Yesterday, there was an article on the WSJ website that identifies the trend of people switching from post-paid subscriptions to pre-paid subscriptions.
This is a trend that I see could strengthen throughout 2009, and it is a concept that I attempted to encapsulate in a previous post on November 28th. I referred to the trend as "downchurning". Carriers with large post-paid subscriber bases risk losing customers to pre-paid carriers as financially stressed people switch to lower cost pay-as-you-go services. This trend should benefit Companies like Virgin, along with pre-paid payment networks like Euronet, Blackhawk and Vendtek Systems (among others) that support POSA (Point-of-sale-activation) and top-ups.
Hard card retailing should increase, although the profit margins should be stressed by increased crime related to "shrinkage" or theft. A box of pre-paid cards the size of a business card holder could be worth thousands of dollars. We should see more electronic distribution as a result.