In the United States, we are mainly a postpay mobile market.’a0 That is, around 70-80% of US mobile customers are pay a fixed monthly cost for a bucket of minutes and SMS messages each and every month.’a0 Also, we are happy to have subsidized handsets that are either free or very cheap.’a0 In exchange for signing a 2-year agreement, most Americans are happy getting a $0-$100 handset that they will have on contract for a 24-month period.
With the economic recession, more and more folks are ditching this practice and going with a pre-paid phone whereby you pay for a fixed set of minutes and typically buy phones without subsidy.’a0 Increasingly, Americans are enjoying the freedom and flexibility that the pre-paid system provides them.’a0 However, for the longest time, pre-paid customers have only had the choice of basic and feature phones to choose from.
In a new move, many pre-paid mobile service providers are now offering smartphones. Providers such as Cricket, Boost Mobile and MetroPCS are offering phones running Android and BlackBerry OS.’a0 As a result, now for an increased up front cost, pre-paid consumers now have a larger array of phone capabilities to select amongst.
With this new development, pre-paid customers no longer have to settle for a crummy handset in choosing to be pre-paid.
Even though the US is mainly post-paid, these figures are changing.’a0 Small carriers such as Cricket and MetroPCS are increasing subscriber numbers.’a0 Also bigger carriers such as T-Mobile USA and Sprint are making moves to corner this growing market.
T-Mobile USA launched the Even More Plus plans that allow customers to buy any phone from T-Mobile at full retail price (no subsidy) with no contract and with slightly cheaper voice/data plans.’a0 Sprint is using a different method; utilizing subsidiaries to offer cheap phones and inexpensive voice/data plans.
Hopefully this momentum grows, as it makes the entire mobile market more competitive.’a0 Personally, I hate contracts and choose T-Mobile because they are friendly to this.’a0 More Americans are beginning to think this way and I think that’s a good thing.’a0 🙂