Verizon Wireless has confirmed to BGR that it will eliminate the option to sign on for a 1-year contract beginning on April 17th. “The reason behind the change is the greater majority of customers sign up for a 2 year contract and take advantage of the discounted (promotion) price,” a Verizon Wireless spokesperson told BGR in an email. “Customers will still have the option of choosing month to month, prepaid or service with a two year contract.” Verizon’s one-year contract option allowed subscribers to halve the length of their contracts by paying a price with a lower subsidy than the fully-subsidized two-year price. After April 17th, a customer purchasing a new device must either sign a two-year agreement and pay the standard advertised price, or pay the full cost of a handset, which is typically several hundred dollars above advertised two-year contract pricing.
Today, Samsung and Boost Mobile jointly introduced a new member of the Galaxy family, the Galaxy Prevail. Running a fairly-stock iteration of Android 2.2 (Froyo), the device sports a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, 2 megapixel rear-facing camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and microSD card slot (support for up to a 32GB card). The device is the first CDMA, Android-based device to be offered by the prepaid wireless carrier. The Galaxy Prevail will be available in “late April” for $179.99 contract free. Pair the handset with Boost Mobile’s $50 monthly unlimited plan, and you have yourself a pretty nice setup. The full press release is after the break and we’ll have our hands-on posted momentarily. More →
The nation’s fifth largest wireless provider — MetroPCS — announced the addition of Tampa, Florida to its LTE portfolio. “As we have built-out our 4G LTE service across the nation, we continue to be dedicated to making our customers’ lives easier by providing them with feature-rich smartphones that let them do more on our network,” said the company’s president, CEO and chairman Roger D. Linquist. Tampa joins Atlanta, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento and San Francisco on the list of cities blanketed with MetroPCS’s LTE network. The full press release is after the break. More →
Via a quick press release, AT&T has announced two, new postpaid data plans available to its tablet users. The new offerings closely match the prepaid options currently being offered, with a slight twist. “The new plans can be added to customers’ existing monthly wireless statements, offering the simplicity of a single monthly bill,” writes AT&T. Postpaid customers will be billed at an overage rate of $10 per gigabyte — prepaid customers have to buy an additional 2GB allotment when they exceed their quota ($12.50 per gigabyte). The company is also offering some incentive to jump on the postpaid bandwagon, “For a limited time, customers who activate a new postpaid $25/2 GB plan will receive the first month free.” Both the postpaid and prepaid options are on a month-to-month basis, no contract required. Hit the jump for the full press release.
We don’t have too much information to share on this one, but here’s the meat of it: T-Mobile USA is going to be getting rid of its FlexPay plans. Our tipster said that T-Mobile should soon announce, or at least communicate internally what, if anything, will replace the FlexPay option for customers.
In a note to investors on Monday, Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi said that Apple is looking to expand its smartphone market share by addressing the cost of its handsets. Apple doesn’t want its products to be “just for the rich,” Apple COO Tim Cook reportedly told Sacconaghi in a meeting, a possible indication that the company is looking to offer a less expensive iPhone option or even work with carriers to offer better rates. Cook is also said to have told the analyst that Apple will be doing “clever things” in the prepaid market. Cook noted that Apple will continue to focus on the tablet market as well, where it has seen huge success. Sacconaghi believes tablets could soon end up being a $60 billion to $100 billion business for Apple, whose iPad currently owns the majority of the tablet market. More →
Regional wireless provider U.S. Cellular has announced three new prepaid calling plans just in time for the holiday buying season. The new plans, which all include unlimited text messaging, will offer 200, 400, or 1000 talk minutes and retail for $29, $39, and $49 respectively; the 400 minute plan will also include 5GB of monthly data usage.
“With balancing the budget on the minds of many, prepaid plans can help customers stay on top of spending and don’t require a contractual agreement,” quips the press release. “U.S. Cellular’s new prepaid plans offer spending flexibility through unlimited messaging choices and graduated levels of included voice minutes.”
Here’s a bit of good news for those folks who want to take advantage of Verizon’s new LTE data service but are a little leery of two-year contracts. Verizon has confirmed to BGR that the 5GB and 10GB LTE plans announced yesterday, which retail for $50 and $80 respectively, will be available on a month-to-month basis for the same price. Users interested in the contract-free option will be required to purchase their LTE equipment at its full-retail price — currently, Verizon’s two data sticks cost $249 unsubsidized — and, like the on-contract plans, overages will be billed at $10 per gigabyte. Sounds like a pretty good deal to us. What do you think?
