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Last week, I posted an article comparing all of the Verizon MVNO coverage maps. Several of them were a little surprising, so I thought that I would go through all of the other Tier 1 carriers and compare maps of their MVNOs to see how they stacked up. While most MVNOs share the prepaid network of their primary carrier, some of them skimp on coverage to cut costs, and very few of them offer roaming in areas with no Tier 1 carrier network coverage.
Today, we have a compilation of the AT&T MVNO maps. Most of them shared coverage with GoPhone, but did not offer roaming (represented by the lighter yellow areas). However, the maps were far more similar than the Verizon MVNO maps we saw last week.
So, without any more ado, here are the AT&T MVNO maps:
September 4th, 2014 | Tracfone | No Comments
While Tracfone’s customer service is nothing to brag about, their discount membership program Trac’N’Save is definitely worth a look in you live in the city or love shopping. The program is free to Tracfone customers and only requires you to sign up with your account to start getting benefits, like free airtime.
September 1st, 2014 | Prepaid Services, Tracfone | No Comments
I read today about a significant possible change to Tracfone‘s policy about transferring minutes and numbers between phones. After calling Tracfone, I’m still a little puzzled about whether or not this change is new, but as it is already in effect either way, I’ll go ahead and tell you about it.
February 27th, 2014 | Tracfone | No Comments
The TracFone coverage map is not easy to find, many visits to the official TracFone site revealed no navigation to a coverage map. TracFone has set the website user interface for sales of selected models in designated area codes. There are secondary sources for the coverage map information, and when one finally gets there, it is impressive http://www.TracFone.com/jsplib/verify_mapcov.jsp. For basic telephone service with a low-cost Motorola model phone, a coverage guesstimate from the color-coded map appears to be well above 95% of the area of the continental U.S.
April 22nd, 2013 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
TracFone has been growing solidly in the past few years, adding hundreds of thousands of subscribers every quarter. That might not sound impressive, but when compared to other MVNOs the numbers certainly stand out. Their latest subscriber additions are the most impressive to date: 839,000. That’s 119,000 more than the nation’s No. 1 carrier, Verizon, and a massive 127 percent increase over TracFone’s own Q1 2012. In the last two quarters combined TracFone has added more than 1.5 million subscribers.
February 19th, 2013 | Tracfone | No Comments
Anyone get excited about flip phones any more? If so, it’s your lucky day. Samsung recently gave us a glimpse of the S275G for Tracfone, which is yet another in its line of low-end feature phones. The skinny: 1.75-inch internal screen, 1-inch external screen, 1.3 megapixel camera with video, and that’s about it. It can play music and video if you’d like, but there just isn’t much memory to store those files. It might not seem like much, but this is the perfect fit for Tracfone. They’re pushing their smartphone customers towards Straight Talk and even Net10, so they might as well continue pumping out low-end handsets for Tracfone. They fit the market that the Tracfone brand is targeting.
Via Phone Scoop.
February 13th, 2013 | Tracfone | 2 Comments
Need a solid indicator that prepaid is starting to take a hold of the cellular market? Consider that a carrier that doesn’t even own any cellular towers is the fifth largest carrier in the country — and it is closer to No. 4 than No. 4 is to No. 3. In the fourth quarter Tracfone added 753,000 subscribers, bringing its total to 22.4 million. That covers it us brands: Tracfone, Net10, and Straight Talk. The year 2013 was big for Tracfone in general, with a 13.3 percent increase in subscribers. Much of that goes to the Straight Talk brand, which has captured much of the mid-market with its smartphones paired with affordable monthly plans. People complain plenty about Tracfone customer service, across their brands, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to keep people away.
January 28th, 2013 | Tracfone | 4 Comments
A strange development is afoot in the wireless world. According to a report on PhoneNews.com, America Movil brands Tracfone, Straight Talk, and Net10 have removed references to AT&T in its bring-your-own-device SIM card program. A visit to these websites does reveal that Straight Talk is offering BOYD support for CDMA devices, unlocked GSM devices, and T-Mobile branded devices, but not AT&T. No one from Tracfone or America Movil has made a statement, leaving much mystery. After all, the two companies have had close relations lately.
