Over the past few months the mainstream media has paid much attention to prepaid wireless. It’s a smart option in time of economic uncertainty, as you’re not bound to a two-year agreement with one company. Most of the focus has been on pay-as-you-go, which means you pay per minute, so you’re not wasting money every month on unused airtime.
What we haven’t yet see in the U.S. is a prepaid BlackBerry. That’s rumored to change this week, as prepaid carrier MetroPCS could release the BlackBerry Curve 8330. For $50 per month you can get unlimited voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and unlimited BIS data — and it’s only $10 more for BES.
That’s quite the price for such a comprehensive package, and it would seem like many would opt for this over a postpaid carrier. However, there are a number of drawbacks that come with BlackBerry on prepaid.
First on the downside list is the service area. MetroPCS is a regional network, meaning they don’t have contiguous coverage across the U.S. Not only that, but their EVDO data services will only cover Legacy CDMA networks, which excludes their recent AWS market launches in markets like Las Vegas, Boston, and New York. So only certain markets will be able to purchase the device, and then they won’t be able to travel very far. The second issue is the price of the device.
We’ve gone over the total two year price of a BlackBerry, but that doesn’t really apply here because there is no contract involved. That means that the device is not subsidized, so customers will have to pay full retail price. That can get quite hefty, which might drive customers away. The upside has the right price and the lack of a contract on its side.
The downside employs a high up-front cost and a lack of mobility (and availability). Which side will prevail? We should find out more once Metro reports its first quarter results, and we’ll find out even more after the second quarter. If this were available in New York, I’d seriously consider giving it ago. Will you? Shop for a Prepaid BlackBerry from Metro PCS here