September 22, 2010
Assurance Wireless to Aid West Virginia Residents Facing Economic Hardship with Free Cell Phone and Wireless Service
More than 180,000 West Virginia households eligible to receive Assurance Wireless
WARREN, N.J. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 22, 2010 - Today, Assurance Wireless, a cell phone service from Virgin Mobile that provides a free wireless phone and 200 free minutes of wireless voice service monthly to eligible customers, launched in West Virginia.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported1 that the percentage of Americans living in poverty increased by 14.3 percent in 2009 -- the highest rate of poverty in 15 years. An additional 4 million Americans found themselves in poverty in 2009, brining the total to 44 million.
“Lifeline Assistance Programs like Assurance Wireless are crucial to helping people back on their feet by keeping them connected to potential employers, medical providers and child care while cutting down monthly expenses,” said Grace Boehm, director for Assurance Wireless. “More than 47,000 West Virginia residents are currently without a job, and more than 17 percent are living below the federal poverty line.”
“Studies have shown that nearly a third of those working in the United States say their cell phone has helped them make money, get new work or new customers,” added Boehm. “People need to be connected if for no other reason than to be able to apply for and obtain a new job.”
According to a recent nationwide survey from Assurance Wireless*, adults with an income of less than $25,000 are as likely to use their mobile phone for employment searches as those with higher incomes.
“Programs like Assurance are so important for helping individuals and families stay on, or get back on, their feet and succeed in these difficult financial times,” explains business columnist and personal finance expert Louis Barajas.
“The phone I received from Assurance Wireless allows me to stay connected to my children in case of an emergency,” said Angela R., age 33, of Memphis, Tenn. “It gives me a sense of security to know that I can always reach them.”
In addition to free voice mail2 and call waiting, Assurance Wireless provides caller ID and access to 911 in case of emergency. Beyond the free 200 voice minutes, customers can pay for additional 10-cent-per-minute domestic calling, 10-cent text, e-mail or instant messages, international calling at competitive rates, and more.3
Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Emergency Assistance, Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA/TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, School Clothing Allowance, Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), West Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (WV CHIP), or National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program. Customers may also qualify based on low household income.
Eligible residents can apply for Assurance Wireless by calling toll-free 1-800-395-2171, or visiting www.assurancewireless.com.
Assurance Wireless is currently available to eligible low income customers in 11 states, and the service is always working toward expanding availability of this important program.
About Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, is supported by the Lifeline Assistance program, part of the Low Income Program of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF), which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), and designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income customers at reasonable and affordable rates. Assurance Wireless uses the Nationwide Sprint Network, which reaches more than 275 million people.
To learn more about Assurance Wireless, including eligibility requirements, please call toll-free 1-800-395-2171 or visit www.assurancewireless.com. Information is available in English and Spanish.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 48.1 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. With its customer-focused strategy, you can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
Note: sources for all information and statistics are available upon request
*PKS Research Partners was commissioned by Sprint/Nextel (Assurance Wireless) to conduct a research project among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults 25 years or older in order to determine their attitudes toward and usage of mobile phones.
2 Airtime charges apply when accessing voice mail via an Assurance Wireless phone once free minutes have been depleted.
3 When purchasing additional minutes or features, standard taxes and surcharges will apply.