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Verizon begins pushing prepaid as recession dawns

Verizon is beginning to put more emphasis on its prepaid offerings, a move the company partially attributed to the US economy's nosedive.

"In a typical recession, we do see prepaid increase," explained Angie Klein, VP of consumer marketing for Verizon. "This is not specific to the recession but it's good to have it for a recession and to meet the needs of customers."

On Wednesday Verizon announced new prepaid pricing options for its "Verizon Prepaid" brand that include lower prices, more data and rewards for customers who stick around. The refresh to Verizon's prepaid rate card comes just a few weeks after the company reportedly embarked on a major new marketing push for its Visible prepaid brand.

Specifically, the new pricing options for Verizon Prepaid include 5GB of data for $40 per month, 15GB of data for $50, and unlimited data for $65. Previously Verizon Prepaid offered 3GB for $40 per month, 8GB for $50 and unlimited data for $70.

Further, the new Verizon Prepaid plans now feature discounts that lower monthly costs $5 after three months, and $10 after nine months. In offering such discounts, Verizon is essentially following the lead of Sprint's Boost Mobile, which implemented similar pricing rewards in 2010.

The new pricing options for Verizon Prepaid follow the operator's decision to run its first TV advertising campaign for its Visible prepaid brand. As reported by FierceWireless, the operator launched the campaign in May amid the loosening of widespread lockdown orders to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visible offers a $40 per month unlimited plan, and sales of the service are conducted entirely online.

Verizon historically has not put much emphasis on prepaid offerings, but that appears to be quickly changing as the US officially enters a recession.

That's noteworthy considering the US wireless industry in general has been recording record-setting losses of prepaid customers. But that trend could well reverse itself as operators like Verizon refresh their prepaid offerings and cash-strapped Americans hunt for cheaper wireless services.

Verizon's new prepaid efforts also come ahead of what likely will be a major change in the underpinnings of the prepaid market. Dish Network has agreed to close its purchase of roughly 10 million Boost-branded prepaid customers from T-Mobile on July 1. That transaction would signal Dish's entry into the mobile industry as one of the market's biggest prepaid vendors.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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