Prepaid has gone high tech, according to a report released today by New Millenium Research (NMRC). According to the report, more sophisticated handsets that can be embraced by younger text- and Web-oriented wireless customers have eliminated one of the major barriers to wider adoption of prepaid.
“The bottom line here is that prepaid no longer means low tech when it comes to phones. One of the biggest raps on prepaid phone service was that the phones were behind the state-of-the-art handsets,” states Allen Hepner, executive director for NMRC, in a press release.
While not endorsing any particular product or service, Hepner highlights the following developments in terms of the introduction of higher-tech prepaid handsets in the form of outlets such as Wal Mart’s Straight Talk, Verizon Wireless’ prepaid service, and Boost Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid unit.
In December 2008 and March 2009, the NMRC published public opinion survey results that gauged the attitudes of U.S. phone consumers about contract-based and wireless cell phone service. On the basis of that research, Hepner correctly forecast in March 2009 that millions of Americans could shift in the coming months into lower-cost prepaid plans in order to save money during the current recession.
According to that survey, as of March 2009, two out of five Americans with contract-based cell phones are likely to cut back on their cell phones to save money if, as is widely expected, the economy gets worse over the next six months.
IDC recently reported that prepaid subscribers account for 19.2 percent of subscribers for the top 10 carriers.