Today’s must-read comes from The New York Times‘ Brian X. Chen, who asks why prepaid phones aren’t more popular considering how much cheaper they are. Prepaid carriers (as well as prepaid plans from tier-one carriers) are usually cheaper than postpaid, they offer attractive handsets (including, in some cases, the iPhone), and they’re substantially cheaper. As Chen notes, major carriers don’t market their prepaid plans aggressively, and the upfront cost of an unsubsidized handset is unquestionably a barrier. And as MetroPCS recently demonstrated, carrier margins for prepaid can approach those for postpaid. So while the economy continues to stagnate, expect prepaid to regain its legs.