WARREN, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Assurance Wireless, which provides eligible residents with a free cell phone and 250 free monthly voice minutes introduces its services to Rhode Island residents. Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund.
More than 61,100 Rhode Island 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. 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.
“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 David Trimble, vice president for Assurance Wireless. “We look forward to providing this same type of assistance to eligible Rhode Islanders who need support and resources during, what continue to be, rough economic times for many.”
“I was unemployed for an extended amount of time due to layoffs,” stated Evan M., 37, a current Assurance Wireless customer. “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. Assurance also gave me peace of mind that I had a way to stay connected to my kids while away from home.”
Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program funded through the Universal Service Fund designed to insure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at affordable rates. Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, General Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Rhode Island Medical Assistance Program, Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Elderly or Family Independence Program. Customers may also qualify based on low household income. Eligibility varies by state. Supporting documentation is required to prove eligibility.
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.”1
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.
Meanwhile, people who don’t quite qualify for Assurance Wireless but who are also struggling in the current economy and searching for value, can take advantage of payLo by Virgin Mobile. payLo was especially designed with value-conscious wireless consumers in mind, offering plans for as little as $20/month for 400 minutes or 90 days of service for $20 at a rate of $0.20/minute. 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/paylo-plans.jsp#
Assurance Wireless is currently available in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Utah, Washington and West Virginia. This list of states continues to expand and can be found on the Assurance website.
About Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless, brought to you by Virgin Mobile USA, 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). Assurance Wireless uses the Nationwide Sprint Network which reaches more than 278 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 52 million customers at the end of 2Q 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
*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.