Speaking at Wednesday’s Barclay’s Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie said AT&T’s prepaid service is about opening up choice for its customers.
“What’s really happened, I think, is customers want to make their own choices,” Lurie said. “Prepaid used to be about I can’t get credit…Prepaid today is not bad, prepaid today is about choice…Smartphone growth will continue, and the customers will choose how to pay us.”
Lurie said AT&T has been able to draw customers to its Cricket prepaid brand by following along with this mindset.
“We went in with an attitude that this isn’t about a lower end customer, this is about a choice,” Lurie said. “We also said can we treat these folks like first class customers…It’s worked incredibly well.”
Lurie’s comments come on the back of a strong third quarter for AT&T’s Cricket brand, which helped draw 466,000 prepaid net adds – the company’s best prepaid net add quarter in nearly 8 years.
Lurie said Wedesnday the carrier’s prepaid ARPU currently stands at just over $40, compared to a postpaid ARPU of $68.82.
In his responses, Lurie also supported yesterday’s comments from CEO Randall Stephenson that the wireless carrier is eyeing a video service that could compete with Verizon’s Over-the-Top Go90 platform, saying that half the company’s network traffic is video and AT&T is “just getting started with that.”
Going forward, Lurie said AT&T will expand upon its 4×4 wireless and TV package and look to offer more comprehensive bundles that cover all aspects of its customers’ digital lives.
Lurie said AT&T is still hoping to woo some of the 15 million DirecTV customers who don’t have AT&T wireless service. In August, the carrier offered $500 in incentives to DirecTV customers who made the wireless jump to AT&T.
According to Lurie, the carrier’s ability to be strategic with its promotions has had a soothing – and cost saving – effect on customers.
By not getting caught up in “deal of the day” competitions, Lurie said AT&T has created a “calm” environment for its customers that has reduced calls to its service centers by two million calls per month and allowed the company to save money in staffing costs.
Lurie said AT&T will continue its expansion in Mexico, expanding both its pre- and postpaid offerings there to create a seamless cross-border carrier experience.
In November 2014, AT&T jumped into the Mexican carrier space with the $2.5 billion acquisition of Mexico wireless provider Iusacell. The purchase netted AT&T Iusacell’s licenses, network assets, retail stores as well as its approximately 8.6 million subscribers.
The carrier followed up with the acquisition of Nextel Mexico in May of this year and in June announced plans invest $3 billion to expand its network in Mexico to cover 100 million people by the end of 2018.