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Que up Freddy Mercury and Queen's Another One Bites The Dust. It looks like U.K. stationed TPO Mobile is about to exit the USA market.
A few days ago TPO Mobile sent out a press release to its investors detailing the MVNO's financial position. From November through April the company's average revenue per user (ARPU) has remained steady. Churn rate has declined in both the USA and UK. The problem however is that TPO Mobile has some debt to pay and may need to raise financing. While it's UK market segment has been growing steadily since February, the company's USA affiliate has experienced a net decline in subscriber numbers. Consequently, TPO Mobile has decided that it would be best if the company focused on the UK markets.
"The Board has reviewed the relative positions of the UK and US entities and has concluded that the Company should concentrate its effort on the UK market, which enjoys the larger number of subscribers, has been allocated the larger marketing budget and offers better growth prospects in the short and medium term." -TPO Mobile Press Release To Investors
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TPO Mobile is currently working with an unnamed provider to transfer its USA customer base to. If the deal goes through, TPO Mobile is expected to receive a cash payment for each subscriber it transfers over. Upon closure, the company expects to reduce its monthly cash burn rate by 35%.
Although the party TPO Mobile is negotiating with is unknown, I'm inclined to believe the most likely partner is Ting. When RingPlus closed down a year ago, it was Ting that stepped in to grab their customer base. TPO Mobile and Ting both operate on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks, so a partnership between the two would seem to make perfect sense. Both TPO Mobile and Ting are part of publicly traded company's although Ting trades under its parent brand Tucows.
TPO Mobile Is Likely Closing What Are My Options?
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One thing you could potentially do is stand pat and wait to be transferred over to the new provider whoever that may be. Although keep in mind that there is a chance that the deal may fall through with TPO Mobile's negotiating partner and you'll be forced to choose a provider on your own anyway.
If you are subscribed to TPO Mobile you either have service with them on the Sprint or T-Mobile networks. At BestMVNO I have compiled lists of the best plans on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks, so you may want to start by checking those out. TPO Mobile offered relatively low cost, relatively low usage plans, so another list you may want to check out is one containing the cheapest phone plans around.
If You Need Service On Sprint
If you need service on Sprint, you may want to have a look at Tello. Tello plans start at just $5 a month, and they do offer some of the best valued single month plans around. For instance you can get unlimited talk, text and data with the first 3GB at LTE speeds for just $24/month. A similar plan, albeit without unlimited 2G data would cost you $35/month on TPO Mobile, so your savings would be significant with Tello. If this sounds interesting to you, you may want to check out my review of Tello before you jump ship.
If you are willing to commit to a provider for a year at a time, Red Pocket Mobile may work for you. The company recently lowered the price of its annual eBay plan to $220 or an average cost of under $19/month. It includes unlimited talk, text and data with the first 5GB at 4G LTE data speeds.
If You Need Service On T-Mobile
If you need service on T-Mobile, Mint SIM may be a good choice for you. The company just announced that it has tripled the size of its customer service team and added a new $5 trial kit.
Mint SIM does have one drawback in that it requires you to pay for service several months in advance. In exchange for the advance payment, subscribers get great savings compared to the competition. Mint SIM's plans start at $15/month, or $45 up front for a trial of 3 months of unlimited talk, text and data with the first 2GB at 4G LTE data speeds. This again is significant savings over TPO Mobile.
TPO Mobile plans had lost their competitive edge over the past year to year and a half. It's unfortunate that the MVNO could not improve them enough to keep up with the competition while still earning good revenue. Although this is likely the first major MVNO casualty of 2018, the markets shouldn't suffer. We've already seen the emergence of several new prepaid providers and MVNO's to keep the competition alive and well.