Monday, March 31, 2008

Virgin Mobile Switches Its Audience With Tracfone

In an unprecedented step of policy, to combat falling stock prices, Virgin Mobile will be focusing heavily on the core market of any sane cellular company: talkers. Tracfone seems to be doing just the opposite.

Effective today, Virgin Mobile will be discontinuing all phones higher in feature set than the Super Slice, with the Super Slice's existence still in question. Text messaging bundles will stay around, but a new website theme suggests that the main arm from now on will be voice calling, in this recession economy of ours.

Virgin Mobile's minute plans are being emphasized more and more, and rumor has it tat an unlimited option will be available in a few short days, though pricing remains a mystery. Rumor also has it that Virgin Mobile will be re-introducing its Shorty phone, though this time it'll be with a color screen. Sounds like something I've seen know, the Nikia 2126i from Tracfone?

Which reminds me: Tracfone is doing something even weirder. They're now tailoring their phones and services to the teeny bopper audience, with cheap phones and data-heavy services. In an unprecedented collusion with Virgin Mobile, Tracfone will be exchanging all its stock of Nokia and Motorola phones for Virgin Mobile's Kyocra...Kyocera and UTStarCom models. That means that the K126c on Tracfone will be here to stay. It looks like Tracfone has also secured a deal with Alcatel for cheap yet seemingly full-featured GSM phones, since Virgin Mobile is CDMA-only and Tracfone seems to still want to keep up their GSM service.

Effective immediately, all Tracfone promotional codes are void, the airtime cards now carrying a dollar denomination rather than a minute one, except for special "minute plans" where airtime, when purchased in bulk, is still less expensive. The Net10 brand seems to have survived intact, though it will be exclusively LG phone-wise for the forseeable future, to avoid tarnishing all of Tracfone's reputation with subpar phones. After all, Carlos Slim wants to get even richer off of the service, which is larger than the third and fourth largest cellular carriers in Mexico, combined. Then again, Slim (who owns the company that owns Tracfone) owns the company that owns the largest cell provider in Mexico anyway.

Look for garish-colored packaging on Tracfones near you, as well as more sensible-looking, ower-end but higher-quality Virgin Mobile phones. It's odd that Virgin Mobile would discad the main benefit of the Sprint network, data, in favor of a voice-centric model, but then again rumor has it that roaming agreements Tracfone has worked out over the years of its existence are being transferred over to Virgin Mobile in exchange for help on setting up data services and data roaming agreements to make Tracfone's CDMA arm experience a rich one.

Weird, but who am I to say what's riht and wrong in the cell industry? And who am I to write an article about the two big prepaid companies like there's actually something going on with them today?

Yes, folks, it's April 1st. Happy April Fools' Day!


John said...

heh... that was pretty good... on a roll there.. whats always great about April Fools posts.. people start out great and its a hoot but then they get carried away and it falls apart at the end =P.. was pretty good though. =P

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and AT&T announced a new penny per minute plan with a $1000 purchase of minutes. Time lasts two years from date of purchase.

April Fools!

Anonymous said...

:P You posted March 31....