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T-Mobile again adds more prepaid than postpaid

One more quarter of this and maybe we can call it a trend. It came as a bit of surprise in November when we learned that T-Mobile added more prepaid customers than postpaid in the third quarter. They’ve done it again. Despite the release of the G1, which is only available to postpaid customers, T-Mobile again added more on the prepaid side than their postpaid service.

It’s not hard to see why. With the economy a worry, we know some people will choose to switch from postpaid to prepaid when their contracts expire. When choosing a prepaid provider, they might see that T-Mobile To Go gets relatively positive reviews from our users (this is relative to the rest of the carrier reviews).

T-Mobile added a net 621,000 customers in the third quarter, a decent number no doubt. However, 57 percent of them, meaning nearly 354,000, were on the prepaid side. While it’s nice that they’re able to use their popular prepaid service to add more subscribers, the company might not be too thrilled. The ARPU for a prepaid user is far below that of a postpaid one.

At the nation’s second largest carrier, AT&T, about a third of new fourth quarter customers signed up for GoPhone. Meanwhile, there’s an article in the Wall Street Journal, via CNN Money, which criticizes Verizon for not taking advantage of the money in prepaid, saying they’re “missing out on a potentially valuable source of subscribers in the prepaid market.” Looks like T-Mobile has figured that out.