Today, Sprint announced that it would expand its Common Cents Mobile offering to an additional 500 Walmart locations. As the press release explains, “Common Cents Mobile is the only pay-as-you-go service offering Round Down minutes, allowing budget-conscious consumers to pay for only what they use — or even less.” If you’re reading this article, this service is — in all likelihood — not aimed at you. “Smartphones come with bells and whistles like Web browsing and music — features that for many, are simply unnecessary and can be seen as a waste of time and money,” said Common Cents Mobile’s chief marketing officer. The service, which originally launched in May of this year, is now available in just under 1,250 Walmart stores across the country. More →
Just a quick follow-up to a story we published on Friday. Clearwire has officially announced “the nation’s first pay-as-you-go 4G mobile broadband service for tech-savvy Gen Y customers.” The new, prepaid, cellular-data service offers customers daily, weekly, and monthly access rates; priced at $5, $20, and $50 respectively. Clearwire will provide this service on two new pieces of hardware, the Puck and the Stick. The Puck is a round, uh puck-like, mobile hotspot that can provide connectivity for eight Wi-Fi enabled devices on Clear’s 4G network. The Stick has a more familiar USB modem look to it and will get your laptop hooked up to the prepaid wireless fun without all that panache. The Puck will retail for $149.99 and the Stick will set you back $99.99. We’re loving the idea of prepaid 4G services, however the fact that both devices lack 3G radios — making your Puck and Stick useful in only 49 markets — is a slight cause for concern. We’ve got the full press release for you after the break. More →
A recent SEC filing seems to indicate that WiMax provider Clearwire is planning a new, pay-as-you-go cellular data service. The filing reads, Clearwire “plans to serve a new pay-as-you-go customer segment.” It’s unclear exactly what Clearwire has planned — if anything — but analysts speculate the move was prompted by MetroPCS’ impending entry into the pre-paid 4G market place. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has said that his company has considered offering pre-paid 4G data services, but has yet to make a move; Sprint is the majority owner of Clearwire. Clearwire’s network is resold by Best Buy, Comcast, Sprint, and Time Warner; it is unclear how this move will affect the services offered by those companies. More →
FierceWireless is reporting that Verizon Wireless will unveil a prepaid $80 per month 5 GB mobile broadband data plan in the coming months. The plan will complement the company’s current prepaid broadband plans which are $15/day for 75 MB, $30/week for 250 MB, and $50/month for 500 MB. The reported plan, as Current Analysis analyst Deepa Karthikeyan writes, “offers contract-phobic, high-end users with a viable option.” Given Virgin Mobile’s announcement this morning, would you pay double for Verizon’s network?
UPDATE: The new prepaid plans can be found here. The available plans are now: 100 MB (1 day) $15, 300 MB (7 days) $30, 1 GB (30 days) $50, and 5 GB (30 days) $80. Thanks to everyone who sent this in. More →
Today, Virgin Mobile USA announced that it would do away with its currently tiered $20, $40, and $60 prepaid mobile broadband plans and replace them with a prepaid, unlimited, $40 per month offering. Via a press release, Virgin wrote: “A recent study from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that the self-employed and independent workers represent approximately 30% of the nation’s workforce. The study determined that this segment of the self-employed population, consisting mainly of small business owners and freelancers, represents a large market of consumers who need to stay connected, mainly with email and internet browsing, without the constraints of a contract.” Virgin also noted it would offer a $10 per month, 100 MB plan for those users who need connectivity infrequently. Virgin currently offers an Ovation USB data-stick priced at $79.99 and a MiFi 2200 device priced at $149.99. What do you think? Prepaid, as you need it, mobile broadband. Any takers? More →
Chatr Wireless, a Rogers Communications venture, is officially open for business, and the low-cost, prepaid wireless company is keeping things simple. Chatr is currently offering a selection of four phones: the Nokia 1661 for $60, the LG GB125R for $75, the Nokia 2680 for $95, and the Samsung Gravity for $130. The company also, as reported, has two very simple contract-less calling plans: unlimited talk for $35 per month, and unlimited talk and text for $45 per month. The website http://www.chatrwireless.com is also up and running, ready to show you coverage maps, roaming rates, etc. Happy chatring! More →
Some huge news this evening in the world of prepaid mobiles as Sprint has announced its new strategies for Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. With some 60 million Americans using prepaid mobiles, Sprint feels the time is right to make an all-out assault on the market. Said Sprint’s Dan Schulman: “This is the year that prepaid moves to the forefront of the wireless industry. In the first quarter of 2010, more than half of the mobile gross additions in the U.S. selected prepaid, and we predict that approximately 70% of the net adds in 2010 will choose plans without a contract,” adding that “the no-contract market has clearly moved beyond the credit-challenged and lower income segments.” Here’s what’s in the pipeline.
As of May 12th, Virgin Mobile will begin offering Beyond Talk plans. Ranging from $25 to $60 per month, each plan includes unlimited SMS/MMS, email, data and web. The $25 plan includes 300 minutes, the $40 plan 1,200 minutes and the $60 plan has unlimited minutes. Throw in an extra $10 per month and you’ll be able to hook a BlackBerry up to BIS. Yes, you read that right. $35 for a BlackBerry with unlimited data. If you’re a bit puzzled as to why Virgin is more focused on data and texts over voice minutes, the reason is simple: the amount of voice minutes used by young adults continues to plummet as email, IM and SMS grows at a rate of 150% during the years 2007 to 2009. Factor in 1800% growth in mobile data in this segment and it’s pretty obvious Virgin is one of the few companies that actually caters to the demands of its customers. This brings us to its new handsets. Virgin Mobile will be bringing the LG Rumor Touch and Rumor 2 ($149.99 and $89.99, both only available off contract), and Kyocera Loft ($69.99) into the fold with the BlackBerry Curve 8530 launching at the end of May with a retail price of $299.99.
