May 23, 2012
Assurance Wireless Adds Text Messaging to Free and Five-Dollar Cellphone Plans
New offers make Assurance Wireless best value among Lifeline Assistance programs
WARREN, N.J. (BUSINESS WIRE), May 23, 2012 - Today, Assurance Wireless announced that it is offering a Free Talk and Text plan and a $5 Talk and Text plan for eligible low-income residents in participating states in addition to the existing offer of 250 free minutes. The Free Talk and Text plan will include a free cell phone and 250 free text messages and 250 minutes of free monthly voice service to eligible residents; the $5 Talk and Text Plan also offers a free cell phone plus 500 text messages and 500 voice minutes. Assurance Wireless customers will still have the option of obtaining 1,000 total voice minutes and 1,000 text messages for $20 per month. All of the offers include a Service Protector feature, which ensures that the basic 250 free minutes and texts are guaranteed each month a customer is eligible, even if a customer cannot pay the additional dollars during a particular month. These new offers are available to all Assurance Wireless subscribers. To participate in the free or $5 plans, current Assurance Wireless customers will need to enroll by choosing a plan via menu options through their handset, visiting www.AssuranceWireless.com or calling 1-888-321-5880.
With these new options, Assurance Wireless now offers the best value in calling plans among major Lifeline Assistance programs.1 Assurance Wireless, a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund, is designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at affordable rates.
“During these tough economic times customers have to make difficult decisions about how to spend their money, but wireless communications have become a necessity for people for a variety of reasons,” said Grace Boehm, director of strategy and business planning, Assurance Wireless. “We want to help consumers by continuing to improve on the basic offer.”
Assurance Wireless gives eligible customers the ability to provide a contact number and return calls to a prospective employer which, studies show, can improve the chances of securing employment. According to a report, “If all 28.5 million adults eligible for Lifeline Assistance were to take advantage of the program and earn at the same rate and level as [the study] sample, it would result in $3.7 billion in fresh income for the poor and near poor.” A nationwide survey from Assurance Wireless*, shows that 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. Data collected by Austin Nichols, a senior researcher with the Chronicle for Higher Education’s Urban Institute, demonstrates that the rate of graduates with doctoral degrees who have filed for government assistance more than tripled between 2007 and 2010.
“I was unemployed for an extended amount of time because of layoffs,” stated Assurance Wireless customer Evan M. “The phone and service I received from Assurance Wireless were invaluable to my finding new employment and to my efforts to recover from this recession. It allowed me to contact potential employers and provide a way for them to respond to me, while also saving money. Having a child with a disability, I can honestly say Assurance Wireless has been miraculously helpful in keeping me connected with a team of specialists at three hospitals to coordinate ongoing and critically needed care for my children. Assurance Wireless also provides peace of mind, knowing that my daughter and son are only a call away every time they are away from home.”
Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Supplemental Security Income/SSI, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families/TANF, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program/LIHEAP, Section 8 Housing and The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program (NSL). Customers may also qualify based on low household income. Eligibility varies by state.
In addition to a voice mail account2 and call waiting, Assurance Wireless provides caller ID and access to 911 in case of emergency. Beyond the 250 free voice minutes each month, customers can choose from other options to pay for additional minutes, texting, international calling and more at competitive rates.
Eligible residents can apply for Assurance Wireless by calling (toll-free) 800-395-2171 or visiting www.assurancewireless.com.
People who don’t qualify for Assurance Wireless but who are also struggling and searching for value can take advantage of payLo by Virgin Mobile. payLo is especially designed with value-conscious wireless consumers in mind, offering plans for as little as $20/month for 400 minutes or access to 90 days of service for $20 at a rate of less than $7 per month. payLo is available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including Best Buy, RadioShack and Target. Prospective low-income customers who find they are not eligible for Assurance Wireless may learn more about Virgin Mobile’s no-contract payLo Plan options by visiting http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/payloplans.jsp#.
Assurance Wireless is available in 32 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. This list of states continues to expand and can be found on the Assurance Wireless website.
About Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless, brought to you by Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, is supported by the federal 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). Assurance Wireless uses the Nationwide Sprint Network, which reaches more than 280 million people.
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.
1 Based on published price plans as of 5/23/2012 of major Lifeline carriers with more than 1M subscribers who provide service in more than 20 states.
2 Airtime charges apply when accessing voice mail via an Assurance Wireless phone once free minutes have been depleted.
Jack Pflanz, 315-374-0693