Sprint today announced a new service that will allow customers to add animations and avatars to their voicemail messages. The service is available to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile USA customers with select Android handsets. The base service includes 12 free avatars and 12 free backgrounds that can be paired together in any combination along with voice effects in order to create unique animations. The avatars are lip-synced with the caller's voicemail (up to 20 seconds for free, up to two minutes with premium subscription). According to Sprint, the content library will be updated often, with new free and paid avatars and backgrounds appearing each week. Sprint customers can use their own voice, or an optional voice effect with variable pitch to make the message more fun. The avatar messages can be shared via voicemail, email, SMS, and even posted to Facebook. Further, messages can be sent to any user on any network, and can also be viewed on the web from desktops or tablets. Devices compatible with the service will receive an update to the visual voicemail application beginning this month. The initial list of compatible devices includes the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, and Note 2; the HTC EVO 4G LTE and HTC One. Sprint said more devices will be made compatible with the service over time.
Sprint today announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal, a mid-range handset that it will sell later this year. The Sharp Aquos features a nearly bezel-less design, with narrow edges running along the top and sides of the phone. The screen measures 5 inches and offers 720p HD resolution. The device offers a handful of software features developed by Sharp, including Clip Now, which takes screen shots with a swipe and makes them easily sharable via link. Speaktoit Assistant is a natural language assistant that can perform a number of tasks, such as answer questions, open apps, place calls, and send texts. The device comes with Harman Kardon Clari-Fi and LiveStage audio technologies for improved music reproduction, and Direct Wave Receiver technology, which uses the display panel to create sound for phone calls. The device runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and includes the usual suite of Google services, in addition to OfficeSuite for editing Microsoft documents. Other hardware features include a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. The Aquos supports microSD cards up to 128GB. The camera captures 8-megapixel still images and 1080p HD video. It also has a 1.2-megapixel camera for selfies. The Aquos will cost $240 at full retail, or $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $10 with Sprint. Sprint subsidiaries Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will also sell the device at the price of $150. Virgin and Boost do not require contracts.
HTC today expanded the availability of the Desire 816 and Desire 610 in the U.S. First, Virgin Mobile has committed to selling the Desire 816, which will be available beginning August 12 for $299. The 816 is an inexpensive phablet, which features a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen, plastic shell, and BoomSound speakers. Virgin Mobile does not require contracts. Second, HTC is making the Desire 816 and Desire 610 available to U.S. consumers directly via its web site. The 610 has a 4.7-inch screen and BoomSound speakers. The 610 is also available from AT&T's GoPhone prepaid brand for $200. Both devices run the latest version of Android and HTC Sense 6.0.
Virgin Mobile USA's Custom plans launched at Walmart stores today. The plans, which were announced last month, allow customers to add only the service they want and alter their service day-by-day if they need to in order to manage their expenses. Virgin Mobile Custom allows families to activate up to five lines on a single account starting at $6.98 per line. The Base plan includes 20 texts and 20 voice minutes per month. Customers can choose to add unlimited texting for $10 or unlimited voice for $18. The Unlimited talk and text plan costs $35 per month. Customers can also choose select add-ons, such as unlimited access to Facebook or music streaming, which can be added monthly at as needed. Virgin Mobile Custom plans are available to three devices, including the ZTE Emblem, the LG Pulse, and the LG Unify, at select Walmart stores.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced a new plan that gives customers more flexibility in managing their account. Virgin Mobile Custom is based on the ItsOn platform, which was used by Zact Mobile, a Sprint-based MVNO. ItsOn is what gives customers the power to change the features of their plans any time they want or need to. Virgin Mobile Custom allows families to activate up to five lines on a single account starting at $6.98 per line. The Base plan includes 20 texts and 20 voice minutes per month. Customers can choose to add unlimited texting for $10 or unlimited voice for $18. The Unlimited talk and text plan costs $35 per month. Customers can also choose select add-ons, such as unlimited access to Facebook or music streaming, which can be added on a recurring or non-recurring basis. These plans can be adjusted at any time during the month, even daily, directly from the customer's device. Customers can add or subtract the amount of voice, text or data they use with real-time price adjustments so customers know exactly what they'll be spending. Virgin Mobile Custom will be available on three devices at launch, including the ZTE Emblem, the LG Pulse, and the LG Unify
- ZTE Emblem: The ZTE Emblem is similar to the Savvy, which is being sold by TracFone. It has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz processor, and it runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. It costs $80
- LG Pulse: The LG Pulse is a U.S. variant of the L70, which was announced earlier this year. It has a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz processor, LG's QSlide and QuickMemo apps, and it runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It costs $100.
- LG Unify: The LG Unify is a variant of the Optimus F3, which is already being sold by Virgin Mobile. It has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and LG's VuTalk and Q-Translator apps. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and costs $130.
Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA subscribers will soon have access to PlayPhone's socially-connected gaming portal, says PlayPhone. The platform will allow Boost and Virgin subscribers to find and play mobile games with their online friends, and share scores and achievements across various social networks. Boost and Virgin's prepaid subscribers will be able to make in-game purchases through their account, rather than with credit cards. Purchases will be billed directly to their wireless plan. The platform will be available later this summer, though Boost and Virgin declined to say exactly when it will launch and which devices will support it. Verizon adopted PlayPhone's platform earlier this year.
