Sprint is offering a way for that person you met in a bar—or at a conference—to easily remember your number. Called StarStar Me, it's a $2 a month service that offers users vanity numbers for their cell phones.
For example, **MICHELLE could be dialed in place of my actual mobile number. Except, not really—that StarStar number is already taken. As of mid-afternoon Oct. 8, however, **HEIDIKLUM and **BEIBER were still available, along with a few other less common names, like Kendra.
You can check the availability of names at https://sprint.starstar.me.
"Sprint customers will be the first people to get StarStar Me," Kevin McGinnis, vice president of product and technology development at Sprint, said in an Oct. 8 statement. "We expect this service to be especially popular with professionals, students and family customers, who can tailor its use to their individual preferences, lifestyles and interests with a few simple clicks."
Small businesses, long-time users of wireline vanity numbers, could also go in for the service, which can be used on any Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile phone.
Users of the service may also be interested in a free app—currently available for Android phones and coming for the Apple iPhone—that lets them manage the service and customize it. They can automatically send a text message to callers when they can't pick up, block specific callers, view a call log, create unique ways to share links to their blogs or social media accounts, and manage multiple StarStar numbers (did I mention **JBEIBER is also still available?).
The same day as the StarStar news, Sprint introduced another solution, this one more specifically for business customers. From its Global Wholesale & Emerging Solutions division comes Mobile Broadband on Demand, a way for companies in verticals such as retail, hospitality or car rentals to act as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), extending mobile broadband services to their customers.
The MVNO can set up a branded Website on which they can dictate the available data plans, with the amount of data available or the number of days the plans can be used. Customers, who have the option of renting mobile devices such as hotspots, aircards and tablets, can also download a data-meter mobile app, to help them track their data use and receive alerts.
In the rental model, there are no device costs for the user and data can be shared by up to five devices.
In the purchase model, devices are sold to users through various venues, such as grocery stores or big-box chains, and retailers can tie their loyalty programs to them so that customers can earn points with usage.
“All over the world, Internet users continue to demand more data products and services,” Ben Vos, vice president of Wholesale Operations at Sprint, said in a statement. “We provide this turnkey mobile broadband solution to enable our MVNOs to easily extend their brand to the mobile data space while driving incremental revenue.”
Sprint, the nation's third-largest carrier, will announce the results of its fiscal third quarter Oct. 25.