June 11th, 2012 | Tracfone | 4 Comments
Today Tracfone announced a pair of basic Samsung phones for its lineup. Pictured above is the Samsung S425g, which appears to be from the Messenger line of phones. It features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and not much else. It does have some basic features, such as a media player (with 32GB microSD expansion capability) and a 2.0 megapixel camera with video. But it’s really nothing special. The price should reflect that, though there is no word on pricing or release date yet.
February 13th, 2012 | Tracfone | 5 Comments
A half a million subscribers might sound like a lot for an MVNO, but not for America Movil, parent company of Tracfone, Net10, and Straight Talk. They added 493,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2011, after adding 1.1 million subscribers in the same period in 2010. While the first and fourth quarters are typically better for wireless carriers than the second and third quarters, America Movil actually added more customers in Q3 2011, 515,000, than they did in Q4. Still, as a whole they did pretty well in 2011.
January 19th, 2012 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
It might not be the fanciest looking phone, but the Samsung SCH-R375 is headed for Tracfone. Its biggest feature is a QWERTY keyboard. In most respects it’s a low-end phone, featuring a 1.3 megapixel camera and little else. It’s actually a great prepaid phone for texting. There is no word on pricing and release date, but we can assume it will be relatively soon and cheap.
Via Phone Scoop.
September 9th, 2011 | Tracfone | 3 Comments
Are you among the growing number of prepaid customers who is charged a 911 fee when buying a top-up card? More and more states are passing laws that attempt to levy on prepaid users the same 911 fees that postpaid users pay monthly. There are some obstacles, the biggest one being the inability to charge such a fee for online purchases. A recent ruling in Kentucky might change all that. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn ruled that Tracfone owes the State of Kentucky $4.7 million in 911 fees dating from 2003. Tracfone asserts that it has not paid Kentucky said 911 fees, because they do not apply to prepaid users. This issue is certainly not closed, however. Expect Tracfone to take counter action shortly.
Via JC Online.
August 4th, 2011 | Tracfone | 4 Comments
If you’re not familiar with Vonage, it’s a service that provides unlimited local and long distance calling for a flat monthly rate. Think of it as the Cricket and MetroPCS of the landline world. Of course, people are dumping their landlines, so Vonage might need a little help from the cell phone industry. It appears they’ve found it from Tracfone parent America Movil. They inked a deal recently that will provide their customers with “unique offers” for Vonage’s unlimited landline calling plans. By “unique offers” I presume that means substantial discounts. There’s no word on when we will see these offers, but it shouldn’t be too long.
July 29th, 2011 | Tracfone | 2 Comments
In the first quarter of 2010, America Movil, parent company of Tracfone, made a splash by adding 780,000 subscribers. That’s a huge number for an MVNO, but they do have two other arms, Net10 and Straight Talk, to help bulk up the numbers. In the second quarter they didn’t fare as well, adding just 236,000 subscribers, a number that didn’t even match its second quarter 2010 results. Churn is up a bit, which helps explain the lower numbers. With political talk re-focused on the economy, we could perhaps see Tracfone pick up stronger numbers in the third, quarter, which is typically slow in the wireless world.
June 13th, 2011 | Tracfone | No Comments
Pictured above is the Samsung T528, which recently made a debut at Samsung.com. It’s a touchscreen device that features a 3-inch screen and a 2-megapixel camera. While most new touchscreen devices we see feature the Android operating system, this one comes with Samsung’s own TouchWiz 2.0, which, all considered, doesn’t look too bad. There’s no word on pricing or availability, though the website mentions that it will become available through Tracfone, but that could just as easily mean Straight Talk or Net10. It shouldn’t be too long before we see this one on shelves.
Via Phone Scoop.
May 6th, 2011 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but sometimes you just need to hear a “no.” That’s what Tracfone executives said when asked about the likelihood of a postpaid offering, and of it eventually acquiring its own spectrum. The company has been doing just fine the way it is, adding 780,000 subscribers in the first quarter among its three major brands: Tracfone, Net10, and Straight Talk.