Zact Mobile, an MVNO that resold access to Sprint's network, plans to shut down at the end of August. Zact launched in 2013 and was notable because it allowed customers to adjust their voice minutes, messaging, and data allotments on the fly to suit their needs. The company stopped signing up new customers on July 4. Customers can keep their device and transition to Sprint if they want, or walk away free and clear. Zact is not going to reimburse customers for their devices. Zact uses a platform called ItsOn. Sprint recently adopted ItsOn and plans to launch a new prepaid service in the coming months that will offer flexibility similar to Zact's. Sprint did not say exactly when the new service will launch, nor what it will be called. Sprint already operates several prepaid brands, including Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.
Paylo, the low-cost provider run by Virgin Mobile USA, today announced a pair of unlimited plans that cost $20 per month. The plans are meant for basic phones, not smartphones. The first offers unlimited voice minutes and 50 messages for $20 per month, while the second offers unlimited messaging and 50 voice minutes. In addition to the two $20 plans, Walmart customers can also choose the existing $30 talk and text plan or the $40 unlimited plan. The new $20 plans will be available beginning June 21.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced a limited-time offer that drops the price of its entry-level smartphone plan to $25 per month. The Unlimited Talk and Text plan is available to select Android smartphones, including the LG Volt, LG Optimus F3, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, and several others. The plan provides unlimited domestic voice minutes and domestic messaging, but no data. Virgin says the devices all include Wi-Fi and can access data through hotspots. The idea is to give customers many of the benefits smartphones offer without the associated monthly cost. The plan is available to new customers only through September 2. Virgin is also offering a $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot plan that allows select handsets to act as mobile hotspots for up to five devices. The plan provides 250MB of data access and is compatible with the HTC Desire and EVO V 4G, iPhone 4s/5/5s, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, LG Volt, and Samsung Galaxy S5. Customers need to subscribe to Virgin's Beyond Talk monthly plan in order to use the $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot feature.
Virgin Mobile USA's low-cost arm, payLo, today added the Kyocera Contact (sold as the Verve by Sprint) to its prepaid roster. The device costs $40 online and can be used with payLo's $40 monthly plans. The Contact is a simple messaging phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
Both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA today announced the immediate availability of the LG Volt (also known as the LG F90). LG announced the Volt earlier this year. It features a 4.7-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel main camera, 1.3-megapixel front camera, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, NFC, removable 3,000 mAh battery, tri-band LTE (Sprint Spark), IR remote control, and a memory card slot. The Volt runs Android 4.4 KitKat and has LG software such as QSlide, Knock Code, and Smart screen. The phone is available online and in stores beginning today for $179.99. The Boost model is blue, while the Virgin model is white.
Beginning in June, Sprint will slow down the browsing speeds available to the top 5% of its customers in congested regions. The change applies to Sprint's post- and pre-paid customers. Some customers have already received text messages explaining the change. Sprint explained the change will affect the top consumers of mobile data, but only when they are in a congested area. This change "will enable us to provide more customers with a high quality data experience during heavy usage times," said Sprint in a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech. "Once the customer is no longer connected to a congested cell site, or the site is no longer congested, speeds will return to normal." Sprint has long marketed "unlimited data" as a way to differentiate itself from its competitors, all of which sell data but the bucket. Sprint's pre-paid arms, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, have long throttled customers who exceed certain usage amounts. This marks the first time Sprint will throttle its own-branded customers. According to Sprint, it developed "fairness algorithms" on both its CDMA and LTE networks to "dynamically allocate available bandwidth in a way that is fair to all users." Sprint further noted that the change isn't being implemented due to sudden spikes in traffic, but instead reflects a continuing increase in usage.
Sprint and Virgin Mobile USA today announced the pending availability of the Hydro Vibe, a new water-resistant Android smartphone from Kyocera. The phone can withstand a 30-minute bath in waters up to 1 meter deep and has a break-resistant 4.5-inch qHD screen. The device is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The Vibe includes an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash and HDR/panorama shooting mode, and has a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. The Vibe offers some Kyocera-specific features, including its Smart Sonic Receiver audio technology and Eco-Mode and MaxiMZR power-management apps. The Hydro Vibe also offers NFC, wireless charging, 8GB of internal storage, and support for memory cards up to 32GB. The Kydro Vibe is compatible with Sprint Spark in markets where available. Sprint will begin selling the Kyocera Hydro Vibe May 9 for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $9.59. Virgin Mobile USA will begin selling the Vibe May 27 for $150.
Sprint recently indicated via its support site that it will devise a way to unlock its phones by February 2015. According to Sprint, none of the SIM-equipped phones it has sold during the past three years - including Apple's iPhones - can be unlocked for use on competing networks. The company said it will unlock the SIM card slot of devices that have one, but this will only apply to devices launched after February 2015. Sprint said phones purchased through its subsidiaries Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Assurance Wireless will not be compatible with Sprint's network, even if unlocked. Further, customers need to meet certain criteria in order to be given the unlock code. For example, the phone must be paid for and no longer attached to a contract. The change in Sprint's policy is a voluntary action, though the Federal Communications Commission threatened all network operators with regulation if they failed to act on their own. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all have to implement their own unlocking policies, too, but have yet to announce the details thereof.
