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More Prepaid Brands Pull Out Inventory from Major Retailers

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It looks like there is a major change happening among prepaid brands. As noted by previous sightings, prepaid brands and other MVNOs have started to leave major retailers. In 2019, the brands that left Best Buy include Consumer Cellular, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile

The brands that recently made the exit from retail giants include Verizon Prepaid, Cricket Wireless, and AT&T Prepaid.  

To be more specific, Verizon Prepaid was recently pulled out from Target stores. The reduction of Verizon Prepaid's inventory in Target stores was gradually noticed since August. Although the stores carried a fully-stocked display during this time, their shelves started to become completely empty just a few weeks ago. 

And Wave7 Research confirmed in its latest prepaid report that Verizon Prepaid was being pulled out from Target. This move may have something to do with Verizon's plan to acquire Tracfone and the other brands that it owns, but we cannot discount the fact that Verizon Prepaid has been struggling for quite some time now. In fact, the prepaid brand has been dealing with quarter after quarter subscriber losses for the past couple of years. This only stopped in Q2 2020 with Verizon's 12,000 net subscriber adds after the health crisis. Part of this is because of Verizon's aggressive online promotion to entice customers to switch to prepaid. 

While Verizon Prepaid has exited Target stores, its inventory remains at Best Buy, Walmart, Dollar General, and Meijer. But this doesn't mean they won't decide to pull out their items from these retailers too. As Verizon continues to acquire Tracfone, the wireless provider may be shifting its entire prepaid retail strategy. 

As for AT&T Prepaid and Cricket Wireless, Wave7 Research started to notice the reduction of inventory of the two brands in the past several weeks. The ads of the two brands have also been taken down. When checking online, local inventory at Best Buy stores show little to no stock available for the phones sold by both prepaid brands. The only thing that remain in-store are prepaid SIM cards. 

Just like Verizon Prepaid though, the products of AT&T Prepaid and Cricket Wireless are still sold at Walmart and Target stores. But this also raises a concern of until when these products will be available. 

3 comments:

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  1. I wonder if this is because fewer people are shopping at big box stores and are doing it online instead. Or in the case of cellular service, people prefer going to smaller boutique stores.

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  2. So I wonder if Target will also stop selling Verizon prepaid refill cards? When Target has their sales on prepaid refill cards their discount can't be beat ($5 off $50 refill card). Add the Target Redcard 5% discount and you end up with a 14.5% discount. Plus there is no sales tax.

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  3. Scary, looks like MVNO's are going the way of the dodo bird. I fear that soon only Dish will remain. The Sprint shutdown and the subsequent loss of Tracfone to Verizon appears to have been the one-two punch that set this in motion. I wonder which MVNO is next to have its bell rung?

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