Action Line: Prepaid cellphone plans a smart option
BY PHIL MULKINS World Action Line Editor
Friday, December 23, 2011
12/23/11 at 5:10 AM
Dear Action Line: What is the popularity status of the no-contract, prepaid cellphone vs. contract-based cellphone plans? I'm getting one or the other for Christmas and don't want to have to pay the $350 "early termination fee" the majors charge. - C.B., Tulsa
In October 2010, independent telecom-technology think tank New Millennium Research Council predicted a major shift in popularity from contract-based cellphone plans to prepaid (no contract) plans.
The shift started late in 2009, picked up speed through 2010 and accelerated through 2011. Cash-strapped consumers are dumping high-priced, contract-based wireless for thrifty, no-contract alternatives for $50 per month or less even with unlimited voice, text, email and Internet service.
This communications revolution rides on three trends: flexible pricing for prepaids, smartphone penetration into the prepaids arena and full-scale adoption of prepaids by big-box retailers.
The January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine says the prediction came true.
In the magazine's "cellphone service overall" ratings in the prepaid category, TracFone scored No. 1 at 82 percent consumer satisfaction, Straight Talk at No. 2 (78 percent) and Net10 at No. 5 (75 percent). By comparison, the major contract-based cellphone providers Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T all scored worse in consumer satisfaction.
TracFone officials say they're delighted by this new evidence from the respected Consumer Union organization, which publishes Consumer Reports, that no-contract cellphone service is the way to go for smart consumers.
In the magazine's report, one TracFone official noted that if there is one thing Consumer Reports could have done differently it would have been recommending that consumers switch to prepaid wireless as a major cost-saving move.
The TracFone spokesman noted that if a TracFone, Straight Talk or Net10 customer is happier than a contract-based cellphone consumer who is paying two to three times more for the same service and facing hefty contract cancellation fees, there is no logical reason for phone consumers to rule out the no-contract option.
See the full text of the Consumer Reports article online at tulsaworld.com/CRprepaidcell The magazine's findings were based on a survey of more than 66,000 Consumer Reports subscribers.
For more information on TracFone cellphone choices, go to tulsaworld.com/TracFone, StraightTalk at tulsaworld.com/StraightTalk and Net10 at tulsaworld.com/Net10
TracFone Wireless, America's prepaid wireless leader, is a subsidiary of América Móvil, a company with more wireless customers than AT&T and Verizon combined.
Original Print Headline: Prepaid wireless a smart option
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