Despite the fact that many of its rivals beat AT&T to the punch, at least one industry insider says the potential launch of an "All In One" prepaid service is a move the carrier should make.
"All In One" will debut nationwide on June 15 after test runs in Texas and Florida. For feature phones, look for the offer to give you unlimited talk and text – plus some sort of data allotment – for $35 per month. If you have a smartphone, talk and text will also be unlimited, and you'll get 2GB of data on the carrier's HSPA network for $50, "people familiar with the matter" told Fierce Wireless. There might also be a $70 plan for 5GB. Users' service would be throttled (slowed) if they exceed their limits.
“Look under the covers at AT&T’s Q1 earnings report and you see net add declines in both prepaid (down 184,000) and reseller (down 252,000) being propped up by lower ARPU (though higher margin) connected device adds (up 431,000)," noted Yankee Group senior analyst Rich Karpinski. "Couple that with penetration of high-value smartphones reaching near saturation levels, and it’s not surprising to see AT&T paying renewed attention to prepaid.
As more of AT&T's customers shift to its 4G LTE network, HSPA (3G) space is being freed up.
"The success of a new prepaid brand will ultimately depend on blocking-and-tackling factors like retail/channel and device strategy, but a bigger emphasis on prepaid overall is a smart move by AT&T — mitigated a bit by the fact that both MNO and MVNO rivals got their first," Karpinski added.
AT&T's biggest rival – Verizon – recently launched a $35 feature-phone prepaid plan and reduced the cost of its prepaid smartphone offering. T-Mobile, as has been well discussed over the past month, is doing away with postpaid contracts entirely.
AT&T wouldn't comment on the article, so it's unknown whether "All In One" will replace its GoPhone prepaid service or somehow work in conjunction with it.
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