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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 marvdmartian on 4/28/2010 11:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
Well, yeah, but not all of us are addicted to our phones, ya know?

I bought my GoPhone a few years ago, when I was between addresses and didn't want to be out of touch. I kept it for those times when I'm away from home, for the same reason (and because making credit card phone calls puts even cell phone plan costs to shame!).

AT&T offered me 2 plans when I bought my phone:
1. 25 cents a minute, no daily charge
2. 10 cents a minute, $1 daily charge for any day I use the phone.
I went with #2, because most of the time, if I'm going to use the phone, I'll use it for longer than 6 minutes (pretty much the break even point between the 2 plans).

But I use my phone for 2 things, to make phone calls, and to receive phone calls. I don't do texting, I don't need a data plan, I don't require a way for people to send me pictures, and I don't need to take pictures with my phone. I have other technology that does all the things I don't need my phone to do, and they do them much better than a phone can.

And I probably don't go through more than $125/year using my prepaid phone, and that's during a heavy use year. So yeah, I don't use my phone much, but I only pay around $10 a month. Beats the hell out of any post-paid plan, and for every $100 I spend, they give me $10 worth as a bonus. Oh yeah, and I'm still using the same $15 initial cost phone after 3 years.

Works for me!

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