May 4th, 2011 | Tracfone | 4 Comments
Another first quarter report, another win for prepaid. Both Sprint and MetroPCS did well, and now it’s Tracfone‘s turn. The carrier — including sister brands Net10 and Straight Talk — added 780,000 subscribers in the first quarter. That puts them slightly ahead of MetroPCS and slightly behind Sprint. It also puts them below their Q1 2010, when they added a million subscribers. Nevertheless, that’s still a strong showing, especially amid increased competition.
February 9th, 2011 | Tracfone | 22 Comments
It was a good quarter to be America Movil, the company that owns Tracfone, Net10, and Straight Talk. The company added 1.1 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, bringing it to 3.3 million for the year and 17.7 million overall. Even though it doesn’t operate its own network, the company ranks as the No. 5 carrier in the country.
December 13th, 2010 | Tracfone | 8 Comments
There is nothing fun about wireless customer service. I read through the user reviews on our featured prepaid providers every day, and I see many, many complaints about nearly every company. I’m not sure which receives the most complaints, but Tracfone is in the conversation. It appears that they’re taking steps to remedy that. They recently announced Facebook support, similar to the type offered by Straight Talk. (They’re owned by the same company.) Just head to the Tracfone Facebook page and click on the Support tab. There you can get FAQs and submit a support ticket. If it’s anything like Straight Talk, it should provide a better experience than calling customer service.
October 29th, 2010 | Tracfone | 12 Comments
It’s hard to imagine, but Tracfone is the nation’s fifth largest mobile provider — and it doesn’t even operate its own network. The company continued to grow in the third quarter, adding 745,000 subscribers to leave them with 16.7 million. These numbers include not just the branded Tracfone service, but also Net10 and Straight Talk.
August 17th, 2010 | Tracfone | 39 Comments
Not everyone can afford a cell phone, but cell phones have become a near essential part of our day to day lives. There was a study conducted in 2008 that showed the economic benefits of owning a cell phone, which can make all the difference for a low-income household. Programs like SafeLink work to provide low-income individuals and households with free cell phones and minutes so that they might take advantage and improve their situations. Previously this would provide them with a free phone and 80 minutes per month. Recently Tracfone, the company behind SafeLink, announced changes to its program in the Delaware area.
July 22nd, 2010 | Tracfone | 12 Comments
A few weeks ago we saw reports that Straight Talk, an MVNO of Verizon’s CDMA network, was adding GSM services. This came as a subtle move, as the GSM-based handset, the Samsung T401G, was available only at Wal-Mart. It looks like another GSM handset has made its way to the world’s largest retailer. They now have the LG 620G, a pretty basic slider that features a 1.3 megapixel camera, WAP browser, and media player. You can get it at walmart.com for $68.98.
July 8th, 2010 | Tracfone | 23 Comments
One of Straight Talk‘s bragging points is that it operates on Verizon’s CDMA network. Even though this does not include the roaming agreements that Verizon’s postpaid customers enjoy, it is, with last year’s absorption of the Alltel network, a very large primary network. The only problem is that some of the markets it doesn’t hit are covered by GSM networks. According to evidence produced by Howard Forums user The Sweeper, it looks like Straight Talk could expand its offering to GSM services.
June 22nd, 2010 | Tracfone | No Comments
It’s hard to believe, but the Motorola RAZR is almost six years old. It was the hottest item on the market for the longest time, and then gained additional shelf life when many carriers included it for free with a two-year contract. Verizon actually came under a bit of fire for its version, since it locked out many features of the original RAZR. That Verizon version, the V3m, is available at Straight Talk, and they just announced a refurb version. To answer their headline question, “Dig the RAZR?” no, I don’t. But it’s better than a number of the other clamshells in ST’s lineup, so maybe it’s worth the $100 for All You Need or $115 for Unlimited. At that point, though, I’d just get the Samsung Recon.
You can get the RAZR at Straight Talk’s website.
May 6th, 2010 | Tracfone | 16 Comments
At the Straight Talk blog, the company addresses a recent service outage which has caused problems for many customers over the past few days. This has caused a surge in user reviews on our Straight Talk review page, most of which are pretty scathing. While we encourage everyone to share their honest feelings about a cell phone service, many of the comments were completely unnecessary. There is no need to attack someone else for their assessment of a service. In any case, full text of the letter, which really isn’t much, after the jump.