Today, Virgin Mobile USA quietly added a 1GB prepaid data-plan to its Broadband2Go offerings; the plan will retail for $20 per month. The 1GB plan, which will be a Walmart exclusive, fills the gap between the company’s $10, 100MB and $40, unlimited monthly data options. Here is an official statement from a Virgin Mobile representative:
Today Virgin Mobile launched an exclusive $20 Broadband2Go mobile broadband plan available only at Walmart stores and online at http://www.Walmart.com. This new offer, available only to consumers who have purchased or will purchase a Novatel Wireless MiFi® 2200 device or Ovation™ MC760 USB device from a Walmart store or from http://www.Walmart.com, provides 1 GB of data for an affordable $20/month price point.
The company noted that the plan is aimed at “budget-conscious consumers who are looking for a mid-tier plan falling somewhere between heavy and light usage.” Not a bad option for those in need of both mobile connectivity and contract flexibility.
T-Mobile announced Monday that it will release the T-Mobile Comet on November 3rd. Manufactured by Huawei, the T-Mobile Comet will be the least expensive Android phone in T-Mobile’s lineup when it launches later this week. The Comet will be available for just $9.99 with a 2-year postpaid contract, or “less than $200” off contract. As a sub-$200 prepaid phone running Android 2.2, the Comet is a terrific option, featuring a 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen display, HSPA connectivity, Wi-Fi, microSDHC support and more. While we can’t confirm exactly how far below $200 T-Mobile will price the Comet, we can confirm that Costco will be selling the Comet for $149.99 when it becomes available. Hit the break for T-Mobile’s press release. More →
Typically, the word “shrinkage” isn’t a good thing, however… if you’re a wireless provider it could actually be a selling point. Today, Sprint announced a new program known as “Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage” for its Boost Mobile prepaid customers. As Boost’s website explains:
Boost will lower your monthly payment by $5 for every 6 on-time payments. Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage customers can shrink their monthly payments from $50 to as low as $35/month. BlackBerry Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage customers can lower their monthly payments from $60 to as low as $45/month.
The idea seems pretty ingenious, trying to retain budget conscious consumers using value-based incentives. The offering is available for both new and existing customers and all that is required is an on-time payment. Hit the read link to check out the potential savings. More →
About one-week ago, information on T-Mobile’s prepaid phone and data plans leaked… and the information was dead on. Today, T-Mobile officially announced the new prepaid monthly plans that will be available on October 18. The plans looks like this:
Prepaid Monthly Phone Data Plans
- $70/month Unlimited Talk and Text with 2 GB of Data
- $50/month Unlimited Talk and Text with 100 MB of Data
- $30/month 1,500 Talk and Text (mix and match voice and text messages) with 30 MB of Data
- Unlimited Text and $0.10/minute
- $1.49/day Web DayPass
Prepaid Mobile Broadband
- $10 week pass (100 MB)
- $30 month pass (300 MB)
- $50 month pass (1 GB)
The prepaid mobile broadband plans will be available on a new “Jet USB Laptop Stick” that is “pre-packaged with a prepaid SIM card, user guide, and plug & play connection manager software” — the device will be available online on October 18th and in stores on the 20th. “T-Mobile’s prepaid mobile broadband plans have no annual contract, no credit check, no overages and can be used with any of the company’s mobile broadband products,” explains the press release. The prepaid voice plans look pretty attractive… but $50 for 1 GB of data seems pretty steep.
We knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. Today, Verizon Wireless announced that it would be “expanding its portfolio of prepaid offerings to include a new 3G Prepaid data package that lets customers access unlimited data on select 3G Smartphones and Multimedia phones for $30 monthly access.” Here is the official list of prepaid smartphone devices Verizon Wireless will offer: BlackBerry Curve 8330, BlackBerry Curve 8530, BlackBerry Storm 9530, BlackBerry Storm2 9550, BlackBerry Tour 9630, BlackBerry Bold 9650, Palm Pre Plus, Palm Pixi Plus, DROID by Motorola, Motorola DEVOUR, DROID X by Motorola, DROID 2 by Motorola, DROID Eris by HTC, DROID Incredible by HTC, and the LG Ally. The new prepaid offerings will be available in stores and online beginning on September 28th. More →