RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, TracFone Wireless, Inc., America’s leading prepaid cell phone provider, announced its launch of SafeLink Wireless® in Virginia. SafeLink Wireless will serve as the company’s distribution of Lifeline - a U.S. government supported program for income eligible households that ensures telephone service is available and affordable for eligible low income households.
The SafeLink Wireless service will provide eligible low-income households a free cell phone, mobile access to emergency services and free 68 minutes of air time, monthly, for one year. The cell phone offers in-demand features: voicemail, text, call waiting, international calling to over 60 destinations and caller ID.
“Over 300,000 in Virginia qualify for the Lifeline services – offering these participants the opportunity to have the same access and privileges many individuals take for granted when it comes to using cell phones,” said Javier Rosado, Senior Vice President of Lifeline Services for TracFone. “The SafeLink Wireless service is truly unique because we are providing a service that no other company has made available before – a free cell phone and free monthly minutes to qualifying low income families,” added Rosado. SafeLink Wireless offers low income families accessibility, freedom and the security in knowing that should an emergency occur – wherever they are, they will stay safe and stay connected.
Economic opportunities for low-income households
A recent study (“Cell Phones Provide Significant Economic Gains for Low-Income American Households,” April 2008) analyzed the impact of mobile phones on low-income households. “In this day and age, the cell phone should be deemed an imperative necessity for the millions of low-income families who are far less likely to own them,” said Nicholas P. Sullivan, the study’s author and visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Our study showed cell phones can significantly boost the earning potential of these communities, and this connectivity vastly encourages their opportunities and remains central to their everyday survival,” Sullivan stressed.
The study also revealed the cell phone is a critical component for personal safety, access to emergency services, and can potentially increase a low-income family’s economic productivity and earning power. Other relevant survey findings included:
Daily, millions of Americans depend on mobile telecommunications for a wide range of basic activities including: calling emergency services, searching for employment, staying connected with loved ones, and much more. Yet, for people who cannot afford cell phones, being part of today’s connected world and performing these crucial day-to-day needs is near impossible.
Typically, families living below the poverty line struggle to pay their monthly bills, experience credit issues, and cannot afford traditional home phone and wireless services. Using public pay phones regularly pose problems and cell phone contracts often are difficult to maintain due to costly usage charges over long-term agreements. As a result, regular communications is a major dilemma for these families.
SAFELINK WIRELESS® SERVICE ELIGIBILITY OVERVIEW BY CITY
The following are opportunities per city specific to each state’s low-income population:
|Virginia - Richmond||28,813|
|Virginia - Fairfax||28,724|
|Virginia - Norfolk||27,229|
|Virginia – Virginia Beach||21,487|
|Virginia - Henrico||19,921|
|Virginia – Newport News||18,622|
|Virginia - Hampton||14,142|
|Virginia - Roanoke||13,972|
|Virginia - Chesterfield||12,055|
|Virginia - Chesapeake||11,954|
Lifeline program eligibility varies by state but generally families may qualify for SafeLink Wireless service if their household income is not above 135 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines, or if they receive any of the following government assistance programs:
Families wanting to participate in the SafeLink Wireless service will need to provide proof of low-income qualification such as:
The SafeLink Wireless service will be provided to low-income families for up to one year. Participants may renew service and will be required to re-submit eligibility documentation upon their year completion. If the participant no longer qualifies for this free service, they will be notified and will be able to keep the cell phone to continue enjoying the benefits as a regular TracFone customer. Unused minutes will never expire and will automatically rollover. When recipients surpass their allocated 68 airtime minutes, they will be able to purchase prepaid SafeLink Wireless airtime cards or TracFone airtime cards, including double minute cards. Existing TracFone customers qualifying for the SafeLink Wireless service may keep their current cell phone, and receive bonus minutes (one-time bonus only) for choosing to keep their current cell phone.
To learn more about the SafeLink Wireless service, including eligibility requirements, please call 1-800-977-3768, or visit www.safelinkwireless.com.
ABOUT TRACFONE WIRELESS, INC.
TracFone Wireless, Inc. is America's number one prepaid wireless service in the U.S. with more than 10 million cell phone subscribers. TracFone is a subsidiary of América Móvil, S.A.B. de C.V. (“AMX”) (BMV: AMX; NYSE: AMX; Nasdaq: AMOV; LATIBEX: XAMXL), the leading provider of wireless services in Latin America with more than 153 million cell phone subscribers. For more information, please visit: www.tracfone.com.