Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) fleshed out the rest of its multi-brand prepaid strategy with the launch of its new pay-per-minute brand, Common Cents Mobile. The brand is intended for voice-centric customers who eschew data plans and do not want flashy phones.
Sprint said the new brand will be available beginning May 15 at 700 Wal-Mart locations in markets such as Birmingham, Ala., Detroit, Houston and Orlando, Fla. Customers will be charged 7 cents per minute or 7 cents per text. Subscribers can purchase a $20 refill card for 30 days of service and a $30 card for 60 days of service. Additionally, the Common Cents brand will round down unused parts of minutes instead of rounding up. However, subscribers forfeit any unused money at the end of a term.
Users can also add unlimited messaging for $20 per month and data access for $1/MB per day. Users can add to their monthly balances by buying refill cards or by registering a credit or debit card or PayPal account online at CommonCentsMobile.com. Sprint will also be offering several low-end handsets, including the LG101 for $19.77, the Samsung M340 for $39.77, and the Kyocera S2300 for $69.77.
In a recent interview with FierceWireless, Dan Schulman, the president of Sprint's prepaid business, said the Common Cents service is aimed at competitors such as TracFone and Net10. The brand is in the lower tier of Sprint's prepaid offerings, which also include the Assurance Wireless brand for low-income customers and the Boost Mobile brand for unlimited wireless service. Sprint this week relaunched its prepaid Virgin Mobile brand, which it acquired in November for $483 million, with a handful of new unlimited plans.
Sprint lost 578,000 postpaid subscribers in the first quarter, which was offset by 348,000 prepaid additions.
- see this release
- see this Bloomberg article
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