Sprint to Offer Common Cents Mobile Prepaid Plan Via Wal-Mart
Wireless carrier Sprint will begin selling a contract-free mobile
phone plan through retailer Wal-Mart beginning May 15, according to a
report from Bloomberg.
Called Common Cents Mobile, the plan, based on prepaid cards, will roll out in 700 Wal-Mart locations. Customers will have the option of 30 days of service for $20 or 60 days of service for $30. Each text and full minute of charge time will deduct 7 cents from the total of the card. According to Bloomberg, partial minutes will not be rounded up - some nice news for customers - though whatever dollar amount is left on the card when it expires will be forfeited by the user.
"Prepaid has definitely gone more mainstream," Bob Stohrer, Sprint's marketing vice president, told Bloomberg. "You still have a lot of people out there who are looking to be on a service that only charges them for the minutes they use."
Prepaid plans can be particularly appealing to consumers with an eye on a budget. While in the first quarter of 2010 Sprint lost 578,000 contract-based customers - which was fewer than in the previous quarter - it gained 348,000 prepaid customers.
Recognizing the growing prepaid market, Sprint purchased Virgin Mobile for $483 million in July 2009. "Prepaid is growing at an unprecedented rate with consumers keenly focused on value. Virgin Mobile is an iconic brand in the marketplace that will complement our Boost Mobile brand," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement at the time.
In March, Sprint also rolled out Sprint Mobile Broadband on Demand, a prepaid way to offer broadband services.
This month, through Virgin Mobile, Sprint will also begin offering three new prepaid plans: 300 minutes of talk time with unlimited texting for $25; 1,200 minutes for $40; and unlimited minutes for $60.
According to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart may also begin offering a mobile calling plan for families later in 2010.
During Sprint's first-quarter earnings call, he executives stated that they expect both post-pad and total subscriber losses to improve in 2010. "Our ongoing focus on improving the customer experience, generating cash and strengthening the brand continues to pay off," said Hesse.
For its fiscal first quarter of 2010, Sprint posted a loss of $865 million. Wal-Mart, however, posted fiscal year 2010 net sales of $405 billion.