Archive for November 24th, 2009

Prepaid mobile broadband gaining traction

AT&T (NYSE:T) this week became the latest operator to explore prepaid mobile broadband, further validating the trend toward pay-as-you-go wireless services.Previously prepaid operators like Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) and Virgin Mobile were the only ones interested in being prepaid data operators, while the big operators stuck with their big monthly contracts. The landscape, though,is shifting as both AT&T and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) have taken up prepaid data plans.

Likely neither operator expects that prepaid will supplant postpaid, but given the high cost of monthly data plan, the length of the contracts required, and the onerous data caps applied for going over one’s data budget, they’re likely getting wise to the fact that a contract plan isn’t for everyone. The prices they’re charging–$50 for500MB of usage–also ensures that a postpaid plan will always be more attractiveif you can afford the cost and contract commitment. But with daily and weekly options, prepaid would be far more attractive to intermittent users.

The question is whether the big operators’ more restrictive plans can hold up to far more competitive pricing in the market. Virgin, now owned by Sprint (NYSE:S), is charging $60 for 1 GB of capacity. Leap Wireless charges $40 for unlimited access to its EV-DO network, while Clearwire (NYSE:CLWR) is charging $45 a month for unlimited access to its WiMax networks and $30 a month for 2 GB. The advantage AT&T and Verizon have over Clearwire and Leap, though, is nationwide network availability, which is nothing to scoff at.

Android disrupts smartphone market in one more area — price

Thought getting an Android phone for $199 was a good, on-par deal with Apple’s iPhone?

How about getting one for just $30 — or less?

While Apple has held the iPhone price steady at $199/$299 price points (while reportedly mulling an entry-level iPhone priced at $99), Wal-Mart.com (along with partner LetsTalk) is currently selling the HTC Droid Eris for just $30. more

Connected Planet Podcast: Google Chrome

Google released its Chrome operating system, built around security, simplicity and speed, to the open-source community last week. Designed for netbooks, the OS is expected to give Microsoft a run for its money. Ian Drew, executive vice president of marketing at chipmaker ARM, discusses what Chrome means to the industry, and outlines ARM’s plan for Google’s netbook OS, as well as its mobile OS Android.

Listen to this podcast HERE.

Windstream acquires Iowa Telecom

Windstream (NYSE:WIN) is acquiring Iowa Telecom (NYSE:IWA), the company announced today, in its biggest acquisition since the initial merger that created the rural carrier in 2005.

Windstream’s $1.1-billion purchase comes just three weeks after its $643 million acquisition of another carrier, NuVox, and two weeks after it closed its acquisition of D&E Communications. Two months ago, the company acquired a small triple-play provider, Lexcom, for $141 million. more

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