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Assurance Wireless Adds Free Talk and Text Messaging to Lifeline Assistance

May 24, 2012

Assurance Wireless, a telecom service by Virgin Mobile (News - Alert) USA, announced the addition of free talk and text messaging features to its $5 cellphone plans for low-income residents in participating states.

Eligible residents can get a free cell phone and 250 free text messages and 250 minutes of free monthly voice service. The $5 Talk and Text Plan also offers a free cell phone plus 500 text messages and 500 voice minutes. Meanwhile customers can still enjoy the existing offer of 250 free minutes. 

Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund. The service is designed to ensure that low-income customers are able to enjoy quality telecommunications services.

Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Supplemental Security Income/SSI, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families/TANF, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program/LIHEAP, Section 8 Housing and The National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program (NSL). Customers may also qualify based on low household income. 

With the new free talk and text messaging offer, Assurance Wireless now offers the best value in calling plans among major Lifeline Assistance programs, according to company officials.

"During these tough economic times customers have to make difficult decisions about how to spend their money, but wireless communications have become a necessity for people for a variety of reasons," said Grace Boehm, director of strategy and business planning, Assurance Wireless, in a statement. "We want to help consumers by continuing to improve on the basic offer."

In addition to the free offer, Assurance Wireless also gives customers the option of obtaining 1,000 total voice minutes and 1,000 text messages for $20 per month. The service includes a Service Protector feature, which ensures that the basic 250 free minutes and texts are guaranteed each month a customer is eligible, even if a customer cannot pay the additional dollars during a particular month.

A recent nationwide survey by Assurance Wireless has found that 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. To help the unemployed youth, the service provider allows eligible customers to provide a contact number and return calls to a prospective employer which, studies show, can improve the chances of securing employment.  

In another related development recently payLo by Virgin Mobile announced a new Unlimited Talk and Text messaging plan valued at a flat $40 per month. Customers opting for the new $40/month Talk and Text plan will now be able to enjoy unlimited voice minutes and messages which include text, picture, e-mail and instant messaging, in addition to 50MB of Web access.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca
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