Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Verizon Wireless should combine the best of Inpulse and Alltel Prepaid under Alltel name – Great for NASCAR sponsorship too.

In the wireless world, there is always talk of mergers, plans, phones, equipment and more, so when Verizon Wireless finally made it official that they have bought Alltel Wireless, my first thought was about the two companies prepaid (pay-as-you-go service) and second was about Alltel’s sponsorship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, both seem to be touchy subjects right now, however affect not only me (As a huge NASCAR fan and a current Verizon Wireless Inpulse customer), but a lot of people in some way, shape or form, so what should Verizon consider, if not do?

First, the prepaid (pay-as-you-go Service) issue, both Verizon Wireless and Alltel have their own prepaid brands and both are successful in one way or another, Verizon has Inpulse that has three plans with “Pay Only On The Days You Use It” the service plans, the plan does have its advantages and disadvantages. Alltel Wireless has AlltelU prepaid, personally I have never used the service, but it does come with three interesting plans as well, from Pay per day that starts with 75 cents day, Pay per minute at 15 cents a minute and pay per month, all three plans gives their customers real life affordable options.

With that said, I am in this boat because I have been using prepaid for the last 10 years, I use a cell phone for making short and long calls from the road to keep in touch, calling for road side service or a family member if I am stuck on the side of the road, test messaging ever now and then, surfing the internet, buying ringtones, games and hopefully someday music singles, plus having a good camera and MP3 player phone works great in my life.

Anyway, combining the two services into one prepaid brand with all of the best parts would work great for both sets of customers, how? In my opinion, Verizon Wireless should name the brand/service Alltel Inpulse prepaid, the detail could include plans like Pay per day (75 cents, $1.00, $2.00 with each having a few things unlimited like nights and weekends, text messages, my cycle and etc.), Pay per minute at 15 cents anytime and pay per month. Text messages if not in an unlimited plan would be 10 cents to send/receive, Mobile Web could still be 99 cents a day, also having a package deal with a monthly rate, might including test messages and Mobile Web in one package for $10-$15-$20 per month plan, and of course keeping the V-Cast Music and more. One thing on Inpulse that needs to be changed is the refill cards, $15 for 60 days, $20-$50-$75 for 90 days and $100 for 365 days, believe me it makes a difference.

Like I said, combining the prepaid brands into one would give both Alltel customers and Verizon Wireless customers real life affordable options, however here’s where the second part comes in, combining both brands/services wouldn’t only make sense for all of their customers, but would make sense in the sponsorship side of NASCAR, not to mention other racing racing, right now in NASCAR, no new wireless companies can come into the NASCAR Cup Series because of Sprint, the title sponsors exclusive agreement with NASCAR, AT&T found that out the hard way in 2007 and in 2008 when after AT&T bought or merged with Cingular and tried to change the sponsorship on the #31 Chevrolet, they ended up in a court battle that ended with then finishing out the season and then leaving the Cup Series, Verizon Wireless themselves also found this out in 2007 as well when at Atlanta they tried to sponsor the #7-Robby Gordon along with Motorola and the only thing that was on the car at race time was Motorola Digital Audio Players (no Verizon Wireless).

However as far as I know, Alltel is still grandfathered in, at least on the #12 car, but I don’t know for how long, anyway, in 2009, the #12 car will not say Alltel Wireless or Verizon Wireless, but Penske racing with Verizon Wireless paying the entire season bill, which is over $10+ million dollars in some cases depending upon the agreement, wouldn’t it be better to advertise your new pay-as-you-go service to new and existing customers, then just having a blank/Penske racing car?

The ideas are bold and to the point, however with millions of prepaid customers in the market and no contracts for them to deal with, each customer can switch basically in a day or two, I know from experience, because I have had Tracfone, Boost Mobile, AT&T GoPhone PYG and just transferred over to Verizon Wireless over the past weekend, by the way, I bought the LG Chocolate (VX8550) and it was very easy, just about everyone needs a cell phone (drivers included), just not a contract one, welcome to the future in wireless.