May 3rd, 2010 | Tracfone | 9 Comments
We often hear about the number of wholesale customers added by big carriers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, but we don’t usually hear the numbers from the wholesalers themselves. They are mostly private companies that do not need to disclose their numbers publicly. One exception is Tracfone, subsidiary of public company America Movil. Its three American MVNOs — Tracfone, Net10, and Straight Talk — added a little over a million subscribers in the first quarter (via FierceWireless). That brings their American total to 15.5 million subscribers, making it the fifth most popular carrier in America.
April 28th, 2010 | Tracfone | 157 Comments
Sticking with their cheap, simple handsets, Tracfone has added the LG 420G. It’s a basic flip phone, featuring a small LCD internal display, external display, Bluetooth, and a VGA camera. Even still, at $20 this phone has value. You can check it out at Tracfone’s website. Also, as The Sweeper at HoFo notes, Wal-Mart could certainly pick this one up, packaging it with a Double Minutes for Life card.
April 16th, 2010 | Tracfone | 2 Comments
Since last fall Straight Talk has been available at Wal-Mart stores nationwide. The partnership makes perfect sense. I remember back in the early 2000s when Tracfone, which is owned by the same company as Straight Talk, was pumped up big time at Wal-Mart. There were phone displays and refill cards everywhere, from the electronics department to the front checkouts. While the two have partnered for a while, it appears that Wal-Mart will get serious about promotion. RCR Wireless reports that the retail conglomerate will run a TV spot featuring the Straight Talk brand. Putting Straight Talk next to Wal-Mart will only increase the awareness of the brand. It sounds like we could see another big influx of customers to the flat-rate, unlimited service.
April 9th, 2010 | Tracfone | No Comments
Last year Straight Talk too the prepaid sector, and the wireless industry, by storm when they offered their unlimited talk, text, and data plan for $45 per month. It’s a bit limited in what it can do data-wise, but unlimited talk and text is still a good value for $45, especially when it’s running on the Verizon primary network. This week Straight Talk took things a step further, offering three, six, and one-year plans in addition to their monthly plans. These all include unlimited voice, messaging, mobile web, and 411, and they’re still $45 per month. That’s the only downside. With the auto refill option, you can just sign up for the regular plan and keep renewing. This most benefits those who pay with cash. Instead of paying $45 each month, subscribers can make one payment and forget about it. Of course, at that point they have your money, and there are no refunds, so I’m not sure I’d recommend doing this. Still, if you’re happy with Straight Talk, you now at least have the option.
March 1st, 2010 | Tracfone | 9 Comments
Some people have a knack for finding new goodies. Among them is HoFo user The_Sweeper. He always picks up things that I don’t see from other people. Most recently it was the addition of four phones to Tracfone. How did he catch this while no one else did? Instead of finding them on the basic shopping page, he found them on the activation page. Clever. These models, two LG and two Samsung for Tracfone, plus a Samsung QWERTY for Net10, aren’t quite available yet, and we don’t know a whole ton about them. What we do know is that they’re headed for these carriers, and the wait shouldn’t be long.
February 5th, 2010 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
It looks like Leap Wireless is ready to sell. How far talks get is anyone’s guess, but all the talk this week centered on Leap seeking a buyer. While MetroPCS makes the most sense to most people, we’ve heard just about every cellular carrier other than Verizon connected to them. One carrier we haven’t heard much from this time around, but which has been mentioned as a potential buyer in the past is America Movil, parent company of Tracfone. The company doesn’t own any infrastructure in the U.S., though, so it would be quite a change in strategy to acquire some.
February 3rd, 2010 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
Last week we got a glimpse of Straight Talk‘s fourth quarter success, as they reportedly added 450,000 subscribers. That represents about 38 percent of Tracfone‘s fourth quarter adds. According to Ken Parks of The Wall Street Journal, Tracfone added 1.2 million subscribers across all of its services. Seems like the troika, including Net10, is doing just fine.
January 26th, 2010 | Tracfone | 5 Comments
Just a tidbit from Verizon’s quarterly report. According to Reuters, Verizon “is seen adding as many as 450,000 new users to its network from an unlimited prepaid service on Tracfone.” That means Straight Talk. While it’s not quite at the level of prepaid adds from earlier in 2009, it’s still probably the best quarter among them for the fourth. We’ll see how Boost fares when Sprint reports. I suppose they could get up to a half million, but my guess right now is that Straight Talk finishes on top.
