Warren, N.J. - Sprint revealed not only the name of its new
pay-as-you-go prepaid service - Common Cents Mobile - but announced that the
service and handsets would be available exclusively through more than 700
Walmart stores beginning May 15.
The new brand expands the
carrier's selection of prepaid brands to four as part of prepaid-brand
repositioning. The other brands are Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Assurance.
With the announcement, Walmart
expands its portfolio of exclusive prepaid brands to two. Last fall, the
retailer launched its exclusive Straight Talk prepaid brand, which offers
monthly unlimited plans through MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) Tracfone
Targeted to the budget-conscious, the Common
Cents offers basic handsets, 7-cent minutes, 7-cent text messages, and a round-down
pricing feature unavailable from other prepaid brands. Round-down pricing
rounds down usage to the nearest whole minute after the first minute of usage.
Unlimited monthly prepaid plans "helped
re-energize the prepaid business" in 2009, but pay-by-the-minute users
nonetheless accounted for 63 percent of prepaid users in the fourth quarter of
2009 and 49 percent of prepaid gross adds, Sprint said in quoting Nielsen
To activate the service, consumers
buy a $20 or $30 prepaid card in the stores or register a credit or debit card
or PayPal account at CommonCentsMobile.com.
The prepaid cards are good for a maximum of 30 days and 60 days, respectively. Consumers
could also add unlimited messaging for $20 per month and data access for
$1/megabyte per day.
Basic handsets in the program include the
LG101 at $19.77, the Samsung M340 at $39.77, and the Kyocera S2300 for $69.77.
As part of the launch, Common Cents Mobile plans a regional ad campaign
and "jingle" said to promote the idea of turning back to a simpler time.