Prepaid Wireless in United States: Market Analysis and Forecast 2019 – 2024

Prepaid Wireless in United States: Market Analysis and Forecast 2019 – 2024

Mind Commerce, Date of Publication: Jan 31, 2019, 189 Pages

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 continued evolution of prepaid wireless in general as part of a dominate trend towards prepay 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 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, Mind Commerce strongly recommends that MNOs offer their 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.

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.

Target Audience:

  • Prepaid service providers
  • Mobile network operators
  • Wireless device manufacturers
  • Wireless infrastructure providers
  • Mobile Virtual Network Operators
  • Mobile application store companies
  • Prepaid service distributors and marketers
  • Application, content, and commerce providers


Companies in Report:


  • Airvoice Wireless
  • AT&T
  • Black Wireless
  • Best Cellular
  • Black Wireless
  • Boom! Mobile
  • Boost Mobile
  • CellNUVO
  • Cellular Abroad
  • Consumer Cellular
  • CREDO Mobile
  • Cricket Wireless
  • DataPass
  • Dataxoom
  • easyGO (Locus)
  • EcoMobile
  • Freedompop
  • Gen Mobile
  • Google FI
  • GoSmart Mobile
  • GreatCall
  • Hayai Mobile
  • H2O Wireless (Locus)
  • Ideal Mobile
  • Jolt Mobile
  • KidsConnect
  • Kajeet
  • Karma Mobility
  • Liberty Wireless
  • Lycamobile
  • Metro by T-Mobile
  • Mint Mobile
  • NET10
  • Page Plus Cellular
  • Payless Cellular
  • PixWireless
  • PureTalk
  • Red Pocket Mobile
  • Republic Wireless
  • Simple Mobile
  • Straight Talk
  • T-Mobile
  • Tello
  • TextNow
  • Ting Mobile
  • Tracfone Wireless
  • Twigby
  • Ultra Mobile
  • Unreal Mobile
  • US Cellular
  • Virgin Mobile USA
  • Ultra Mobile
  • Verizon
  • Walmart Family Mobile
  • Zing Wireless

Prepaid Wireless in United States: Market Analysis and Forecast 2019 – 2024

1              Executive Summary

2              Introduction

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

4              United States Prepaid Wireless Carrier Service Provider Analysis

4.1          AT&T

4.1.1      Plans

4.1.2      Feature Analysis

4.1.3      SWOT Analysis

4.1.4      AT&T MVNO Companies

4.2          Sprint

4.2.1      Overview

4.2.2      Plans

4.2.3      Feature Analysis

4.2.4      SWOT Analysis

4.2.5      Sprint MVNO Companies

4.3          T-Mobile

4.3.1      Overview

4.3.2      Plans

4.3.3      Feature Analysis

4.3.4      SWOT Analysis

4.3.5      T-Mobile MVNO Companies

4.4          US Cellular

4.4.1      Overview

4.4.2      Plans

4.4.3      Feature Analysis

4.4.4      SWOT Analysis

4.5          Verizon

4.5.1      Overview

4.5.2      Plans

4.5.3      Feature Analysis

4.5.4      SWOT Analysis

4.5.5      Verizon MVNO Companies

4.6          Prepaid Wireless Industry Consolidation

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




Figure 1: Prepaid Phone Options

Figure 2: Roaming in Cellular Networks

Figure 3: AT&T Prepaid Pricing

Figure 4: Sprint Prepaid Pricing

Figure 5: Verizon Prepaid Pricing

Figure 6: USA MVNOs

Figure 7: Airvoice Wireless Pricing

Figure 8: Jolt Mobile Pricing

Figure 9: Consumer Cellular Pricing

Figure 10: Liberty Wireless Pricing

Figure 11: Walmart Family Mobile Pricing




Table 1: Wireless Prepaid Unique Subscribers by Connectivity Network 2019 – 2024

Table 2: Wireless Prepaid Subscribers 2019 – 2024

Table 3: Wireless Prepaid Revenue by Voice vs. Data vs. VAS 2019 – 2024

Table 4: Wireless Prepaid Revenue by Connectivity 2019 – 2024

Table 5: Wireless Prepaid Revenue 2019 – 2024

Table 6: Wireless Prepaid Average Monthly ARPU 2019 – 2024

Table 7: Wireless Prepaid Vendor Market Share by Subscription 2019 – 2024


Date of Publication:
Jan 31, 2019
File Format:
PDF via E-mail
Number of Pages:
189 Pages