In the U.S., AT&T Mobility is planning to launch new prepaid services for smartphones, offering unlimited talking and texting and 2GB of data and is testing the plans in Florida and Texas this month. In South Africa, Virgin Mobile has launched new prepaid price plans offering subscribers every third minute, SMS or megabyte of data free of charge.
These two launches reinforce our conclusion that prepaid services are on the ascent, especially prepaid plans that are more like postpaid plans. Increasingly, they feature rich data allowances and are intended for the full-functionality smartphone user. The aforementioned plans from AT&T and Virgin are hardly traditional, low-end “dumb-phone” plans and are consistent with what our researchers see happening in the world on a daily basis. Such high-end plans are going to assume a more prominent place in the market, and operators would do well to focus on offering prepaid options targeted specifically at this group.