Verizon intros Yahoo Mobile brand into prepaid space

Verizon announced it will sell prepaid mobile services through its new Yahoo Mobile offering. The action appears designed to leverage the Yahoo brand the operator acquired in 2017 as well as the prepaid platform it developed for its existing Visible prepaid brand.

Importantly, Yahoo Mobile is virtually identical to Verizon's Visible offering: They both provide unlimited LTE service for $40 per month. The one new factor that Yahoo Mobile brings to the table is a free Yahoo Mail Pro email account, which typically costs $40 a year.

As Light Reading previously reported, Verizon launched Visible in 2018 as a "truly digital-native" mobile service that uses a cloud-based instance of Mavenir's core platform running on Verizon's cloud, a cloud-based version of Vlocity/Salesforce for ordering, and a digital instance of Verizon's Matrixx platform running on Google's cloud for charging.

A Verizon representative didn't directly answer a question from Light Reading about whether Yahoo Mobile is based on the Visible platform, noting only that "Yahoo Mobile is working with all Verizon's assets, including Visible, to bring Yahoo mobile to life!"

Verizon's Guru Gowrappan, CEO of the company's media business that includes Yahoo, told CNN that Yahoo Mobile combines a "really trusted brand" in Yahoo and the "best network in the United States" in Verizon.

The publication noted Yahoo counted 182 million unique US web visitors in February, according to Comscore. However, the brand certainly doesn't have the same heft or buzz as other Internet brands like Google or TikTok.

This Yahoo brand is cool, right?
This Yahoo brand is cool, right?

Verizon's expanded interest in prepaid, via the launch of Yahoo Mobile, is noteworthy considering US wireless network operators collectively are recording record-setting losses of prepaid customers. According to the Wall Street analysts at research firm Cowen, US wireless carriers combined lost a record 238,000 prepaid customers during the fourth quarter of 2019. The firm said 2019 stands as the first year ever that the wireless industry lost prepaid customers during the course of a full year.

Verizon's Yahoo Mobile and Visible prepaid offerings stand against AT&T's Cricket Wireless prepaid service as well as T-Mobile's "Metro by T-Mobile" prepaid operation. Other prepaid brands operate as MVNOs – piggybacking on wireless networks from the likes of Verizon and AT&T – and are provided by companies ranging from Google to TracFone to Consumer Cellular.

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

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