With consumers looking to cut costs and commit as little money as possible to unneeded expenses, a growing number of cell-phone users have begun switching to cheaper pre-paid phone brands as a means to consolidate debt.
According to a study by the New Millennium Research Council [released] on March 31, the fourth quarter of 2009 marked the first time that new prepaid wireless customers in the country outnumbered the number of new contract-based cell phone customers.
The prepaid cell phone market, which in many cases has cheaper plans than contract plans because they are customizable, grow to 54.4. million customers during the quarter, an increase of 17 percent compared to the final quarter of 2008.
"The era of cell phone penny pinching is officially here. Thanks to the recession, the U.S. cell phone marketplace continues to undergo fundamental changes that will just get bigger as the economic downturn deepens," said Jose Guzman, a project coordinator for the NMRC. "What is different from a year ago is the explosion in new ‘all-you-can-eat’ and unlimited prepaid deals as low as $30 and $45 that will remain attractive to consumers long after the current recession is over."
The study also found that, in total, there were approximately 285 million Americans who were subscribed to some type of wireless phone service.