Cash-conscious consumers are flocking to prepaid month-to-month wireless phone service in lieu of contract-based plans.
A study released by the New Millennium Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, last week said new prepaid wireless customers exceeded the number of new contract subscribers that signed up for service in the fourth quarter of 2009. This is the first time that prepaid services have outsold post-paid or contract services, the group said.
New prepaid cell phone subscribers accounted for almost two-thirds of all 4.2 million cell phone subscribers that U.S. carriers added in the fourth quarter of 2009. The prepaid market grew 17 percent during the quarter to 54.4 million subscribers, up from 46.3 million during the same time a year ago. Meanwhile, contract-based cell phone subscribership grew only 3 percent over the same period.
According to the report, one out of every five of the 285 million cell phone subscribers in the U.S. now use prepaid phone service.
For more on this story, read Prepaid wireless outpaces contract services on CNET News.