Is 'wireless welfare' taking off amid recession?
The economy is still mired in recession, and it has certainly hit the wireless industry hard. But a new program, just in its infancy, is providing a boost to both carriers and the poor. The federal program, known as Lifeline, gives subsidies to wireless carriers to provide limited cellular service to those who meet federal low-income guidelines. So far, TracFone, the prepaid carrier, is at the forefront of the effort, but it has also has drawn interest from AT&T Mobility and Sprint Nextel. The service also represents a business opportunity for carriers, reaching to a largely untapped market of the poor. Carriers may also try and convert these subsidized customers to paying ones if they get back on their feet. Article