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Devices/smartphones

AT&T Nudges Prepaid Customers to LTE

AT&T Inc. unveiled its new prepaid GoPhone plans on Friday, encouraging its contract-free customers to consume more data on its new 4G LTE network. (See AT&T Updates GoPhone Prepaid LTE Plans.) AT&T last week got rid of its mid-range GoPhone plans, which offered customers a choice between a paltry 50MB of data for US$30 per month or 1GB for $65. Its new options offer more for less, as customers can now get 2GB of data for $60 per month, and then pay $10 for every 1GB of additional data. In addition, customers can get 200MB of data for $40 and still opt for the original $30 plan for 50MB of data. (See AT&T Eyes 500K More Customers in Q2.) The carrier also added the $250 Samsung Galaxy Express LTE to its lineup of budget devices. GoPhone customers can also opt to bring their own HSPA+ or LTE device. Why this matters
Prepaid customers may be most concerned with value for their money, but that no longer means they aren't interested in using mobile data, especially with LTE making it more palatable. With that in mind, AT&T has spied an opportunity to eke more revenues from its lower-value prepaid customer base by offering up more data for less and encouraging greater usage. It's a smart strategy in the hotly contested prepaid space. Verizon Wireless confines prepaid users to its 3G network, but also offers a $60 plan for 2GB, as well as a $70 plan for 4GB. Sprint Nextel Corp. doesn't yet have a comparable LTE network to speak of, but has been aggressive in prepaid, offering a variety of plans via subsidiaries. Both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile offer prepaid services on LTE. — Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sarah Thomas 6/17/2013 | 3:25:39 PM
re: AT&T Nudges Prepaid Customers to LTE There are options for NO data on AT&T's prepaid plans, but it's hard to be in between, since the lowest-end plan won't get you anywhere. AT&T also has Aio prepaid on its HSPA+ network (nearly as fast and more widespread). You'd have to do your homework if you want the best value and some data.
mendyk 6/17/2013 | 1:54:21 PM
re: AT&T Nudges Prepaid Customers to LTE You have to wonder about marketing plans that "push" customers in a certain direction. And as you suggest, having a monthly limit on prepaid excludes customers who still walk down the street without staring at their handsets (i.e., occasional users).
Sarah Thomas 6/14/2013 | 7:09:11 PM
re: AT&T Nudges Prepaid Customers to LTE On the whole, do you think prepaid customers care about LTE? They're in it for the value (or they don't want contracts), so the latest and greatest might not be their first concern. Interesting that Verizon's strategy is to save 3G for prepaid (at least for now). We'll see which one ends up being more successful.
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