Assurance Wireless Provides Cell Phones and Wireless Service to Aid Minnesota Residents Facing Economic Hardship

  Assurance Wireless Provides Cell Phones and Wireless Service to Aid
  Minnesota Residents Facing Economic Hardship

 As it becomes available in its 37th state, Assurance Wireless can help more
          than 540,000^1 eligible Minnesota residents stay connected

Business Wire

WARREN, N.J. -- January 10, 2013

Today, Assurance Wireless, which provides a wireless phone and 250 free voice
minutes and 250 free text messages to eligible residents, introduces its
services in Minnesota. Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program
supported by the federal Universal Service Fund and now offers the best value
in calling plans among major Lifeline Assistance programs.^2

More than 165,000^3 Minnesota residents are without a job, and more than 19^4
percent are living below the federal poverty line. Assurance Wireless gives
eligible customers the ability to provide a contact number and return calls to
a prospective employer, which can help improve the chances of securing
employment.

According to a nationwide survey from Assurance Wireless^5, adults with an
income of less than $25,000 are as likely to use their mobile phone for
employment searches as those with higher incomes. Data collected by Austin
Nichols, a senior researcher with the Chronicle for Higher Educations Urban
Institute, showed that the rate of graduates with doctoral degrees who have
filed for government assistance more than tripled between 2007 and 2010^6.
According to a report, “If all 28.5 million adults eligible for Lifeline
Assistance were to take advantage of the program and earn at the same rate and
level as [the study] sample, it would result in $3.7 billion in fresh income
for the poor and near poor.”^7

“As Assurance Wireless has been approved to offer service in more states, we
are proud to help more and more customers stay connected to potential
employers, medical and childcare providers,” said Grace Boehm, director of
strategy and business planning, Assurance Wireless. “We look forward to
providing this same type of assistance to eligible Minnesota residents who
need support and resources during what continue to be rough economic times for
many.”

“I was unemployed for an extended amount of time due to layoffs,” stated Evan
M., 37, an Assurance Wireless customer. “The phone and service I received from
Assurance Wireless were invaluable to my finding new employment and to my
efforts to recover from this recession.It allowed me to contact potential
employers and provide a way for them to respond to me, while also saving
money.Assurance also gave me peace of mind that I had a way to stay connected
to my kids while away from home.”

The Lifeline Assistance program is available for only one wireline or wireless
account per household. Enrollment in this government benefit program is
available to consumers who meet federal or state-specific eligibility
criteria. Minnesota residents may qualify for Assurance Wireless if they are
on certain public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8),
Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and National School Lunch’s Free
Lunch Program (NSL). Applicants may also qualify based on low income and must
provide proof of program participation or proof of income. Eligibility for
Assurance Wireless varies by state.

In addition to a voice mail account^8 and call waiting, Assurance Wireless
provides caller ID and access to 911 in case of emergency. Applicants are also
able to keep their current home or cell phone number. Beyond the 250 free
voice minutes and 250 text messages each month, customers can choose from
other options to pay for additional minutes, texting, international calling
and more at competitive rates.

Eligible residents can apply for Assurance Wireless by calling (toll-free)
800-395-2171 or visiting www.assurancewireless.com.

People who don’t qualify for Assurance Wireless but who are also struggling
and searching for value can take advantage of payLo by Virgin Mobile. payLo
was especially designed with value-conscious wireless consumers in mind,
offering plans for as little as $20/month for 400 minutes or access to 90 days
of service for $20 at a rate of less than $7 per month. payLo is available
retail stores nationwide, including Best Buy, RadioShack and Target.
Prospective low-income customers who find they are not eligible for Assurance
Wireless may learn more about Virgin Mobile’s no-contract payLo Plan options
by visiting
http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/paylo-plans/overview/.

Assurance Wireless is also available in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas,
Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. This list of states
continues to expand and can be found on the Assurance website.

About Assurance Wireless

Assurance Wireless from Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint’s no-contract brands,
is supported by the Lifeline Assistance program, part of the Low Income
Program of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF), which is administered by
the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Assurance Wireless
provides service on the Nationwide Sprint Network, which reaches more than 282
million people.

Follow Assurance news on Facebook www.facebook.com/assurancewireless or on
Twitter www.twitter.com/assurancecell and YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/assurancewireless.

Offer limited to eligible customers (varies by state) residing in selected
geographic areas and is non-transferrable. Assurance Wireless is subject to
the Terms of Service (includes plan details) found on
http://www.assurancewireless.com/Public/TermsandConditions.aspx.

Note: Sources for all information and statistics are available upon request.

^1 http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/29snapcurrpp.htm
^2 Based on published price plans as of 11/26/2012of major Lifeline carriers
with more than 1M subscribers who provide service in more than 20 states.
^3 http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.mn.htm
^4
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_1YR_S1701&prodType=table
^5 PKS Research Partners was commissioned by Sprint/Nextel (Assurance
Wireless) to conduct a research project among a nationally representative
sample of U.S. adults 25 years or older in order to determine their attitudes
toward and usage of mobile phones.
^6 http://chronicle.com/article/From-Graduate-School-to/131795/
^7 A study titled “Subsidized Cell Phones Provide Significant Economic Gains
for Poor and Near-Poor Americans” was published by the New Millennium Research
Council.
^8 Airtime charges apply when accessing voice mail via an Assurance Wireless
phone once free minutes have been depleted.

Contact:

Assurance Wireless
Jack Pflanz, 315-374-0693
Jack.Pflanz@Sprint.com
 
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