As for Boost, not much is new in terms of plans (keep in mind it just announced that unlimited calls to 411, email and IM were recently added to its $50 unlimited plan which also includes all the talking, texting and web you wish), but now we know for sure that it will soon be carrying the Samsung Rant and Kyocera Incognito, Mirror and Juno.
Hit up the jump to check out the press release. More →
Verizon seems to be planning on expanding its prepaid line-up and options for current and would-be customers by throwing BlackBerry into the mix. Word is that within the next three months, prepaid BlackBerry plans will become available, though we’re not sure if all devices would be included. Rumor is that the plan adds $35 on top of the voice package, which isn’t so bad when compared to other carriers and most post-paid plans. We’ve also received word that the prepaid bundles would match Verizon’s older ones, and that phones would run somewhere between the subsidized price and full retail cost. We’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on this as news comes our way! More →
One of our connects hit us up with some changes Verizon Wireless is making to its calling plans effective January 18th. The details are coming in slowly but it looks like Big Red (not the gum) is ditching the all-inclusive Premium plan and renaming the current Basic plan to Nationwide Talk, and the Select Plan to Nationwide Talk & Text. A 30% drop in pricing on the unlimited minutes options for each of these plans is expected to accompany the name changes. Verizon also reconfirms the changes to the feature phone data plans which includes a new $9.99 data plan with 25MB and mobile email and a $29.99 unlimited plan with mobile email. Additionally, overage charges for the new $9.99 plan have been decreased from 50¢ to 20¢ per MB. All 3G multimedia phones, a category which has been expanded to include the enV3, Chocolate Touch and others, will now require a data plan of $9.99 or higher, like we reported. Verizon also added onto their prepaid plans, offering an new unlimited plan Talk & Text plan for $94.99 per month. Hit the jump for some highlights of the changes.
UPDATE: We’ve got shots of the new family plans as well as comparisons to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile! It looks like Verizon’s new unlimited voice plans will run $69.99/month individually, with an $89.99/month option that will include unlimited text messages as well. As far as family plans go, Verizon seems to be coming in at $119.99/month for the first two lines, and $49.99/line a month after that with unlimited text and data options as well. More →
Sprint seems to keep bleeding, keep, keep, bleeding subscribers. After losing 801,000 post-paid subscribers, which is slightly better than the 870,000 that analysts expected, Sprint might need to really change its game to do more than just stay afloat. Consequently, Sprint’s losses for the quarter are a whopping $478 million compared to $326 million YoY. Revenue dropped about nine percent to $8.04 billion. Interestingly enough, Sprint’s prepaid service, Boost, added over 600,000 subscribers thanks to Boost’s $50 unlimited plan. But with its Simply Everything packages including Any Mobile, Any Time, and hardware like the Palm Pre and HTC Hero, Sprint could be looking to shrink its quarterly losses in the future and maybe even see some positive gain.
If you’re on a budget and don’t use much data, or any data at all, AT&T has a pretty killer deal lined up for GoPhone customers. Only announced a couple days ago, the new plan features unlimited talk and messaging (SMS, picture and video) for just $60 a month. Not too shabby, right? Considering the fact that unlimited messaging is $20 for an individual plan, you’re essentially getting unlimited calls for just $40. The best part is that calls to Canada and Mexico are included in that plan, which is even more incentive to those who frequently call those countries. Starting tomorrow, you can sign up for all-you-can-eat calling and messaging. Enjoy!
If you haven’t yet heard of scrappy wireless carrier Page Plus, it might be time to check it out. Specializing in prepaid, Page Plus is known in many regions for its competitive rates and respectable coverage (as long as you don’t live in the middle of the country or the Northwest). On top of its already affordable offerings, the small carrier has just introduced one hell of an unlimited offering that, if it can manage to get the word out, could be pretty disruptive in several markets. “Unlimited Talk n Text” affords users unlimited anytime minutes and unlimited SMS along with 20MB of data each month for $39.95. What’s more, there are no additional taxes and fees to deal with — just $39.95. WOW. Technophiles need not apply lest they bring their own handsets as the company’s phone selection is reminiscent of Verizon Wireless circa 1997. So folks, if you’re on the lookout for a cheap unlimited plan it looks like the buck stops here.
Just one day after we scooped fresh product shots of Virgin Mobile USA’s first mobile broadband device, the Novatel Wireless MC760, the company has announced the availability of its contract-free Broadband2Go service. Touted as a 3G nationwide wireless Internet service, the MVNO’s new offering is sure to pique the interest of infrequent travelers and light mobile broadband users who simply can’t justify a $60 per month service for sporadic usage. Out of the gate, the pricing structure is a bit different than we had believed back when we first broke news of the coming broadband offering. Users will be able to purchase Broadband2Go Top-Up cards in the following denominations:
- $10 — 100MB usable for 10 days
- $20 — 250MB usable for 30 days
- $40 — 600MB usable for 30 days
- $60 — 1GB usable for 30 days
On the surface these options appear to be a bit pricey but again, postpaid options from other carriers can cost $720 per year or more. For users who only need mobile broadband access a few months out of each year, spending a total of $60, $120 or even $180 for Top-Up cards that will get them through a full year translates into massive savings.