Verizon reportedly begins weeding TracFone brands
According to several sources, Verizon has begun shedding some of TracFone's many prepaid brands. The move likely reflects the company's efforts to focus on the more successful prepaid brands that the operator acquired through its acquisition of prepaid provider TracFone.
According to both the National Wireless Independent Dealer Association (NWIDA) trade group and research and consulting firm Wave7 Research, Verizon alerted some of its dealers that it would discontinue the Page Plus, Net10 and GoSmart brands.
Verizon officials did not immediately respond to questions on the topic from Light Reading.
November 4 update: However, in early November, weeks after this article was published, Verizon officials issued this statement: "While, TracFone Wireless, Inc. is streamlining the brands we proactively market to remain competitive and meet the needs of today’s value-conscious consumers, in compliance with the FCC order related to the Verizon acquisition, both existing and new customers can enroll in plans for the Net10, Page Plus and GoSmart brands until November 2024 (California customers will be able to take advantage of these plans until November 2026)."
Wave7 reported that, starting next month, Verizon would no longer activate new customers on the brands. However, existing customers will still be able to purchase new services.
The closure of GoSmart is particularly interesting considering T-Mobile originally launched that brand in 2013 before apparently selling it to TracFone in 2016.
Verizon's move comes roughly one month after the operator introduced its new "Total by Verizon" prepaid brand. As noted by FierceWireless, that new brand offers plans ranging from $30 to $60 per month, and offers other goodies like speedy 5G, Disney+ and 20 GB of hotspot data. Total by Verizon also represents Verizon's competitive response to AT&T's Cricket prepaid brand and T-Mobile's Metro by T-Mobile prepaid brand.
Verizon in 2020 first announced its intent to purchase America Movil's TracFone and its roughly 21 million customers for around $7 billion. As noted by Counterpoint Research at the time, TracFone operated a wide range of prepaid brands from TracFone to SafeLine. Straight Talk remains TracFone's biggest brand, accounting for roughly half of its customers, but other TracFone brands include Net10, Simple Mobile and Page Plus.
Thus, it appears Verizon may be keen to shed some of TracFone's brands that haven't been as successful as Straight Talk.
Verizon's move also comes as the company prepares to report Q3 earnings – its third quarter in a row of overall customer losses.
Nonetheless, the company's chief executive recently reported progress in Verizon's prepaid business. "We're getting good traction there," CEO Hans Vestberg said of Verizon's prepaid business overall.
- How and why Verizon acquired TracFone
- Verizon CEO: Phone customer losses will continue in Q3
- Verizon officially closes TracFone purchase
— Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano
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