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TracFone Brands and T-Mobile Based Services Dominate 2nd Quarter, 2018 Wave7 Independent Dealer Survey

Telecom research firm Wave7 Research, has released its 2nd quarter, 2018 Independent Prepaid Dealer Survey. The quarterly survey is based on interviews with 30 independent, multi-brand dealers in 16 NFL cites. Dealers were asked which prepaid brands they carry and which were their top sellers. The survey was conducted in May, 2018.

Dealers reported that lost cost plans such as Lycamobile and Ultra Mobile's $19 plans and Simple Mobile's $25/month were especially popular. One dealer told Wave7 Research analyst Carlos Torres that customers say things like, "Why pay for a $80 plan that has all the bells & whistles, when I can have a cheap plan, and if I run out of data I can always rely on Wi-Fi?".  Simple Mobile's $50 ($45 with auto pay) unlimited everything plan was also cited as popular by dealers.

According to Wave7, the survey's  winners this quarter were Simple Mobile, Ultra Mobile, H2O Wireless and Page Plus. Simple Mobile was available at 25 of the 30 dealers and was a top three seller at 22 of them. Ultra Mobile was the runner up, with availability at 21 sellers and among the top three in sales at 17. H2O was 18 dealers and in the top three at 8. PagePlus was at 21 dealers and in the top three in sales at 7.

Net10 and GoSmart had wide distribution, but weak sales. Net10 was in 18 stores, GoSmart in 14. But Net10 was only in the top three in sales at one dealer where it was number 3. GoSmart was not among the top three sellers at any dealer.

Wave7 gave Verizon Prepaid a "mometum" award. Verizon Prepaid launched its dealer program in 2016 but its already in 14 out of 30 stores and is a the top three seller in 6.

Wave7 called Red Pocket, Telcel America and RokMobile the survey's losers. Red Pocket and Telcel were at only two dealers. ROK Mobile went from being at 3 dealers last quarter to none this time around. That's not surprising as ROK recently cancelled its dealer program and is now only available online. EasyGo Wireless and Eco Mobile, which had appeared in the past surveys were also nowhere to be found tis time around.

Here's the raw data from the survey (Q1, 2018 numbers are in parentheses, TracFone brands in blue).
Prepaid Carrier Presence among 30 dealers 1st place 2nd place 3rd place Also-ran
Simple Mobile 25 (28) 12 (9) 5 (7) 5 (8) 3 (4)
PagePlus 21 (26) 0 (2) 4 (2) 3 (4) 14 (18)
Ultra Mobile 20 (21) 6 (7) 7 (7) 4 (4) 3 (3)
H2O Wireless 18 (18) 2 (2) 3 (2) 3 (3) 10 (11)
Net10 18 (17) 0 (0) 0 (1) 1 (0) 17 (16)
T-Mobile Prepaid 16 (14) 1 (2) 4 (6) 5 (2) 6 (4)
Verizon Prepaid 14 (11) 3 (1) 1 (0) 2 (1) 8 (9)
Lycamobile 14 (9) 0 (0) 2 (0) 3 (2) 9 (7)
GoSmart 14 (15) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 14 (15)
Boost Mobile 10 (11) 1 (2) 2 (2) 2 (3) 5 (4)
MetroPCS 6 (9) 5 (5) 1 (1) 0 (1) 0 (2)
AT&T Prepaid 4 (4) 0 (0) 1 (0) 0 (1) 3 (3)
Total Wireless 2 (3) 1 (0) 0 (1) 1 (0) 0 (2)
Telcel America 2 (7) 1 (0) 0 (0) 1 (0) 0 (7)
RedPocket 2 (2) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 2 (2)
Selectel  1 (1) 0 (0) 1 (1) 0 (0) 0 (0)
Airvoice 1 (2) 0 (0) 0 (0) 1 (0) 0 (2)
Rok Mobile 0 (3) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (1) 0 (2)
EasyGo 0 (3) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (3)
Eco Mobile 0 (1) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (1)
As in previous surveys, results were dominated by the TracFone brands (Simple Mobile, PagePlus, Total Wireless, Net10, Telcel America and GoSmart) and by T-Mobile and its MVNOs (T-Mobile Prepaid, MetroPCS, Simple, Ultra, GoSmart, Lycamobile and Telcel).  TracFone's dominance is not surprising. They are by far the largest MVNO and spend more on advertising than their competitors. Having six brands from one source to offer dealers helps too. T-Mobile MVNOs tend to be the least expensive, which helps to drive sales. Having the survey conducted for the most part in sizable cities, where T-Mobule's network is at its best, probably contributes T-Mobile brands and MVNOs good showing as well.

