How to Save MetroPCS

July 9, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

Have you heard of this new cellular phone service, MetroPCS? Some have, most haven’t. It is a new cell phone service that provides unlimited usage for a very small monthly fee: $30. The problem I noticed is that nobody is using it. I wondered if it is a marketing thing, product, strategy or what because at my $50/month plan I am still going over my minutes.

metro pcs logo

“Have you ever gone over your cell phone minutes?”

I am not a psychic but I will guarantee you have. What is your highest bill? Leave in the comments section your highest one. I think it will be fun. Okay going back to the subject. MetroPCS is the ultimate cell phone carrier:

  • no contracts
  • one flat-rate
  • unlimited usage
  • $3 more for unlimited text messages

Come on that sounds like god’s gift to cell phone users. So why aren’t more people using it? I will answer it with a quote:

“How many times have you made a call from your home-phone that was dropped or was staticky? Never “

  1. Reliability, they have a very small coverage base and people just want to make quality phone calls anytime/anywhere which appears to trump how much people will pay for service. #1 important thing to cell phone users is good reception and connecting on their calls.
  2. Awareness, the people in the areas where MetroPCS works may not have heard of the service.

What should they do? My suggestions are:

1- Differentiate, what do you think of when you think of Boost Mobile? You think Urban and hip. What about the word Blackberry? I am guessing corporate and people who need to get lives:) MetroPCS can stand for lowest price but they need to bring up their reputation.

2- Quality, they need to focus more heavily on reception. Luckily, we can take our phone #s anywhere but they must demonstrate/show that using their service will have good reception.

3- Focus, pick one city and own that city and even better one group in that area. They can’t do business and urban is not a good choice. Figure out who the cost conscious customer is and doesn’t leave their region often (this matters since it costs extra for long-distance calling). Those kind of people are families, k-12 students & senior citizens.

Am I missing anything else? It will be interesting to see where MetroPCS goes.

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16 responses to “How to Save MetroPCS

  1. Tim Marman Reply

    My guess is nowhere.

    I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile… but you may have noticed that the carriers have recently shifted from emphasizing the most minutes to the largest and most reliable network. Cingular claims the “largest digital network” with “the fewest dropped calls”. Alltel has “America’s largest network”. Verizon has “America’s most reliable network”, but Cingular claims “the fewest dropped calls”.

    I guess they’ve realized that the consumers have realized that having unlimited minutes doesn’t matter if you can’t make the call.

    Prices on mobile coverage have come down significantly – I have a family plan on T-Mobile with myself and my girlfriend. For $50 a month we get 500 anytime minutes, free calls within T-Mobile (which means free calls to each other + voicemail), and unlimited nights and weekends. We’ve never gone over since most of our daytime calls are betwen each other and most of our calls to say parents are in the evening or weekend.

    That’s $50 a month for TWO lines on a network that has pretty solid coverage itself and a roaming agreement with Cingular’s “largest digital network”. (I’m not including my data plan in that either – since I pay another $20 a month on that). $40 a month will get 450 minutes and effectively unlimited N&W and in-network calls on both Cingular and Verizon.

    Ok, so MetroPCS costs $30 for “unlimited” calling – but only when I am in Atlanta, Central and South Florida, Dallas, Detroit, Sacramento and San Francisco. (The major carriers also have regional plans if you don’t travel out of your area that are even cheaper than those national plans I talked about above.) On top of that, if they’re not an MVNO like Boost, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, at best, they have comparable coverage within the markets they serve. More likely, their coverage is not as good.

    I think the problem is a value proposition – you’re getting more minutes (and the certainty that comes from having unlimited minutes) but you’re losing on the other end of the equation, and the savings are just marginal.

  2. Scott Reply

    $150. It was a crappy end to the month.

    One point — it looks like they are differentiating already by being the lowest-priced. I’d say they need to differentiate further by being the lowest priced / most reliable.

    But reputation can obviously cement one’s position as the leader of “x” in the market (where x is being the highest-quality, most reliable, whatever).

  3. Brad Reply

    Company Stores & Authorized Dealers found:

    No Matching Locations Found!

    I guess that is why I haven’t heard of them – and it appears they aren’t even close to being near my area any time soon.

    Highest phone bill ever? $302.70 (Those were the good ol’ days!) Highest cell phone bill? $127.58 (Now it is still too high, but $57+ monthly for two phones.)

