media logos

Virgin Mobile launches service for low-income households

As civilization evolves, things that were once a luxury become a near necessity. This holds true with telecommunications. The home telephone was once a luxury, but quickly became a necessity. It seems we’re headed that way with cell phones (due in part, of course, to the decline of landlines). Yet there are many people, especially with the unemployment rate the highest it’s been in years, who cannot afford a cell phone. Tracfone runs its SafeLink program, which provides qualifying low-income individuals a free phone and 80 minutes per month. Virgin Mobile will now offer a similar program, called Assurance Wireless.

Qualifying individuals can get a free Kyocera Jax handset, plus 200 minutes per month. This covers long distance, voicemail, call waiting, and caller ID. Users can then purchase additional minutes for 20 cents each, and text messages for 15 cents each. It is currently. available to residents of New York state\

“Most of us take cell phone service for granted. Mobile phones allow us to stay connected with friends, family and employers and provide critical support in case of emergency,” said Dan Schulman, president of Sprint’s Prepaid group which includes Virgin Mobile USA. “The government estimates that more than 1 million households in New York State are eligible for income-based assistance programs. We are proud to offer this valuable service, particularly in these tough times, which disproportionately affect lower income customers.”

New York residents can inquire about eligibility by calling 888-321-5880.

9 Responses

  1. mike freeman Says

    VM via Sprint covers 280 million people supposedly. But I can say that vs. Tracfone’s Safelink, VM has to offer more in order to compensate for Trac’s superior coverage which is supposed to cover 99% of the US. 200 is triple their 68 minutes though.

    Posted on December 11th, 2009 at 12:49 pm
  2. Lama Says

    I think this Safelink program is a very good thing because when I read the Sullivan Report which came out earlier this year I realized just how much a cell phone can help in finding work and improving ones income. Tracfone has been doing this for over a year now and it is a very good thing to have started.

    Posted on December 14th, 2009 at 2:04 am
  3. Ali Blabber Says

    I love how some people refer to the Safelink program as “an Obama phone.”


    The program’s been in effect for 25 years and finally recognizes the reality of cell phones as a viable option for communication.

    And the phones themselves are cheap, low-end devices, but the right wing echo chamber rails against this because of the perception that cell phones are somehow “luxuries.”


    Posted on December 20th, 2009 at 3:50 pm
  4. BrooklynBombers Says

    All these companies are starting to offer service for the low income user. Before we know it, we won’t have any companies left that charge for cell phones. I understand that a cell phone is becoming a necessity, but why is it that Virgin Mobile is doing it? I mean, don’t they mainly aim their phones and service at the younger, college crowd? Last time I checked, college students can’t claim unemployment. Why doesn’t Virgin just give their paying users a discount rather than free phones to the “select” few? ‘Bo’ to the ‘Gus’

    Posted on December 26th, 2009 at 11:02 pm
  5. EnufZNuf Says

    I didn’t have a problem with the so-called “Obama Phone.”
    It seemed reasonable to give poor people a cheap phone and a few minutes a month.
    Go find a job. Go to the doctor. Get the car fixed. Whatever.
    But this new Virgin Mobile program gives poor people 200 minutes a month.
    It’s too much!
    What’s next? Iphones? Blackberries?
    Virgin is using taxpayer money extravagantly.
    Am I wrong?

    Posted on January 5th, 2010 at 8:52 pm
  6. Bob Schuman Says

    I am one of the disabled people using a safelink phone. I feel 200 minuted should be the max. I have a safelink phone and by the time the doctors, government or others take you off hold your minutes are gone. I don’t talk much but the phone is necessary when I leave the house with my oxygen. I do have a basic landline and basic internet to pay bills and order products as I have no car and very little mass transportation. It is hard to walk to store with oxygen on and carry groceries home. I worked hard for what I owned and now just happy to get something back. I do not want a free ride.

    Posted on January 13th, 2010 at 4:12 pm
  7. Marie Says

    I am a disabled woman who has the safelink service by the way it is 60 minutes a month NOT 80 minutes Those muinutes do roll over.

    Without this phone I would never be able to call a cab to get home from doctors appointments

    Posted on April 28th, 2010 at 7:43 pm
  8. derrick jeffries Says

    when are you coming to new jersey with this program because safelink is full of bull

    Posted on August 8th, 2010 at 4:03 pm
  9. Sprint introduces Common Cents plans with round down minutes | Prepaid Reviews Says

    [...] company announced that it would add a fourth brand — in addition to Virgin, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless — to cover pay-as-you-go. This morning they made the official announcement. The new brand, [...]

    Posted on November 17th, 2010 at 9:53 am

Leave a Reply