Just when MetroPCS (PCS) finally had some true competition with its rates and service, the unthinkable happened. It turned out the deal was a bait and switch. While MetroPCS has continued to offer a true value, others have seized the opportunity to take advantage of the low end market by just telling lies to steal customers. First it was T-Mobile pretending to offer unlimited data; now Virgin Mobile, a subsidiary of Sprint (NYSE:S), recently announced it would cap its data plan with only 2.5GB of 3G speed. This is a decent deal still, but the dishonesty in management's marketing effort to get customers over to the company is alarming, and shows desperation. This comes on the heels of a price increase of $10 per month on the lowest-price plan as well.
As of now, MetroPCS is selling for dirt cheap, as some investors left town briefly due to the current slowdown in subscriber growth. This will fade as customers realize the value MetroPCS is offering compared to the so-called competition.
Reviews abound, and most say that the 3G offered by Virgin Mobile is very spotty and offers inconsistent speeds -- sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Reviews of MetroPCS 4G show much more consistent connection and speed. Speeds are not fast for 4G, but are much faster and more stable than all 3G services offered.
Eventually customers will realize that slow 4G truly is fast and stable enough, and that unlimited 4G LTE with MetroPCS for $60 per month and a $250 phone saves a fortune over an unlimited plan from a major carrier offering 4G -- even if it gave the phone away, which it usually doesn't.
The only thing left is for MetroPCS to expand its 4G network slightly further out, and to release one or two more 4G phones. Once the 4G phones are offered for sub-$175, growth is going to boom.
I am one MetroPCS subscriber who almost left for Virgin Mobile and am glad I didn't. I'll pass on 3G altogether and just get a 4G phone in the coming months as an acceptable deal emerges. The bottom line is, why would anybody buy a 3G phone and pay $55 per month at Virgin Mobile and not even get truly unlimited data, when they could pay $60 per month at MetroPCS for truly unlimited 4G? Sure, the phone costs $100 more at MetroPCS, but it is a substantially better phone with faster speeds.
Disclosure: I am long PCS.