM.

O2 jumps in the fray, plans to offer pay-as-you-go iPhone option

So much for fairness, huh? It looks like O2 is joining the ranks of Optimus in Portugal (and perhaps Orange in other parts of Europe), planning to offer their version of the iPhone 3G on both post-paid and pay-as-you-go accounts. No details have been given in regards to pricing or feature options, but the sheer presence of a pre-paid option means that the iPhone itself will be available for purchase without a lengthy contractual agreement, setting the stage for rampant unlocking, modifications, and general lawlessness. Will AT&T be the only company to offer the iPhone without a pre-paid option? Seems unlikely, but with both O2 and Optimus/Orange jumping on the pre-paid wagon, it certainly makes you wonder.

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Optimus to offer pre-paid iPhone option in Portugal

By on June 13, 2008 at 6:28 PM.

Optimus to offer pre-paid iPhone option in Portugal

Take this for what you will, but one of our ninjas tipped us off to an iPhone ad currently being Portugal by wireless carrier Optimus, which is a subsidiary of Orange. According to the ad, Optimus is going to be offering the iPhone 3G with a monthly tariff on both post and pre-paid accounts. Yep, you read that one correctly. While AT&T has explicitly said that they will not be offering the new iPhone 3G with any sort of pre-paid options, it looks like other carriers are reserving the option to provide the handset without a lengthy contract. The ad doesn’t give any indication as to what we might expect the unsubsidized pricing to be, but we’re working hard to dig up that info. Unfortunately, we’re not expecting any miracles here on the US side of things, as AT&T has been very explicit about the contractual requirements of the iPhone agreements. Remember when the rest of the world was madly trying to import American iPhones? Things might be going the other way this time around.

Thanks, António!

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T-Mobile adds 7PM nights, free mobile to mobile to pre-paid plans

By on June 3, 2008 at 6:45 AM.

T-Mobile adds 7PM nights, free mobile to mobile to pre-paid plans

You know the drill by now: a major carrier such as AT&T introduces a new feature, years later T-Mobile makes a feeble attempt at copying it. While T-Mobile has no apparent plans to give its post-paid customers any love, the company has just added 7PM nights and weekends and free mobile-to-mobile calling to its Pay By The Day prepaid plans. Yeah, similar features have been available for as long a we can remember on AT&T and Sprint, with the latter now offering 6PM nights, but who’s counting? Pre-paid has significant drawbacks, but these new features coupled with the lack of contract might be enough to bring some new folks into the fold. Now how about some post-paid love, huh?

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