Sprint's Prepaid Chief Leaves

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Overland Park, Kan. - Dan Schulman, the architect of Sprint's recent multi-brand prepaid cellular strategy, is leaving the carrier to join American Express as a group VP.

 Schulman was president of Sprint Prepaid, whose activities now become the responsibility of Robert H. Johnson, president of Sprint's consumer organization. The consumer segment incorporates Sprint's postpaid consumer marketing and sales, including sales through about 11,000 retail outlets.

 Earlier this year, Schulman unveiled a

prepaid strategy

to position various prepaid brands to specific customer demographics and customer needs.

Schulman's connection with Virgin Mobile USA goes back to the


of the service in 2002, when it was a joint venture between Sprint and the Virgin Group and he was its CEO. In 2009, Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile and integrated it with its Boost Mobile prepaid service. Other prepaid brands followed.

 "When I joined Sprint, we had a great opportunity to change the way prepaid was delivered to customers," Schulman said in a written statement. "I couldn't be more satisfied with how we have executed against the multi-brand strategy and the strong future prepaid has ahead of it. The integration of Virgin Mobile is complete, and the synergies envisioned were achieved. Dan Hesse is a good friend and I have had the pleasure to work with him for a long time. I leave Sprint confident in the company's direction under his leadership and management team."

Under the new multi-brand strategy, the company repositioned the Virgin Mobile brand mainly toward young social networkers and its Boost Mobile brand to talk and text users. Sprint also launched a pay-as-you-go prepaid service -- Common Cents Mobile -- for cost-conscious consumers who primarily use cellular voice and text. That service became available exclusively at more than 700 Walmart in May. Sprint's other existing prepaid brand, Assurance Wireless, remained targeted to 37 million low-income households who qualify for free government-paid service.

 The new Virgin Mobile sub-brand PayLo is a pay-as-you-go service targeted to low-usage consumers who mostly want to talk and want to keep their costs down to about $20/month. It becomes available this month in drug and convenience stores as well as RadioShack and Best Buy.


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