Trust us, we're as sick (if not more so) of hearing about this so-called soft economy as you are, but the statistics here just don't lie. It seems that in times of cautious spending, exuberant cellphones and their respective plans are one of the first things to go, with a number of prepaid-focused carriers reporting significant growth in Q3 2008. MetroPCS picked up nearly a quarter-million net new subscribers in the quarter (double its prior year increase), while Leap Wireless snapped up 156,000 net customers (tripling its year-earlier growth). Furthermore, T-Mobile has reported a gain of 670,000 subscribers in the same window, and over half of those were of the prepaid variety. On the real, we've nothing against prepaid in and of itself, but are you telling us you'd rather chow on fast food (over, say, Top Ramen) and live without unlimited monthly data? Don't kid yourself.

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Prepaid becoming all the rage with souring economy