Competition among U.S. prepaid mobile service providers has once again heated up. *2016 saw the top five prepaid carriers make numerous promotional service offers to attract new customers, but the total number of offers declined during 2017. However, increased marketing activity has set the stage for the overall number of promotional offers in the prepaid segment to outpace 2016’s total by the end of Q3 2018, according to GlobalData a leading data and analytics company.
Prepaid service promotions tracked by GlobalData include special offers that are not exclusive to a device and include extensions to a promotion, such as pushing back an offer’s expiration date.
Examples of service promotions are when a carrier offers a certain number of lines at a discounted price or gives away the first month of service for free to customers signing up for a specific price plan.
According to Jamie Huff, Lead Analyst: Global Telecom Consumer Pricing and Promotions at GlobalData, “Through the second quarter of 2018, TracFone and Sprint were the most active service providers in terms of prepaid service promotions. This count includes each company’s secondary brands, such as TracFone’s StraightTalk, Net10, Simple Mobile and others, as well as Sprint’s Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile prepaid brands.
“Verizon, which was quite active on the prepaid service promotions front in 2016, stayed out of the fray this year through Q2. Nonetheless, our syndicated research indicates that the number of promotional offers from all of the largest carriers combined will top 2017’s full-year results sometime this quarter.
Huff added, “Carriers continue to streamline their prepaid offerings with fewer and simplified plans. Mobile hotspot access, streaming and network priority limits are becoming competitive differentiators.
“In addition, increased high-speed data allotments continue to be a theme as competitors try to out-compete one another. Unlike postpaid carriers who have primarily moved to truly unlimited plans, prepaid carriers still see the need for tiered plans with varying allotments of high-speed data.”
‘*’ The data is taken from GlobalData’s Prepaid Wireless U.S. Services Database