Apparently so. According to Wave7 Research, it seems that the prepaid arm of Sprint has decided to pull in the reins of a particular special offer that that has Boost Mobile hand free devices to customers who switch from rival networks. The talk is that the move was meant to be sort of a peace gesture, but interestingly, Boost Mobile’s competitors are having none of it.
Earlier this year, Boost Mobile had debuted a promotional deal in which it offered users one of five devices free or a $50 discount on other handsets for each line of service switched from tier one mobile operators. At that time, the prepaid carrier was compelled to launch such a promo in order to keep up with the increasingly intense level of competition in prepaid mobile.
It bears noting that Boost Mobile still continues to entice prospective switchers with its $50 discount. However, it has shifted its focus away from promoting the free devices. At the point of sale, the wireless carrier is not giving away free handsets anymore, but has instead started crediting switching users right after they complete their payment of the second monthly bill. Also, the $50 discount now applies to only five handsets -- LG’s Tribute 5 and K3, Kyocera’s Hydro Reach, and Alcatel’s Dawn and OneTouch Conquest. Previously, it was applied to any device offered by Boost Mobile.
It is quite possible that what Boost Mobile is doing right now is simply trying not add to the chaos that is prepaid mobile. Sure, prepaid has shown some significant growth in recent quarters, but when it comes to customer turnover rate, prepaid still exhibits ridiculously higher churn compared to postpaid mobile.
And as pointed out by Wave7 Research in a note to subscribers, Boost Mobile appears to be changing its strategy. Instead of offering free or discounted mobile devices for switching customers, the prepaid carrier seems to be shifting now to offering deals that try to provide value, either through a rather straightforward Unlimited Unhook’d plan that costs $50 or a 1 gigabyte plan that costs $30.
Unfortunately for Boost Mobile, its peace offering has failed to encourage its competitors from also pulling in the reins of their respective deals. Take MetroPCS, for instance (a prepaid subsidiary of major US wireless carrier T-Mobile) -- it still continues to aggressively promote its own free phone offer for defecting customers. AT&T’s Cricket Wireless also had recently debuted its autumn promos, which also try to entice switchers with free handsets, while at the same time, quietly getting rid of activation fees for porting mobile users.
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