SOURCE: Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA

January 21, 2010 10:00 ET

New Assurance Wireless Campaign Alerts Lower-Income Households in North Carolina to Free Wireless Service for Those Who Need It Most

WARREN, NJ--(Marketwire - January 21, 2010) - An awareness campaign using television and online media outlets in North Carolina launches this week about Assurance Wireless, a new cellphone service that makes wireless calling available at no cost to more than one million eligible lower-income households throughout North Carolina. Assurance Wireless, from Virgin Mobile USA, provides more free wireless minutes per month than other similar prepaid programs.

With more people needing assistance in this difficult economy, Assurance Wireless is providing additional relief to those who need it most. Qualifying Assurance Wireless customers(1) in North Carolina will be eligible to receive a free handset and 200 minutes of free wireless local and long-distance calling within the United States every month.

Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those eligible for or receiving Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps or SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8, Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), or the National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program. Customers may also qualify based on household income.(2)

"Most of us take cellphone service for granted. Mobile phones allow us to stay connected with friends, family and employers and provide critical support in case of emergency," said Dan Schulman, Sprint Prepaid Group President. "The government estimates that more than 190,000 additional households in North Carolina became eligible for income-based assistance programs like food stamps from 2008 to 2009. We are proud to offer this valuable service, particularly in these tough times, which disproportionately affect lower income customers."

Assurance Wireless provides customers with free voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, and access to 911 in case of emergency. Beyond the free 200 minutes, customers can choose to pay for additional 20-cent per minute domestic calling, international calling at competitive rates, 15-cent text, email or instant messages, mobile Web access, and more.(3)

Community organizations that wish to partner with Assurance Wireless in helping their constituents learn more about the free service should contact pr@virginmobileusa.com. Assurance Wireless and Virgin Mobile USA are part of the Sprint Prepaid Group.

About Assurance Wireless

To learn more about Assurance Wireless, including eligibility requirements, please call 1-888-898-4888, or visit www.assurancewireless.com. Information is available in English and Spanish.

Assurance Wireless 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), and designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income customers at reasonable and affordable rates.

About Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA, part of the new Prepaid group of Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S), offers millions of customers control, flexibility and connectivity through Virgin Mobile's Plans Without Annual Contracts for cell phone service and prepaid Broadband2Go high-speed Web access. Virgin Mobile USA also offers Pink Slip Protection,(4) which provides eligible monthly customers who lose their jobs free service for up to three months. Virgin Mobile Top-Up cards are available at almost 150,000 locations nationwide and can be used for Assurance Wireless and Broadband2Go. For more information, visit www.virginmobileusa.com.

(1) Eligibility varies by state.

(2) Customers can visit www.assurancewireless.com or call 1-888-898-4888 to learn more about eligibility requirements.

(3) When purchasing additional minutes or features, standard taxes and surcharges will apply.

(4) Subject to certain terms and conditions