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Verizon, AT&T and others still struggle to attract new subscribers

The economy is finally seeing recovery after quarters of disappointing figures, but AT&T and Verizon Wireless are still finding it difficult to woo new wireless subscribers.

Verizon signed 423,000 customers to postpaid contracts, while AT&T added 512,000 new subscribers.  AT&T’s new subscriber base saw a 43% decline compared to one year ago, while Verizon's 423,000 tally was a 55% drop compared to 2009.

Rather than latch on to costly two-year phone contracts, many wireless customers are now choosing prepaid wireless phones. The use of a prepaid plan allows owners to pay just for the minutes and data they use, which is especially helpful as many Americans continue to closely watch their budgets.

Unfortunately for wireless carriers, prepaid phone plans offer less profit for the host companies -- which is exactly why all four carriers offer phone specials, buy-one-get-one promotions, and other incentives to get customers hooked into long-term contracts.

AT&T is expected to again add more prepaid phone owners than postpaid customers in the next quarter -- a troubling trend for the carrier that has exclusive rights to the Apple iPhone.  Verizon continues to seek out the iPhone, though AT&T and Apple still reportedly have a strong working relationship. However, a possible Verizon-Apple partnership will be a significant victory for Verizon.

Verizon has used the Google Android mobile OS for several major smartphones, including the Motorola Droid and upcoming Droid Incredible, though the company understands the consumer market is rather fickle at the moment.



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By mcnabney on 4/28/2010 9:06:45 AM , Rating: 3
Wireless companies make plenty of money off of prepaid. The reason they want customers under contract is that prepaid customers drop service/change carriers at a much much higher rate. Would you really want to spend all of that money attracting a customer and subsidizing a device for a customer that will deactivate in five months when you could be going after customers that will be with you for at least the term of the contract?


By michal1980 on 4/28/2010 11:26:46 AM , Rating: 2
The pre-paid phones are general very basic. I doubt they are subsidized much at all.

They want contract people because on average your contract person is paying ~$3/mintue

http://www.ucan.org/telecommunications/landline/li...


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