December 1st, 2009 | Tracfone | 3 Comments
Mobile advertising and prepaid seem to go hand in hand. Many prepaid wireless users are younger, and advertising often targets youth demographics. They’re also more receptive to advertising, and enjoy interacting on their phones. Prepaid carriers have given a valiant effort to this point, but without a sustaining success. Virgin Mobile had Sugar Mama for a while, but they discontinued it earlier this year. Since then there hasn’t been a viable replacement. There’s a chance, though, that Tracfone gives it a shot. The parent company, America Movil, is going to launch a mobile advertising platform, though it’s unknown when they plan to deploy it.
November 27th, 2009 | Tracfone | 13 Comments
America Movil is a Latin America based multinational wireless conglomerate. They own and operate Tracfone Inc. which in turn runs and owns Tracfone itself, Net10, Straight Talk and Safelink. (All opinions expressed are solely that of the author).
Here are some tips for complete noobs to this world both general and specific.
November 16th, 2009 | Tracfone | 17 Comments
When Straight Talk debuted earlier this year, it was met with a warm reception. The pricing was right, and the company included enough services (including data and 411) to keep most users happy. In that initial marketing phase, there had been talk of the Samsung R810, but that faded a bit after a while. Now a Howard Forums user has noticed that R810 is spec sheet is on the Straight Talk website.
November 4th, 2009 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
Earlier this year, Tracfone introduced its first Samsung handsets. Among them was the T301g, pictured to the left. The lightly featured phone originally went for $50, but it appears that Sears will discount it for Black Friday to $24.99, so half off. If you were thinking about this phone, or any Tracfone, it might be best to wait until the day after Thanksgiving.
October 15th, 2009 | Tracfone | 17 Comments
Something strange was afoot. My RSS reader, filled to the brim with cell phone blogs and various keyword alerts, showed an inordinately high number of unread items. In a normal day I’ll see about 60 unread items between when I empty my reader at 9 a.m. and when I check it again at 2. Yesterday that number was closer to 100. It turns out that there was some pretty big news in prepaid: Wal-Mart will begin distributing Straight Talk cell phone service. I’m not quite sure I understand the overhype, but it is news nonetheless.
October 13th, 2009 | Tracfone | 4 Comments
Straight Talk customers no longer have to worry about their data consumption. When the service launched earlier this year, it offered unlimited minutes, messages, and 411 calls, plus 30 MB of data for $45 per month. Starting now, they’ve lifted the limit on data, making everything in the plan unlimited. The data limit upgrade gives Straight Talk two competitive advantages against Page Plus, which offers similarly styled service plans. Straight Talk not only has the unlimited 411, but now unlimited data, while Page Plus limits data to 20MB for its unlimited plan, and does not have unlimited 411. The plan is available now on Straight Talk’s website.
September 21st, 2009 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
Tracfone continues its string of lawsuits against handset resellers, naming Intel Wireless as a defendant in a recent case. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, consumers are allowed to unlock phones with the intent to connect them to another network. Tracfone seeks not these people, but instead companies which buy their handsets from big box retailers en masse, and then unlock them for use with other networks. Tracfone subsidizes those phones, and lose money with each sale. Because the phones are not activated on their network, they cannot recoup the subsidy with minutes. You can hear more about phone trafficking in our Prepaid Podcast interview with Tracfone attorney Jim Baldinger.
July 22nd, 2009 | Tracfone | 68 Comments
It seemed the industry was a bit scared when Straight Talk, the unlimited voice and text offering from Tracfone, debuted a few weeks ago. Shares of telecoms which offered similar unlimited plans temporarily plummeted, though they did recover. The fear is of a price war that might not happen. While the industry has shaken off the passing panic, Straight Talk still stands to do well. In fact, there are already positive reports coming out of at least one market.
