Prepaid Phone Service Moves Into the Mainstream

Billions of people looking for reliable, unlimited data at reasonable rates are expected to help the prepaid phone business grow by 4% a year through 2026. It might not sound like huge growth, but consider the market:

  • More than two-thirds of the world’s 7.6B people have a mobile phone, the majority of which carry data plans.
  • And there are roughly 2.5B people without a mobile phone that form an equally enticing market.

Until now, prepaid, or pay-as-you-go plans, have mostly appealed to lower-income consumers, or people who have trouble obtaining credit. 

MetroPCS, a T-Mobile subsidiary, built its brand around younger, urban crowds that prefer to pay month-to-month at lower prices, rather than getting locked into an annual contract. There’s a MetroPCS down the street from me, and it shares the same building as a check-cashing store and a vape shop. That paints a vivid picture of the customer base the company targets — but that demographic may change.