  4. Michael Morisy Reply

    $330 dollars.

    It was in my early days of reporting, and I went from maybe talking 30 minutes a month to hours and hours of phone interviews on a regular basis. It hurt, but the paper offered to reimburse part of the cost.

  5. Noah Kagan Reply

    I think I am around $200 for my highest bill, ex-gf. Good point Scott, I should have highlighted coverage a lot more in my post. I still believe they should pick some niche group that is in a region that has good coverage, stay with the pricing and market to them.

  6. Jason Reply

    I would think that Metro PCS uses existing towers from big coporate providers like AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. I do not think they can differentiate on signal strength and reception. I think their hands are tied.

  7. Scott Reply

    I think MetroPCS should hire HFG Consulting as a consultant to bringing this company back to life.

    …and maybe provide all of us contributors with a free phone or something. Haha.

  8. Boz Reply

    I learned in college that the single largest expense Verizon faces is tracking usage. In fact, the cost of this bookkeeping was said to approach nearly half of their entire operating budget. In other words, if they stopped tracking usage and gave everyone unlimited minutes, it would likely save them money. Why don’t they do it then?

    It is a misconception that usage based fees are grounded in a desire on the part of these companies to make more money, it is actually a way of using economics to shape traffic. If everyone’s cell phones had unlimited minutes, then everyone could talk at the same time every day (5-9 PM) which would overload the cell networks very rapidly. Remember 9/11 through 9/13? Nobody could call anybody because the traffic spiked so much.

    Much like toll roads, the goal isn’t just revenue but also using economics to guide people to their most productive resource. If there is a fixed amount of product (lanes on a bridge, cell towers) and too much demand, you must raise prices until the demand meets the supply or your product loses its value.

  9. metroPCS authorized dealer Reply

    I am an authorized dealer in Central Florida. metroPCs comes in and and if their customers report problems to authorized dealers and employees they have to fill out and send in the appropriate forms to metro corporate. I can honestly say they send engineers out to work on establish and resolve the poor signal. They are a good company that steadily builds up a strong service depending on their dealers and employees as well as customers reporting problem areas.

    They have been around since 1994 and have seven metropolitan areas. Beginnings are difficult but service does improve and rate with the best in long and well established areas.

    Give them the chance to make wireless one low rate and grow. No credit check, no contract, one low rate for local and long distance in the continental US from the coverage areas. Currently serving Atlanta, Detroit, Sacramento, San Francisco, Miami, Tampa.

    I am familiar with their plans for expanding coverage. Give them a chance and you will see them blossom

  10. Tanna Reply

    Hey now,

    They need better coverage in the cities where they have service. Then, they need to expand their coverage cities. I am waiting for Cricket; boost or Metro PCS to come to Las Vegas. The first one will get my business, I will need 4 phones plus however many employees I can get to switch!

    All my best,
    Dann Tanna

  11. Jan Reply

    Hey i just bought the plan will update later. My son is in Frisco and calls me all the time to St Petersburg, Florida no dropped calls. 22 to local sales stores to buy phones from

  12. Oscar Reply

    The phone is working no problem but service very poor. There is a Metro PCS store in Tampa. The address is 2100 W Main St. tel:813 258-4591 near K Mart. This dealer is terrible because they charge you $3 for just coming to make payment. Personnel is very rude. The don’t answer your questions over the phone. You have to go there every time when you have question. Most of the dealers in Largo and St. Petersburg do not answer your phone calls. They just promise. It looks like the dealers can do whatever they think is right to do, nor what is good for customers and the company. Customers bring money and the company creates service. But those dealers are not good. I can,t bear such attitude to customers. The company’s management does not know what is going on in stores which is the first point where customers come. This company will die soon in my opinion.

  13. YinPtC Reply

    I’m glad I bumped into this site. I was looking for a new cell plan.

    I DO like the idea not to have to worry about my minutes. I’ve been ‘monitoring’ my Nextel/Sprint service for the last three months to figure out the ‘best’ plan.

    BUT… I do have to say that I’d rather pay the extra $30 for reliable service. My currently plan is 800 anytime minutes not including nights and weekends and not including my free incoming calls or mobile to mobile for $79/mth.

    I CAN NOT STAND DROPPED CALLS! It’s extremely annoying and inefficient to be with the … “can you hear me now?” The $30 are worth it.