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Unfortunately, it is true. Mobile virtual network operator PlatinumTel (PTel), along with its Giv Mobile brand, is hanging the gloves so to speak, after 15 long years of providing prepaid wireless services to countless customers in the United States. As posted by a PTel master dealer on HowardForums, the MVNO (who leases mobile phone and data service from major US wireless carrier T-Mobile) will be shutting down its operations permanently by January 30th of this year. As for Giv Mobile, it will accordingly cease business effective on January 31st of this year.
In a message it sent to its dealers, PTel had the following to say:
PTel To Discontinue Service on January 30
01/20/2016 10:55 AM
We regret to inform you that after 15 long years, PlatinumTel’s journey in wireless has come to an end and we will no longer offer service effective the end of January. Accordingly, activations have been disabled, and your ability to top-up will soon be stopped as well. Please begin to port your customers to new providers. PIN requirements for port-outs have been disabled.
Surprisingly, the wireless carrier chose not to make this announcement via its official website, or its Facebook and Twitter social media accounts. But reports have surfaced that activations, plus phone and airtime purchases, including chat, have all been indeed deactivated on PTel’s website. Other reports also indicate that port out requests must be submitted by January 26th.
Surviving a decade and a half in the world of prepaid is no easy feat, considering how competitive things have become. MVNOs and smaller wireless carriers do not only compete among themselves but also with the major wireless carriers (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint) who have the resources (plus their own respective prepaid brands) and the money to attract the attention of prospective prepaid customers.
No doubt, this is not welcome news for those who have been customers of PTel over the years. The MVNO has built quite a reputation for reliable prepaid mobile service, with relatively trouble free network coverage (courtesy of T-Mobile’s nationwide reach) and decent customer service support. Unfortunately, PTel’s time has ended, and its customers will now look towards other prepaid service providers.
Looking at the bigger picture, might PTel’s fall be a sign of things to come. The wireless industry has always been one that is cut throat, and who knows in a few months or years, we might see other prepaid wireless carriers bite the dust. A shame, for sure -- the world of prepaid has always been appreciated for its diversity, and with providers starting to throw in the towel, it may become a lot less fun.