Wave7 Research, a company that specializes in telecom competitive intelligence analysis, has released the results of its Independent Prepaid Dealer Survey for Q2 2020. The survey tracked prepaid brand distribution and sales at 30 independent, multi-brand dealers in a wide variety of markets, including a dealer in a rural area. Dealers were asked which prepaid brands they carry and which were their top sellers.
This quarter's winners show the same rankings as the last report, with winners Simple Mobile, H2O Wireless, and Ultra Mobile. Simple Mobile was available at 22 of the 30 dealers and a top seller. H2O Wireless had a presence at 19 stores and had a top three finish at 13 dealers. Ultra Mobile improved from the Q4 2019 survey with presence at nearly half of the dealers, 8 of which picked the MVNO as one of their top two sellers.
There was no newcomer in the Q2 2020 survey. Only one dealer mentioned Tracfone in this survey but it had been welcomed in Q1 2020 along with Gen Mobile.
For this quarter, Wave7 called AT&T Prepaid,Verizon prepaid, and T-Mobile Prepaid as the survey losers. T-Mobile has been putting less effort into its independent dealer channel and it showed in the survey results. Back in 2Q18, 14 dealers mentioned T-Mobile. It was put on the top two sellers of eight dealers. This is a disappointing turn of events since only 5 dealers sold T-Mobile Prepaid and 1 picked the brand as among their top two sellers. AT&T Prepaid and Verizon prepaid were mentioned by 15 out of 30 dealers in the previous survey. In this survey, only 11 mentioned AT&T Prepaid while 10 mentioned Verizon prepaid.
One of the changes that can be expected is that Cricket will be entering the independent multi-carrier dealer. Meanwhile, Metro by T-Mobile will be exiting the channel. One of the dealers based in California told Wave7 Research that he intends to sell Cricket. Some of the dealers that were interviewed also expressed their plan to exclusively sell Metro. Others have plans to drop the brand and focus on others.
The dealers stayed open during the pandemic. Only one said he closed for a few days, while another one noted that his county allowed him to open three days per week. There were a few stores that closed early for a few days, but hours are generally back to normal. Some dealers mentioned offering curbside service. One dealer even started accepting cash with pliers and cleaned these bills with Clorox.
Here's the raw data from the survey (Q1 2020 numbers are in parentheses). Note that both Q2 and Q1 survey included 30 dealers.
Once again, the TracFone brand (Simple Mobile) dominate the results in terms of distribution. Simple Mobile was also the top selling brand in the last survey results.