July 14, 2011
Assurance Wireless to Aid Utah Residents Facing Economic Hardship with Free Cell Phone and Wireless Service
As it launches availability in its 27th state, Assurance Wireless can help more than 98,805 eligible Utah residents stay connected
WARREN, N.J. (BUSINESS WIRE), July 14, 2011 - Today, Assurance Wireless, a cell phone service from Sprint that provides a free wireless phone and 250 free minutes of wireless voice service monthly to eligible customers, introduces its services to Utah residents.
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, bringing the total to 44 million.
More than 99,700 Utah residents are currently without a job and more than 11.5 percent are living below the federal poverty line. 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.
“As we’ve become available in more and more states, Assurance is proud to help customers stay connected to potential employers, medical providers and child care-givers,” said Grace Boehm, director for Assurance Wireless. “We look forward to providing this same type of assistance to eligible Utah residents who need support and resources during, what continue to be, rough economic times for many.”
According to a 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.
“I was unemployed for an extended amount of time due to layoffs,” stated Evan M., 37, an Assurance Wireless customer. “The free phone and service I received from Assurance Wireless was 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 needed to provide for my family. Assurance also gave me peace of mind that I had a way to stay connected to my kids while away from home.”
According to a recent 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.”2
In addition to a voice mail account3 and call waiting, Assurance Wireless provides caller ID and access to 911 in case of emergency. Beyond the free 250 voice minutes, customers can choose from other options to pay for additional minutes, texting, international calling and more at competitive rates.
Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), General Assistance, Refugee Assistance, Work Toward Employment, Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Home Energy Assistance Target Programs/Help Programs, Head Start Program (Income qualifying standard only) or National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program. Customers may also qualify based on low household income. Supporting documentation is required to prove eligibility. Eligibility varies by state.
Eligible residents can apply for Assurance Wireless by downloading an application from www.assurancewireless.com or by calling (toll-free) 1-800-395-2171. 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/paylo-plans.jsp#.
Assurance Wireless is currently available in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. This list of states continues to expand and can be found on the Assurance Wireless website.
Assurance Wireless availability is dependent upon network coverage and may not be available in all areas of the state.
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.
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 51 million customers at the end of 1Q 2011 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, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. 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.
3 Airtime charges apply when accessing voice mail via an Assurance Wireless phone once free minutes have been depleted.