Lyca Mobile US is sending texts to customers who are using "old" Lycamobile SIMs telling them that effective today, they can no longer add funds to their accounts unless they replace their SIM cards. The text reads;
"As of July 1, recharge is no longer available for old LM SIMs. To continue Lycamobile service, SWAP your SIM for a new LM Plus SIM at Lycamobile.com or dial 612"
Upgrading to new Lycamobile SIM has several advantages and one big disadvantage:
Pluses of the new SIMs, which were introduced over a year ago, are:
- New SIMs work in unlocked phones and locked T-Mobile phones, the old SIMs only work in unlocked phones
- MMS and LTE data are only available only with new SIMs
- On the pay as you go plan outgoing calls are 2¢/minute on new SIMs and 5¢/minute on old SIMs. (Incoming calls are 2¢/minute with both old and new SIMs.)
I'm sure there are costs involved in running two different platforms and can understand Lyca wanting to move all customers to the current one. But why make the new platform inferior in one respect, the availability of data on the pay as you go plan? I think the reason for the lack of data with the new SIMs is that Lycamobile is trying to get rid of its pay as you go users.
Pay as you go, which was prominently featured on its web site when Lycamobile entered the US market in 2013, is now a secret plan. It's not mentioned on the site but is the default plan that Lycamobile accounts fall back to when there's no active monthly plan. New customers can get the PayGo plan by activating a Lycamobile SIM and adding a $10 top up you. Monthly plan users can switch to PayGo by adding a $10 top up and waiting for their plan month to expire.
For very light users the pay as you go plan PayGo is an incredible deal because airtime never expires as long as a call is made, text is sent or data is used at least every 90 days. Other perks include free calls to toll-free numbers and free incoming texts (outgoing texts are 4¢ each).
It costs less than 20¢ a year to keep a Lycamobile SIM active as a "glovebox phone" for emergency use. That sort of use is obviously not profitable for Lyca so I can see why they keep the pay as you go plan hidden. But I don't understand why they don't either eliminate the pay as you go plan or require a minimum top up every 30, 60 or 90 days like every other US operator that offers PayGo does.
Although old SIMs can no longer be topped up they still work, including for data. With no minimum top-up required, frugal users can keep an old SIM alive for many years by making a short call every 90 days.
Related post: Prepaid Operator Profile - Lycamobile