Amp’d customers keep getting screw’d

prexar_mobile_logo.JPG It was a sad fate for Amp’d.

On the other hand, the future for Prexar Mobile looks brighter than ever. Here’s why; Prexar Mobile, a small mobile virtual network operator managed by a nationwide CLEC, says it has signed a deal to acquire Amp’d Mobile’s customers. Prexar is hoping this move will help its nationwide expansion.

Amp’d Mobile customers have been notified of the option to switch via a series of 5 text messages. Prexar says that its customer service centers have already been “pounded” with customers calling and signing up. No surprise there because Prexar has only about 15,000 wireless customers, and it probably has very minimal customer service agents. Amp’d had about 200,000 customers, and with all of them without service and probably desperately looking for an alternate provider, it’s no wonder Prexar’s customer service is getting pounded. Amp’d Mobile customers better move fast.

Good thing is that customers will be able to keep their handsets, except those who have the “Hollywood” or E816 or from Motorola. Those customers have to buy a new phone. Since Amp’d was on Verizon Wireless, it would seem logical that Prexar is on a carriers that uses the same technology (CDMA2000), otherwise subscribers wouldn’t be able to use the same wireless device. According to Prexar’s Web site, the company “provides service on the same network as Amp’d” Since they don’t explicitly call out Verizon Wireless, it’s probably not (but they wouldn’t want to spook customers by saying its not). Prexar most likely is on Sprint, a MVNO friendly carrier, or perhaps on Alltel or U.S. Cellular.

Prexar goal is to help Amp’d Mobile customers retain voice and text only at first. Prexar doesn’t have the fancy schmanzy services that Amp’d had, but it says that is working on a longer-term plan to add a content delivery system. Amp’d Mobile’s vast content library is on the auction block, and I doubt Prexar will purchase those rights for a small number of subscribers.

Interestingly, Prexar’s calling plans are much higher than what Amp’d offered and are similar to what the majors offer. The main difference is a two-step billing process where it bills in advance for the base plan and for usage in arrears. Here’s Amp’d Price Plans:

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And here’s Prexar’s calling plans

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First these customers got Amp’d (and you thought that was a good thing), but now they are getting screw’d by Prexar’s price plans. At these price plans, why not join a major wireless operator such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint?