Channel Partners

February 1, 2000

11 Min Read
Prepaid Wireless

Posted: 03/2000

Prepaid Wireless Offers Prepaid Cellular, Paging on
‘Net Inc. (CPI,,
an e-commerce retailer that offers cellular phone products, accessories and service plans
has added new services to its palette: prepaid cellular and paging.

Now all customers need is Internet access to purchase cellular or paging service on an
as-needed basis via their PCs.

For $69.99, consumers can purchase a pager and 200 units of service for one month. The
pagers offer local and national paging at one and five units each, respectively.
Three-month, 1,000-unit refill cards sell for $30 on the CPI website.

"We decided to offer prepaid pagers because they are a natural complement to our
existing product line of cellular technology," says CPI President Colin Delia.

The pagers, which U.S. South Communications Inc. (
manufactures, include a toll-free pager number, a personal greeting and e-mail paging
capabilities. They are available in gray, neon yellow and neon green.

CPI offers an initial prepaid cellular service package that includes a choice of a
Motorola or Nokia phone, 10 units of service and a plug-in battery charger. The package
retails for $129.99.

Delia says his company’s new service is targeted at the credit-challenged, and
teen-agers whose parents do not want their children to abuse cell phone privileges.

"It’s a great alternative for parents who want their teens to have a phone, but
don’t want a huge bill each month," Delia says. "With prepaid service, parents
can teach their teens to budget their phone use by telling them that if they use up their
allotted units talking to friends, they’ll have to buy more out of their own

Those additional service units also are available for sale on the
website. Unused airtime for the new prepaid cellular service never expires and there are
no reactivation fees.

BellSouth Names Blackstone Master Distributor
By Liz Montalbano

BellSouth Mobility ( has named
Blackstone Calling Card (
a master distributor for its prepaid wireless products and services.

The partnership enables Blackstone to distribute BellSouth Mobility’s prepaid wireless
products and services throughout the entire BellSouth footprint, which spans the
southeastern United States.

Blackstone’s marketing coordinator Dave Goldfarb says the new venture is a natural
progression in the company’s strategy to provide a range of prepaid products and services.

"Consumers have been enjoying the benefits of Blackstone prepaid long-distance
calling cards for the past six years," Goldfarb said in a press statement. "Our
new BellSouth prepaid wireless product is the next logical addition to our comprehensive
line of prepaid products and services."

Currently, Blackstone offers a BellSouth Mobility prepaid wireless starter kit that
includes an activated prepaid cellular phone and $30 worth of airtime. The kit retails for

Blackstone also sells additional prepaid wireless phone cards in $10, $20 and $30
denominations. Retail airtime charges for the service range from 40 cents to 50 cents per
minute, and additional features include roaming and free automated assistance calls.

Blackstone currently distributes its products to more than 3,200 distributors
nationwide, with more than 7,800 retail accounts in the south Florida region.

New Service Bureau Opens
By Liz Montalbano

A new prepaid service bureau, Live Oak Telecom LLC, has launched its first service
offering, prepaid wireless communications in Texas, with plans to expand into the
Southwest and throughout the United States.

Live Oak Telecom (
also plans eventually to move into Central and South America.

The Live Oak system, which the company developed itself, is based on a fault-tolerant
Stratus computer that remotely can control switches in satellite cities. Having built its
own platform from the ground up gives Live Oak an advantage to other prepaid service
bureaus, according to David Womack, president and COO of the company.

"While other service bureaus rely on platform providers that have made system
compromises in order to meet profit margins, we built our own system," Womack said in
a press release.

"Doing so has allowed us to ensure performance and quality that far surpass
existing prepaid service bureaus."

The Live Oak system is developed around multiple carriers and redundant signaling
system 7 (SS7) lines, which, according to the company, eliminate network down time.

The company developed the system on an Oracle database, and partnered with
Hewlett-Packard Co. ( and Cisco Systems Inc. ( for other integral technology.

WirelessWireless Solutions Begins Services in Three
Cities with Help from Telemac
By Liz Montalbano

Wireless Solutions LLP (
is launching prepaid wireless services in three U.S. cities– San Francisco, Sacramento,
Calif., and Salt Lake City–using patented technology from Telemac Corp. (

The rollout initially is under resale agreements with AT&T Wireless Services ( and Cellular One Group ( Wireless Solutions also plans
to start digital prepaid services using Telemac Prepaid Technology later this year.

Wireless Solutions Chairman and CEO J.S. Peterson says the inexpensive cost of
providing prepaid wireless services using Telemac’s technology was a driving force behind
the new program. Because Telemac’s technology is handset-based, a company does not have to
invest in infrastructure or a back-office billing system.

"Of all the prepaid technology solutions available in the market today, Telemac
Prepaid Technology is by far the most scaleable and the most economic," Peterson said
in a press statement.

Wireless Solutions was founded in 1996 and operates Telemac’s system in the Salt Lake
City area, providing services to the Sundance Film Festival, for pre-Olympic events and
for Utah’s motion picture film industry.

Shared Technologies Launches
By Liz Montalbano

Shared Technologies Cellular Inc. (STC,
has launched a subsidiary and an Internet-based system that allows retailers to activate
prepaid cards at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals.

CellEase 2000, a service of wholly owned subsidiary Inc. (, allows retailers to pass prepaid
cellular and pager cards through Shared Technologies’s proprietary Debit Redemption and
Activation System (DebRA) so customers can add units of prepaid cellular or paging airtime
in real time.

Anthony D. Autorino, Shared Technologies’ chairman and CEO, says the success of prepaid
wireless in retail outlets, as well as security issues, spawned the new service and

In a press release, Autorino said, "Our new magnetic-striped cards have no
monetary value until they have been passed through the retailer’s point-of-sale activation
system," which means they no longer must be kept under lock and key for fear of
theft. will house and maintain the website and all proprietary
interfaces between Shared Technologies, the Internet, prepaid distribution and technology
partners, and a nationwide financial services transaction network.

The interfaces allow seamless customer transactions between vendors’ customers and
STC’s DebRA system. Links between the interfaces are secure and use transmission control
protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP), electronic data interchange (EDI), extensible markup
language (XML) and custom communications protocols.

The protocols vary and are flexible, enabling Shared Technologies to be a clearinghouse
for various prepaid telecom transactions across the United States.

DebitFone Signs Vending Machine Contract in Louisiana

DebitFone, a wholly owned subsidiary of SATX Inc. (,
announced it has signed a contract with Thrifty Liquor and Check Cashing in Shreveport,
La., for placement of DebitFone vending machines at its 15 megastores.

The DebitFone vending machines dispense a proprietary prepaid cellular phone ready for
use with phone number installed, battery charged and 30 minutes of talk time preloaded.

"The high volume of check cashing and traffic in these 15 stores makes them an
excellent location for our DebitFone vending machines," says SATX Vice President of
Sales and Marketing Anton Skell.

Thrifty Liquor cashes more than 70,000 payroll checks per month.

Page Tel Signs New Distribution Points

Page Tel Inc. (
began the new millennium by opening new distribution points for its prepaid cellular cards
in New York and Los Angeles.

With an eye toward coast-to-coast distribution, the company already has distribution
set up in 28 states across the country and plan additional sites in major cities in 10
more states in the first quarter of 2000.

Those states include Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon,
Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The company plans to have distribution points in all 50
states by early 2002.

Innovators of the "Phone in the Box" program, Page Tel offers retailers
pre-activated, preprogrammed products at a competitive price. Retailers receive revenue
from the original sale as well as card replenishments.

International Companies Choose LHS Platform To Offer
Prepaid Services

Two international companies have chosen the platform of LHS Priority Call Inc. (, a subsidiary of LHS Group
Inc., to provide prepaid services.

TeleYemen, a joint venture of Cable & Wireless plc ( and Yemen’s Public Telecommunications
Corp., is using LHS Priority Call’s ORYX platform to deliver an integrated suite of
enhanced services to its subscribers.

TeleYemen has deployed a range of calling and messaging services on wireline and
wireless networks, including prepaid calling cards, handset-based prepaid calling and
enhanced messaging services. LHS also delivers postpaid calling services and single-number
services for wireline and wireless TeleYemen customers.

A fixed telecom company based in Brazil, Vesper S.A., uses the ORYX platform to deliver
prepaid wireless calling and voice-messaging services. Vesper deploys wireless local-loop
systems in 29 cities and 16 states throughout Brazil. Subscribers to the Vesper network
have full wireless capabilities within their business or residence with the additional
features of voice-mail retrieval from any location served by Vesper and global recharge
capabilities to facilitate customer account updates and maintenance.

Down Under’s Mobile Market Opens More With Telstra’s

San Francisco–Telstra International Inc.’s (
introduction of its TopUp prepaid mobile is the first to be offered on any Code Division
Multiple Access (CDMA) Freedom network in Australia.

TopUp is based on CDMA technology, and does not require customers to recharge cards,
according to a Telstra press release.

The initial offer consists of a CDMA handset packaged with free connection and AU$35 of
included cell credits, which already are on the pre-paid account for a retail price of

"We are serious about making life easier for customers," says Phillip Wise,
Telstra’s consumer division manager, mobiles. "TopUp delivers simplicity and cost
control and should appeal across the board, including business customers.

He also says the product permits customers to pre-pay their mobile phone access and
call charges on the CDMA Freedom network, which allows for mobile convenience with inbuilt
cost control.

BCGI Renews Contract With Rogers AT&T Wireless

Boston Communications Group Inc. (BCGI,,
a provider of prepaid services to wireless carriers in North and South America, has
renewed its contract for prepaid wireless services with Canada’s largest wireless carrier,
Rogers AT&T Wireless (

"We are pleased to continue our relationship with Rogers AT&T Wireless. They
truly have embraced prepaid with aggressive offerings, competitive rates and effective
marketing strategies," says E.Y. Snowden, BCGI president and CEO.

Rogers AT&T Wireless first launched its prepaid wireless service–branded Pay As
You Go–in May 1998 and now services customers in Canada from coast to coast. Pay As You
Go features competitive rates and enhanced features, such as international dialing and
BCGI’s Passport Service, which allows consumers to place calls from any wireless phone to
anywhere in the world.

"[BCGI] provides the features and services that enable us to maintain leadership
in the growing prepaid wireless marketplace by providing all Canadians the opportunity to
use the exciting service of prepaid wireless."

BCGI’s solution includes prepaid roaming and seamless migration to wireless intelligent

Telemac Handset Sales Exceed 3 Million

Telemac Corp. (, a provider of
handset-based prepaid wireless technology, has announced its handset licensees have sold
more than 3 million Telemac-enabled wireless phones.

Telemac-enabled phones use Telemac’s patented technology to provide prepaid wireless
service. Telemac actually does not develop handsets itself–it sells its technology to
partner companies that integrate it into their handsets to provide prepaid wireless

Key Telemac-licensed companies include Mondial Communications (, Motorola Inc. (, Royal Philips N.V. ( and Sensei Ltd.

Telemac-enabled handsets eliminate the use of hardware and software associated with
prepaid wireless services, since the technology is not network based and companies using
it do not need to install or lease infrastructure equipment.

The Telemac solution also eliminates many billing expenses, since prepaid customers can
obtain a real-time display of their remaining prepaid balances by pressing a key on the

Topp Telecom Expands Line, Lowers Rates, Upgrades
Call Center
By Khali Henderson

Topp Telecom Inc. (, an
affiliate of Telefonos de Mexico and a provider of prepaid wireless made several January
announcements that impact its product offer, including support for additional phones,
lower rates and upgrades to its call center.

Topp Telecom offers two new handsets–the Nokia 252C and the Nokia 282P–for its
TRACFONE prepaid service. Prices will range from $99 to $179. These models join Topp
Telecom’s existing line, which includes Nokia 918P, the Motorola Profile 300, Motorola
Microtac 650 and Motorola StarTAC 3000.

In conjunction with its new airtime rates, the company also offers a $30 rebate on all
Nokia handset purchases plus one month of free service and 10 minutes of free airtime. The
new rates for the TRACFONE service, effective Feb. 1, are $7.99, $19.99, $49.99 and $99.99
per month for 10, 30, 100 and 260 minutes, respectively.

In a separate announcement, Topp Telecom reports completion of an $11 million
investment in its call center to support its growing customer base and to deliver enhanced
customer services.

The new system includes hardware and software from Clarify Inc. (, Architel Systems Corp. (, Oracle Financial EMC (, Compaq Corp. ( and Lucent Technologies Inc. (

The solution incorporates an interactive voice response (IVR) system that automates
customer airtime redemptions, allowing customers to easily refill airtime on their phones
by calling Topp’s toll-free number without speaking to a live operator.

Topp’s call center, situated near the company’s headquarters in Miami, maintains 400
customer service representatives with future seating for 700 people.

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