US prepaid wireless subscribers exceed 100 million, postpaid makes a comeback

by: Bams SadewoAugust 14, 2012
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It’s another triumphant quarterly result for the prepaid sector in the US. The latest US mobile data market update from analyst Chetan Sharma reveals that more American customers are taking the prepaid route in Q2 2012 compared to the previous quarter. For the first time ever in history, prepaid subscriptions in the United States passed the 100 million mark.

In the postpaid sector, US wireless carriers were able to turn things around in Q2 by adding a total of 400,000 new postpaid subscriptions, a feat that was led by Verizon Wireless. Only Sprint and T-Mobile registered postpaid declines, which makes it the eight straight quarter of decline for the latter. The year-on-year growth for prepaid now stands at 12%.

Explaining the numbers, the mobile analyst believes that bad economy plays a major part in the move towards prepaid service for wireless users in the country. With the economy not likely to be picking up steam anytime soon, the trend is expected to continue for the rest of the year.

Overall, Verizon maintains it dominance and now holds 34% of carrier market share. Big Red’s lead is followed closely behind by AT&T with 32% and Sprint with 17%. T-Mobile is in fourth place with 10% of market share.

Are you one of the many new prepaid wireless subscribers in the US? What made you decide to make the switch? Sound off in the comments below.

  • Liquidrain7

    I recently got a GSM Nexus from the Google Play Store and T-Mobile’s $60 prepaid unlimited everything plan. Sure, coverage will not be what I had on Verizon, but not being locked down to a carrier and getting timely Nexus updates is a wonderful thing!

  • gopadge

    I’ve been using T-Mobile prepaid for two years now. I’m on my fourth phone in that time frame all out of choice.

    $50 a month for unlimited everything + no contract + changing phones as often as I want = Awesome!

    • Timmy

      I’ll second that.

      “$50 a month for unlimited everything + no contract + changing phones as often as I want = Awesome!”

  • Timmy

    I’ve been using the Straight Talk $45/mo plan with my GNote since April and I’ve been very pleased. I haven’t really experienced a noticeable slow down in receiving data and calls have been fine. GPS seems to work well too. I’ve never come close to going over the “magical” 2 GB “unlimited” barrier but I know the situation is different for others who use more data.

    I’ll probably sell my Note and get the Note 2 (or whatever is best at the time) in October/November and continue the trend of having a new phone without worrying about contracts.

  • +1 to all the comments here.
    I often read comments or blog posts from people in the US or Canada who complain about carrier behavior or their contracts. To chance something there is only one way – go prepaid so you can switch every day. Here in germany it changed a lot. Sub-carriers shown up, price dumping began and most people use prepaid now. Freedom of buying the phone you want when you want. The costs are much cheaper if you do the math what you pay for an unlocked phone + prepaid costs compared to those long contracts. Event the prepaid plans got much more flexible. Some months I buy just data, other months I also buy unlimited calls depending on what I actually need. Nothing puts more pressure on the carrier and their service than a customer who can go to a competitor every day without having to worry about a contract.

  • KagakuGakusei

    For me it was AT&T’s general terribleness and the way they treat their subscribers and the fact that with straight talk I could bring the phone I already had, pay less and get more.

  • Been with Boost Mobile for 7 years, now pay $35 a month for unlimited talk & data.

  • Had straight talk for a few years and it was great for what i was using it for. Switched to Tmobile prepaid and got 4g speeds and unlimited everything for 60 a month. Just the fact that I dont have a contract over my head and that I can go back to Straight Talk if things get worse.