This research evaluates the prepaid wireless market in the United States including major provider analysis and service assessment, technologies involved in prepaid service delivery, and assessment of the future of prepaid communications, content, and commerce. The report also provides forecasts for 2019 through 2024. The report also analyzes major MVNO companies and offerings. The report also provides a view into the future of prepaid wireless and market forecasts through 2024 including subscribers and Revenue by Voice vs. Data vs. VAS and by Connectivity Type.
Prepaid wireless service providers in the United States have become increasingly competitive in recent years as they evolve offerings to be more on par with post-paid service features and plans. For example, Verizon Wireless now offers prepaid family plans, unlimited plans, and support for BYOD whereas this was not the case just a few years ago. We anticipate the continued evolution of prepaid wireless in general as part of a dominant trend towards prepaying mobile services becoming increasingly more comparable with post-paid wireless.
We anticipate significant upheaval in the prepaid wireless market as a result of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger. We have already witnessed some minor changes, such as the rebranding of Metro PCS to Metro by T-Mobile. There is a strong reason to believe that the combined company will make more significant changes post-merger including rationalization of pricing, feature functionality, and ultimately brand consolidation. There is also the likelihood of substantively higher prices in the long-term.
In the intermediate term, there will be a considerable impact on the non-subsidiary prepaid brands that rely upon a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) model for services delivery. The combined MVNOs supported by the two companies will find themselves in a weaker negotiating position regarding deal terms. T-Mobile subsidiaries will likely evolve to a purely T-Mobile. Along the way, these subsidiaries are expected to receive better feature functionality, support, and differentiation as a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) owned brand. The overall effect will be to move the combined company towards a consolidated prepaid wireless business unit with enhanced profitability and more competitive against prepaid wireless offerings from AT&T and Verizon.
The future of prepaid wireless communications will depend on more than just carrier-centric applications, communications, content, and commerce. For example, prepaid will be an important aspect of many next-generation services that are provided by a variety of third-party service companies that do not wish to offer a prepaid option, thus relying upon wireless carrier billing via prepay. Growth in prepaid wireless service will also depend on the extent to which next-generation services such as virtual reality are generally supported on a prepay basis. This is to say that prepaid customers must have access to wireless data plans that put them on par with postpaid in terms of both bandwidth and low-latency required for acceptable end-user quality of experience.
While many emerging applications will be offered by Over-the-Top (OTT) service providers, we strongly recommend that MNOs offer they're own branded/controlled Value-added Service (VAS) applications. The OTT application business model has caused data payload (e.g. apps that use data) to become increasingly more valuable to consumers than data itself, which is rapidly becoming a marginalized commodity. With this development, VAS applications become much more important to the network operators.
With the ever-increasing commoditization of carrier core services (mostly voice and messaging), there will be a growing dependence on VAS applications for initially top-line revenue growth (as data growth tapers off and margins are squeezed) and then for margin growth as bearer services become a cost-plus commodity. Prepaid wireless service providers must also provide their own VAS apps to remain competitive, even if it necessitates them offering those apps on an OTT basis themselves.
