A couple of prepaid subsidiaries of the fourth biggest wireless carrier in America have revealed that they are releasing most likely the cheapest smartphone of 2016 -- the Alcatel Dawn. Sprint's Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile both introduced the LTE device, which comes with a price of only $70 and is powered by Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Alcatel Dawn smartphone features a 4.5 inch thin film transistor (TFT) touch screen display screen partnered with a 5 megapixel camera on the rear side. As far as hardware specifications go, the Alcatel Dawn’s is pretty modest -- it it fitted with a 1.1 GigaHertz four core chip set, and supported with 1 gigabyte of random access memory (RAM) as well as 8 gigabytes of onboard storage. The 3G/4G LTE device also features a 1,780 mAh battery, Mexico roaming capabilities, and mobile hotspot capabilities.
There has been much talk about how the prepaid market is undergoing a sort of resurgence lately. Several years ago, wireless carriers played little attention to prepaid mobile users, preferring instead to focus on current or prospective postpaid subscribers. But recent quarters have seen increased attention in the prepaid sector, and as a result, carriers here and there are now trying to ramp up their prepaid efforts. Also telling is the fact that the average revenue per user (ARPU) gap between prepaid and postpaid mobile users is steadily shrinking.
Earlier this week for instance, MetroPCS (a prepaid arm of major US wireless carrier T-Mobile) targeted Sprint customers by introducing a $60 discount on any handset for users who decide to port their phone numbers from other mobile operators, which basically allows people who switch to get one of nine devices free of charge. On top of that, MetroPCS also gives customers the opportunity to get an extra line of service to their family plans for only $25 per month, providing them access to an additional 5 gigabytes of data per month if they already are under a plan that comes with the same amount of gigabyte inclusions or more.
As for Sprint, it needs to rejuvenate its prepaid division badly. During the most recent quarter, the wireless carrier post a loss of 264,000 net prepaid users. This must have hurt considering that in the previous year, the mobile service provider managed to post net additions of 546,000 customers. Sprint has already made some changes, recently naming Jim Hyde as president of the Sprint Prepaid Group, while at the same time appointing Dow Draper as the chief executive officer of Virgin Mobile, which will be undergoing a major overhaul in the next few months.
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