July 8th, 2009 | Tracfone | 2 Comments
It appears that the new spat of prepaid unlimited plans, particularly that of Straight Talk, has caused a bit of a swirl in the markets this week. While stock prices of prepaid companies isn’t typically our domain, this one has to do with service. Earlier in the week shareholders largely dumped shares of MetroPCS and Leap Wireless amid concerns over a pricing war, sparked by Straight Talk’s cheaper unlimited plan. Of course, both Metro and Cricket offer $45 plans which are comparable to Straight Talk. So what gives? It appears the fears were just a bit overblown. It did lead, though, to a few frank comments about the prepaid industry.
July 5th, 2009 | Tracfone | 27 Comments
It appears Tracfone is serious about their new Straight Talk service. A few weeks ago we first heard of the service and its $30 plan, which provides 1,000 minutes and 1,000 text messages, plus unlimited 411 and 30 MB of data. They have a new promotion, and it’s got the industry abuzz. For $45 per month, you can get unlimited minutes and text messages, plus 30 MB of data and unlimited 411 for $45. Like the 1,000 minute plan, the unlimited service option lasts 30 days. You can check out the offering at Straight Talk’s website.
Update: Commenter Peter points out that the unlimited plan is on a six-month trial. Understandably, Verizon doesn’t want Straight Talk stealing all its customers. So if Verizon doesn’t see a mass exodus, and doesn’t see a severe uptick in network traffic, we could see this stick around. For now, though, figure this has a six-month sunset clause.
June 24th, 2009 | Tracfone | 7 Comments
Last week, Tracfone announced that the would cover an additional 101,000 households in New Hampshire. SafeLink provides a free cell phone and 80 minutes per month to low-income individuals. As we learned as part of a study last year, access to cellular phones can increase one’s earning potential. However, SafeLink isn’t completely welcome everywhere.
June 8th, 2009 | Tracfone | 199 Comments
It looks like Tracfone is up to a new project. They already have Net10, the provider which charges 10 cents per minute all day every day, no matter what. Now we learn, from USA Today, that they will begin a new service dubbed Straight Talk. This will act in the same capacity as Net10 — a subsidiary with a different plan scheme. While Tracfone users incrementally valued pay-as-you-go cards and Net10 has a one-rate scheme, Straight Talk uses a flat monthly rate for a bundle of services.
May 22nd, 2009 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with a deal from Tracfone? They’ve discounted their Double Minutes for Life cards, so you can benefit on every card you purchase in the future…for the life of your phone. After the jump, we’ve got the details of the deal.
May 19th, 2009 | Tracfone | 1 Comment
Yesterday afternoon this press release hit my inbox. It related to Tracfone, so I thought it was relevant. That the company’s president and CEO was responding to a recently proposed House bill made it even more interesting. Yet when trying to find the Wireless Prepaid Access Device Enforcement Act of 2009 on Google, the only thing to come up was this very press release. Sad that it’s the only place I could find such proposed legislation. As far as content, it’s what one would assume.
April 16th, 2009 | Tracfone | No Comments
Apparently I missed this right after last week’s announcement of two Samsung models from Tracfone. After unveiling the T101g and the T301g, we learned that the T201g had passed the FCC and was on its way. It did arrive just shortly thereafter. It completes the trifecta as a flip phone, though like the T101g it doesn’t have much in the way of features. Still, it’ll be cheap, between the $15 of the 101g and the $50 of the 301g, so that’s a plus. Check it out at Tracfone’s website.
April 9th, 2009 | Tracfone | No Comments
Those might not look like the most imposing phones on the planet, but they’re the first Samsung ones offered by Tracfone. The T301g, left, is a slider phone with Bluetooth and a VGA camera. It costs $50. The T101g, right, has no special features, though the price is pretty special at just $15. Apparently the middle sibling, the T201g, has passed FCC approval and is on its way.
February 26th, 2009 | Tracfone | 2 Comments
I didn’t get to read much of this Wall Street Journal article because all but two paragraphs are behind the pay wall. However, in those two paragraphs they revealed some information I had not been privy to previously: Tracfone is the nation’s fifth-largest carrier. So that means they’re right behind T-Mobile, though they’re kind of far away. The WSJ article preview has them pegged at “more than 10 million customers,” which is superb for a prepaid carrier, but not quite T-Mobile’s more than 30 million customers. So does this mean that US Cellular has fewer than 10 million subscribers?