Sprint's new prepaid gambit: $20 for unlimited talk or text, exclusive to Walmart

Sprint's (NYSE: S) Virgin Mobile prepaid brand today announced it will offer two low-cost talk and text plans exclusively through Walmart. The new plans, from Virgin's payLo brand, are geared toward the low end of the prepaid market.

Sprint's payLo by Virgin brand will sell the two plans in Walmart stores to customers who purchase either the Samsung Montage or Kyocera Kona feature phones. Customers can choose from one of two plans:

  • $20 per month for unlimited talk and 50 messages
  • $20 per month for unlimited text and 50 minutes of voice

In addition to the two $20 exclusive offerings, Walmart customers can also choose from the existing payLo $30 Talk & Text plan or the $40 Unlimited Talk & Text plan.

Sprint owns a handful of prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and Assurance Wireless. PayLo by Virgin is a sub-brand that "offers affordable alternatives to long-term wireless contracts for cellphone users seeking more basic communication services." Sprint's Virgin launched payLo in 2010 through drug store chains and convenience stores as well as RadioShack and Best Buy.

At the time Sprint argued the plans are geared toward youth, the elderly and other Americans who don't own a smartphone. The company cited findings from the Pew Research Center that just 18 percent of senior citizens and 8 percent of youths ages 12-13 are smartphone users--evidence the company said of potential demand for inexpensive talking and texting plans.

The new plans from payLo will compete with other Walmart exclusives including Straight Talk (sold through Walmart by MVNO TracFone Wireless) and Walmart Family Mobile (the retailer's MVNO powered by T-Mobile US).

Moreover, the new payLo plans face a range of competing options in the wider prepaid sector. For example, AT&T Mobility's (NYSE: T) Cricket Wireless offers unlimited talking and texting for $25 per month. And T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) GoSmart Mobile prepaid brand also offers unlimited talking and texting for $25 per month.

For more:
- see this Sprint release

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