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Delivered by mainstream outlets, the news of Tracfone parent America Movil buying another MVNO looks benign enough. Headlines suggest Movil purchased Start Wireless, which is true. What many people don’t know is that Start Wireless owns Page Plus Cellular. That changes the game a bit. Page Plus is a relatively popular MVNO, one that is well known among veteran prepaid subscribers. Something tells me that the Page Plus faithful aren’t going to like this acquisition. You can read some initial griping at the Howard Forums thread.
Around this time last year America Movil acquired Simple Mobile, a relatively new and popular MVNO operating on the T-Mobile network. While Simple Mobile surely didn’t account for it, Movil has experienced enormous growth in the periods since it has added SM. With prepaid growing, with smartphones specifically, it’s clear that Movil wants to corner as many markets as possible.
One issue that stands out is that of customer service. Page Plus keeps its call centers in the US, while Movil outsources its. Chances are we’ll see Page Plus start using Movil’s customer service centers, which will turn of many of the Page Plus faithful. You can read more about Page Plus and its customer service practices in a Page Plus feature we published back in 2008.
The deal could close within the next month or so, so we’ll get a quick idea of what will change. While we really don’t know yet, I’m sure that Page Plus customers aren’t happy right now.