media logos

Sprint discontinuing Common Cents, moving to Virgin’s payLo

Well, that didn’t last long. Just last year Sprint announced the launch of Common Cents Mobile, a pay-as-you-go complement to its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands. It seemed like a great deal: 7 cents per minute, with partial minutes rounding down instead of up, and 7 cents per text. Yet things haven’t gone all that well for the fledgling service. At least, that’s the indication Sprint gave today when it discontinued Common Cents. This is actually a somewhat complex move, since it does involve Sprint’s other brands, plus the nation’s largest retailer.

For starters, Common Cents users will be able to keep their current accounts as long as they actively top them up. That is, they can buy Virgin Mobile top-up cards and use them to refill their Common Cents accounts.

From the statements of Sprint spokeswoman Jayne Wallace, it sounds as though Common Cents will merely fold into Virgin’s payLo service. “As payLo is targeted at the same ‘basic talker,’ we’ve opted to make this transition,” she wrote.

So it appears that the division of different prepaid services to separate brands hasn’t worked out quite as well as Sprint had envisioned. In the long term, I do think that it could have worked. But I also see the sense in consolidating a bit, especially when Sprint has such recognizable brands as Boost and Virgin.

We’ll keep up on this story as we learn more. But for now it sounds like nothing much has changed. The biggest question, really, is of whether Sprint will keep in tact the Common Cents pricing within Virgin. I really think that price point is a winner from a consumer standpoint, given the alternative pay-as-you-go options on the market.