The New York Times has an article about prepaid cell phone plans. Mostly it’s a PR peice triggered by the roll out of MetroPCS in New York (and Boston). The article is pretty worthless. But the chart is pretty good.
It’s interesting how a decade ago the demographics of the discriminatory pricing was primarily done by targeting different buyer groups via branding. T-mobile’s prepaid was targeted to poor urban youth, for example. That’s not me, and I had trouble even finding somebody to sell it to me. These days the virtual mobile phone operators do that, more so than the majors. Page Plus Cellular is a good example, and they sell mostly thru small urban store fronts.
When I bought the t-mobile service all those years ago I was routing around their discriminatory filters. They, of course, would prefer that I not be able to do that. The rise of text messaging and data services is making that easier. Three services (text, voice, data) makes for a rich pallet for market segmentation. I love Adam’s term for industries that depend on these practices: confusopolies.