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AT&T keeps prepaid pressure on T-Mobile and Sprint

In prepaid battle against T-Mobile and Sprint, AT&T expanded retail distribution for its Cricket Wireless brand, adds Dominican Republic calling option for GoPhone

AT&T Mobility continues to keep pressure on the prepaid market, announcing expanded availability of its Cricket Wireless “premium” brand and international capabilities for its GoPhone brand. The move looks to maintain AT&T Mobility’s presence the highly competitive prepaid space against rivals from T-Mobile US and Sprint.

The Cricket Wireless deal will see the prepaid brand expand its retail distribution to nearly 2,000 Aaron’s stores over the next three months, pushing its total presence to more than 12,000 retail locations nationwide. The Atlanta-based retailer will sell Cricket compatible devices and universal SIM cards for use in compatible devices.

For its GoPhone brand, AT&T Mobility is now offering unlimited calls to landline phones in the Dominican Republic and 10 cents per minute for calls to mobile devices. The package is priced at $5 per month on top of GoPhone’s $45 and $60 per month plans, which currently already offer unlimited text messaging to the Caribbean country. The $60 GoPhone plan also offers unlimited voice calling and text messaging to Mexico and Canada.

AT&T Mobility’s prepaid business was a significant driver in the carrier’s fourth quarter results. The carrier’s prepaid services, which are dominated by its Cricket brand, managed to grow from a loss of 67,000 customers in Q4 2014, to posting 469,000 net additions in Q4 2015. Prepaid growth managed to make up for a 38.4% year-over-year dip in postpaid net additions, which dropped to 526,000 for Q4 2015, and relatively flat growth from “connected devices.”

Sprint earlier this year revamped its prepaid efforts, altering rate plans for both its Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile brands in an effort to turn around sagging performance.

T-Mobile US’ MetroPCS brand has been gaining access to its parent company’s streaming music platform and North America calling plans.

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