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Verizon Appears Ready To Shutdown NET10 Wireless

Screenshot Of NET10 Wireless Website As It Appears To Be Closing
Screenshot Of NET10 Wireless Website As It Appears To Be Closing
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NET10 Wireless appears to be headed to the recycling bin. A visit to the NET10 Wireless website today surprisingly led me to be pitched Simple Mobile service. A new tab on the website says "New Changes Coming," while a banner reads "No contracts, no credit checks, no hidden fees. Make the switch to Simple Mobile." A logo for Simple Mobile is shown, and website visitors are thanked for their interest in NET10 and told a phone plan that offers even better service is available through Simple Mobile.

Both Simple Mobile and NET10 Wireless are Verizon Value Brands that Verizon acquired when it closed on its acquisition of Tracfone from América Móvil in November 2021. Several other brands were also included in the transaction, Straight Talk Wireless, Tracfone, Page Plus Cellular, SafeLink, Total Wireless (now Total by Verizon), Walmart Family Mobile, and Clearway.

When Verizon first agreed to buy Tracfone in September 2020,  it already had several other prepaid wireless brands under its ownership including Visible, Verizon Prepaid, and Yahoo Mobile. Verizon sold off Yahoo and closed its associated wireless brand in 2021. Still, that left 11 prepaid brands for Verizon to manage. And with such a large number of brands under its belt, something had to give. NET10 Wireless appears to be the first brand to fall.

Under the ownership of América Móvil, most Tracfone brands were pretty well differentiated with each serving a particular purpose. Straight Talk, for instance, was sold exclusively in Walmart stores (still is) and a majority of customers were placed on the Verizon network. Simple Mobile was sold in several retail stores but used T-Mobile for coverage. It offered international calling and texting and targeted a subscriber base that desired roaming while in Latin America. It's also long been the number one brand sold through independent multi-carrier prepaid dealers.

Tracfone targeted customers who were light users and was regularly featured on QVC and HSN, while Page Plus was primarily a brand sold through dealers and used the Verizon network. NET10 Wireless was also carried in Walmart but did overlap quite a bit with Straight Talk with plans and pricing. Over América Móvil's last few years of ownership, NET10 seemed to get less attention as América Móvil's attempt to differentiate the brand failed. Its availability in stores dwindled. And unlike some of the other brands, it wasn't marketed heavily. According to iSpot, the last NET10 commercial was released in May 2015. Meanwhile, other brands like Simple Mobile, Straight Talk, and Tracfone have continued to air TV and radio ads since then. So NET10 certainly looked like a good candidate to potentially close, although I suspect they won't be the only one moving forward. Verizon still has too many prepaid brands.

Update: Last year, representatives for Verizon Value Brands (formerly Tracfone) told Fierce Wireless that current customers and new would be able to activate and continue service until November 2024, and California customers would get until 2026. A website associated with Verizon's purchase of Tracfone also states that customers will be able to keep their current plans until November 2024. However, NET10's website seems to be at odds with the statement to Fierce Wireless, at least for potential new customers who want to buy directly from NET10 online.

NET10 Wireless did meet the needs of users needing international calling. This is perhaps why the brand is being folded into Simple Mobile instead of Straight Talk Wireless.

NET10 was founded in 1996.

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