Earlier in the month, Sprint
let the world in on a little secret
: they would soon be launching yet another pre-paid brand. This is in addition to Boost Mobile, Assurance Wireless and Virgin Mobile, mind you. Today, the cat was let out of the bag, and bargain hunters might just find what they've been searching for in a wireless carrier by visiting their local Walmart.
Common Cents Mobile isn't the greatest naming convention of all time, but it gets right to the point: this is a pre-paid wireless operator who knows their customers value low-cost over all else, and there are certainly no frills here. No 4G WiMAX. No Android phone options. Just bottom-line prices and lots of flexibility. Designed to cater to those who rarely use their mobile, the carrier offers pre-paid plans that include $0.07/minute and $0.07 text messages, which is about as cheap as it gets without a contract.
On the data front, users can get unlimited data for $20/month or pay for data access per-day at $1/megabyte. Adding to monthly balances is accomplished by buying Refill cards or by registering a credit or debit card or PayPal account online at CommonCentsMobile.com, and there are never activation or termination fees to worry over. No long-term contracts are involved, but the phone selection is very simple: there's the LG101 for $19.77, the Samsung M340 for $39.77 and the Kyocera S2300 for $69.77.
The carrier "goes live" on May 15th in over 700 Walmart stores across America, and one of the stand-out features is "Round Down." As you would expect, this means all calls in the seconds are rounded down, so a call that's 2 minutes and 59 seconds will only bill for 2 minutes. Nice touch!
NEW COMMON CENTS MOBILE ANSWERS THE CALL FOR PAY-AS-YOU-GO INNOVATION WITH UNIQUE ROUND DOWN™ MINUTES
Sprint and Walmart launch no nonsense prepaid service with industry-leading 7-cent minutes and 7-cent text messages ideal for budget-conscious, no-frills customers
WARREN, N.J. (May , 2010) – Now more than ever, Americans are searching for smart and simple ways to cut unnecessary costs. Sprint (NYSE:S) and Walmart [NASDAQ:WMT] today announced the launch of Common Cents Mobile, the newest member of Sprint's powerhouse prepaid portfolio with 7-cent minutes that Round Down and 7-cent text messages to provide the greatest value for budget-conscious consumers. The new brand, part of Sprint's prepaid multi-brand strategy, debuts May 15 exclusively in more than 700 Walmart stores in markets such as Birmingham, Ala., Detroit, Houston, Orlando, Fla., and more.
"In recent months, consumers seeking no-frills, pay-by-the-minute plans have been somewhat overlooked with the popularity of unlimited plans in the market," said Dan Schulman, president of Sprint's prepaid group. "These customers want to stay connected -- to a point -- but don't want to waste time or money on services they don't use. The addition of Common Cents combines easy-to-use handsets with a simple pay-by-the-minute service that can save them money."
Unlimited monthly plans without contracts helped re-energize the prepaid business last year but pay-by-the-minute customers still represent the majority [63 percent] of prepaid market share, and almost half [49 percent] of prepaid gross adds.
Unique new features
Round Down – Exclusive to Common Cents Mobile, Round Down minutes offer straight-forward pricing as consumers pay only for what they use – or less. The concept is simple: other carriers round up to the nearest whole minute; if you talk, for example, for 1 minute and 46 seconds, you will pay for 2 minutes for the call.
But Common Cents will "Round Down" your call of 1:46 minutes to 1 minute, allowing consumers to pay for less than what they actually use. With minutes that Round Down after the first minute, not up, consumers get more minutes for their money.
Handsets - Common Cents Mobile offers handsets with simple, basic functions – voicemail, text messaging, caller ID – that appeal to cost-conscious consumers. The easy-to-use, affordable and stylish units are priced to highlight the 7-cent-minute pricing and include the LG101® priced at just $19.77, the Samsung® M340 at $39.77, and the Kyocera® S2300 for $69.77.
Offers – Developed for consumers who seek ease and simplicity, Common Cents Mobile lets customers activate and add money to their account with two service options:
• $20 Refill card = 30 days of service, up to 565 minutes of talk
• $30 Refill card = 60 days of service, up to 848 minutes of talk
Consumers may also add unlimited messaging for $20 per month and data access for $1/megabyte per day. Adding to monthly balances is accomplished by buying Refill cards or by registering a credit or debit card or PayPal account online at CommonCentsMobile.com. With Common Cents Mobile, there are no activation or termination fees and no long-term contracts.
As part of the launch, Common Cents Mobile will introduce a new regional ad campaign and "jingle" that speaks to turning back to a simpler time, like the Common Cents Mobile plans.
Handsets and Refill cards will be available beginning May 15 at select Walmart locations. For more information or to locate a Walmart store that carries Common Cents Mobile, please visit the store locator.