Source: Wave7 Research

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16 comments:

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  1. That's not surprising in the fact that Tracfone has a near monopoly on prepaid MVNO, non-corporate brands. It is surprising because I heard Tracfone commissions have dropped significantly in recent years, though I guess dealers just take the hit and keep on pushing them.

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    Replies
    1. Who do you use?

      I lean towards AT&T MVNOs.

      Delete
    2. It's good for us if the commissions keep doing going down and down and down... It's really all an unnecessary middleman fee that should be cut out entirely.

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    3. Having local access to stock and consultation with a service advisor is something the average customer still demands. There are pros and cons to vertical integration, but retail won't be going away anytime soon.

      Delete
    4. Joe, as a literate person with access to a dictionary, I could see the TracFone has nothing like any sort of near Monopoly.

      All one has to do is read this website for all kinds of news about the very large number of prepaid mvnos which are not part of the four major carriers.

      Not a monopoly, because that means one company. Not even a near-monopoly.

      Delete
  2. I jump around. I am on Red Pocket Annual plan through Verizon right now and I just bought another year through ATT for when I renew. I am not very happy with the slow data speeds on Verizon and I am hoping ATT is faster (people are saying over 45mbps on RedPocket ATT) with a sacrifice of coverage for data allotment and speed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Uuuhhhmmmm, do other MVNO's like Cricket "choose" to cap their speeds @ 8mbps or is AT&T putting that cap restriction on them based on what Cricket pays At&t for access to their data & towers?
      Anybody?

      Delete
    2. Cricket is part of AT&T and thus is not strictly an MVNO. AT&T chooses to trottle Cricket, probably to encourage speed conscious customers to choose one of AT&T's more expensive products.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for responding, but what about other MNVO's in general?

      Do other MVNO's CHOOSE to cap data speeds or do the biggies (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc) force them to based on what price the MVNO is paying for access to everything?

      Delete
    4. MVNOs which haved acknowledged capping speeds include H2O (8 mbps), FreedomPop Sprint (1 mbps on free accounts, 5 mbps on paid ones) and US Mobile Verizon (1 mbps or 5 mbps on several cheaper unlimited plans). There are probably others but those are the only ones I'm aware of that have acknowledged it.

      Delete
  3. Cricket is the cheapest of the ATT owned brands, which is why they have slower speeds. But honestly, 8mbps (if that's what you normally get) is just fine for most applications (unless you want to download large files without wifi).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been sans Wifi for a few months and Cricket's been pretty solid all the way through.

      Activating autopay and snagging Target's 20% off BOGO deals (with a REDcard discount) knocks the price of unlimited down to $47.03, and there's no downside so long as you plan your large downloads accordingly.

      For those who need max speed, it's better to splurge on AT&T's $67.50 plan (after autopay and callingmart's recurring 10% off deal).

      Delete
  4. Hi Dennis,
    You are right about Cricket. Not strictly and MVNO.
    Same for MetroPCS.
    Same for Verizon Prepaid.

    The T-Mobile MVNO group have the best plans but the worst coverage due to using the T-Mobile native footprint. No roaming.
    Tending to lean toward the AT&T MVNO groups though the plans are not as great as the T-Mobile MVNO's, the coverage is much much better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check out Red Pocket’s $30 5gb plan on att. Supposedly not throttled and even cheaper with the annual plan ($20/month)

      Delete
  5. https://ww2.simplemobile.com/serviceplan

    SimpleMobile $25 3 GB LTE and drops to $20 with credit card active on the account. On TMobile network.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is limited - ends on September 30. Then it goes back to 1GB/month.

      Delete
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