Well, another one's biting the dust. In a sense, anyway. MVNOs have had a terrible time catching on in America, and it's hard to pinpoint why. The 2-year contract model dominates, despite being one of the most consumer-unfriendly models we know of. That tantalizing up-front discount just keeps people coming back, despite the fact that no one enjoys being tethered to a carrier for two solid years. Sprint has their toes dribbling in a number of prepaid options, and as of last year, they'd added one more: Common Cents.
It was a prepaid brand that was to be sold in Walmart stores, offering contract-free calling at $0.07 per minute. But a year into things, Sprint is reportedly pulling the plug on the service. The reason? Common Cents is being dumped into Virgin Mobile's PayLo program, whittling down the possible prepaid options by one. It's entirely possible that the industry needed this consolidation, but it's still strange to see a service last only a year or so before being done away with.
Sprint spokeswoman Janye Wallace explained it as such: "Common Cents as you may recall was a brand limited to Wal-Mart and was never rolled out nationally. As payLo is targeted at the same 'basic talker,' we've opted to make this transition. Current Common Cents customers need not make any change, but will now have access to more options for plans and handsets under payLo as well. Common Cents is due to move out of Wal-Mart in mid-May; those pegs will be taken over by Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk plans which have already seen solid success in Wal-Mart."
The move was largely made as part of a broad overhaul of Sprint
's prepaid strategy, and no jobs will be loss due to the killing of Common Cents. Only time will tell if it was actually a sensible move. Bad pun, we know.