Key Topics Covered:
1 Executive Summary
3 United States Communication Service Providers 3.1 Wireless Carrier Offerings 3.1.1 Prepaid and Postpaid Wireless Market Overview 3.1.2 Prepaid Technology Approaches 3.1.3 Prepaid and Post-paid Market Strategy 3.1.4 Prepaid Wireless Technology 3.1.5 Prepaid Market Outlook 3.2 USA Prepaid Wireless Market Handset Providers 3.3 Drivers for Growth in Wireless Prepaid Services 3.3.1 Credit Challenged 3.3.2 Unbanked Users 3.3.3 Temporary and Infrequent Users 3.4 Other Factors and Outlook
5 Sprint and T-Mobile Merger Impact on Prepaid Wireless 5.1.1 Impact on USA Carrier Ecosystem as a Whole 5.1.2 Impact on Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) 5.1.3 Impact on Prepaid Subsidiaries: Boost, Metro PCS, and Virgin Mobile
6 Mobile Virtual Network Operators 6.1 Overview 6.2 MVNOs Leverage MNO Assets 6.3 MVNOs Leverage MVNE Infrastructure and Services 6.4 MVNO Strategies 6.5 MVNO Differentiation 6.6 Prepaid vs. Post-paid Offerings 6.7 Plan Overview and Analysis 6.8 Select MVNO Case Study Analysis 6.8.1 Airlink Mobile (DS Mobile) 6.8.2 Airvoice Wireless 6.8.3 JOLT Mobile 6.8.4 Boost Mobile 6.8.5 Consumer Cellular 6.8.6 GreatCall 6.8.7 kajeet 6.8.8 Liberty Wireless 6.8.9 H2O Wireless (Locus Telecommunications) 6.8.10 Virgin Mobile USA 6.8.11 Cricket (AT&T) 6.8.12 Wal-Mart 6.8.13 Page Plus
7 USA Prepaid Wireless Forecasts 2019 - 2024 7.1 Wireless Prepaid Subscriber Forecast by Connectivity Type 2019 - 2024 7.2 Prepaid Wireless Revenue Forecast by Type, and Connectivity 2019 - 2024 7.3 Monthly ARPU Forecast 2019 - 2024 7.4 Prepaid Wireless Service Provider Market Share 2019 - 2024
8 Future of Prepaid Wireless: Value-added Services 8.1 Real-time Communications: RCS and WebRTC 8.2 Prepaid and Stored Value in Mobile Commerce 8.3 BYOD and Prepaid 8.4 Prepaid and Payments 8.5 Prepaid and Wearables 8.6 Prepaid and the Smart Workplace 8.7 Prepaid and Virtual Reality 8.8 Prepaid and Public Safety 8.9 Prepaid and Internet of Things (IoT) 8.10 Offer Strategies for Value Added Services 8.10.1 Subscription 8.10.2 Per-use Services 8.10.3 Data 8.10.4 Messaging 8.10.5 On-demand Service 8.10.6 Up-selling from On-demand to Subscription
9 Conclusions and Recommendations
10 Appendix 10.1 MVNO Types 10.1.1 Full MVNO 10.1.2 Service Provider 10.1.3 ESP: Enhanced Service Provider (Hybrid MVNO) 10.1.4 Branded Reseller 10.2 MVNO Models 10.2.1 Discount MVNOs 10.2.2 Lifestyle/niche MVNOs 10.2.3 Media/Entertainment MVNOs 10.2.4 Ethnic MVNOs 10.2.5 Business MVNOs 10.2.6 Brand MVNOs 10.2.7 Data MVNOs 10.2.8 M2M/Telemetry MVNOs 10.2.9 Quad Play MVNOs 10.2.10 Roaming MVNOs 10.3 Additional Case Study Analysis of USA MVNO Companies 10.3.1 CellNUVO 10.3.2 Cellular Abroad 10.3.3 AirVoice Wireless 10.3.4 Airlink Mobile 10.3.5 Jasper Wireless (Cisco) 10.3.6 ZingPCs 10.3.7 Boost Mobile 10.3.8 Disney Mobile 10.3.9 ZIP SIM 10.3.10 Bratz Mobile 10.3.11 Consumer Cellular 10.3.12 CREDO Mobile 10.3.13 DBS Communications 10.3.14 Defense Mobile 10.3.15 Freedom-Wireless 10.3.16 GreatCall 10.3.17 Kajeet 10.3.18 KORE Wireless 10.3.19 Liberty Wireless 10.3.20 MetroPCS 10.3.21 Lycamobile 10.3.22 PixWireless 10.3.23 National Geographic 10.3.24 NET10 10.3.25 Nextel Partners 10.3.26 Page Plus 10.3.27 Payless Cellular 10.3.28 PlatinumTel Communications 10.3.29 Google Fi 10.3.30 Red Pocket Mobile 10.3.31 Ting 10.3.32 Total Call Mobile 10.3.33 Tracfone Wireless 10.3.34 Virgin Mobile USA 10.3.35 Cricket Wireless 10.3.36 H2O Wireless 10.3.37 RingPlus 10.3.38 PureTalk