Kyocera announced the Verve today, which will be sold by both Sprint and Boost Mobile. The Verve is a feature phone that has a traditional number pad on the front and slides sideways to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard underneath. Some of the hardware features include a 2.4-inch display, 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1, speakerphone, and a stereo headset jack. The feature phone operating system is ideal for heavy texters, according to Sprint. The phone is limited to CDMA 1X-Advanced and does not support LTE. Sprint is offering the Kyocera Verve for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $5.42. Sprint's Framily plans start at $55 per month for the Verve. The Sprint model can be ordered online and via telesales beginning April 11. Boost Mobile will sell the Verve for $50 and offers no-contract plans starting at $50 per month. It will reach Boost stores May 6. Sprint said that the Verve will also be sold by Virgin Mobile's payLo brand, beginning May 13, as the Kyocera Contact. It will cost $40 from payLo.
Ciao, an MVNO that resells Sprint service, kicked off today with low-cost, no-contract plans. Ciao is offering monthly service options that fall in line with other Sprint prepaid properties, such as Virgin Mobile USA and Boost Mobile. The entry-level plan costs $35 per month and includes unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text messaging, and unlimited MMS. The mid-tier plan costs $45 per month and adds 500MB of data. The top-tier plan costs $60 per month and boosts the monthly data allotment to unlimited. Ciao will soon, however, offer an unlimited smartphone plan that costs just $10 per month. The catch is that Ciao will install an app that displays advertisements on the lock screen. Ciao sells a single phone, the HTC EVO, for $199. Ciao Mobile is owned and operated by Ciao Telecom, which is based in Dallas.
Boost Mobile announced the LG Optimus F3 is available beginning today for $129.99. The F3 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and has a 4-inch IPS LCD screen with Gorilla Glass; a 1.2GHz dual-core processor; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE 4G; and a 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. It comes with LG apps such as VuTalk, QSlide, QuickMemo, and Q Translator. Sprint and Virgin Mobile have been selling the F3 since last summer. Boost Mobile says LTE plans compatible with the F3 start at $55 per month. Boost does not require contracts.
Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile have begun informing customers that they'll soon further restrict the data speeds of those who exceed 2.5GB of combined 3G/4G data during a single billing period. Neither Boost nor Virgin have data caps, but they have throttled data hogs' speeds to less than 256Kbps since May 2012. Customers can continue to use their data service without being charged extra, but will do so at slower speeds. Beginning May 16 of this year, however, those who use more than 2.5GB of data will see speeds reduced to 128Kbps. Sprint representatives confirmed to Phone Scoop that customers can top up to re-start their month if they need access to faster data. If they don't, 3G/4G speeds will become available once the customer's billing period ends. "This change comes about because of the enormous data usage driven by the increasingly sophisticated smartphones we make available, and the more extensive uses customers are finding for these devices," said Sprint in an email. "We want to be able to serve customers who use our unlimited plans for their daily activity -- email, surfing the Web, social networking, photo uploading, location-based apps, etc. Our goal is to ensure our products perform at the best possible level and that we have the best possible experience for all subscribers."
Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA today both announced plans to sell the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Both companies, which are owned and operated by Sprint, said the GS5 will be compatible with Sprint's Spark LTE service. Pricing was not discussed, but the prepaid carriers said the GS5 will arrive during the second quarter with contract-free, flexible service options.
Sprint today announced a new type of multi-line plan that allows customers to combine accounts even if they are not family members. The basic service costs $55 per month for one line with unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data. Each device added costs $5 less than the one before it, so a second device would cost $50, a third would cost $45, a fourth would cost $40, and so on. Sprint says each individual line can be customized to suit that person's needs. For an additional $20 per month, Framily Plan subscribers can get unlimited data and upgrade to a new phone once every 12 months. The new Sprint Framily Plan goes into effect January 10. Additionally, Sprint named the next set of markets in which it will offer Sprint Spark. They include Dallas, Austin, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Lauderdale. Last, Sprint said that Sprint Spark will be available to Virgin Mobile customers who own the Netgear Mingle Hotspot.
Ting, an MVNO that runs on Sprint's network, says it is the first to offer devices compatible with Sprint's Spark service. Sprint Spark relies on tri-band LTE devices to boost mobile broadband speeds on its data network. Spark is only available in five markets right now, but will expand to about 100 by the end of 2014. According to Ting, its variants of the Samsung Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S4 Mini, and LG G2 are all able to interact with Spark. Ting CEO Scott Allen told Fierce Wireless that Sprint's willingness to allow its MVNO customers to offer Spark demonstrates "Sprint's commitment to wholesale and their good faith as partner." Other providers that use Sprint's network, such as Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, have yet to claim that they offer Spark-compatible devices.
Virgin Mobile today announced the availability of the HTC Desire. The Desire includes features first seen on the HTC One, such as Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Sense 5.0, BlinkFeed, and HTC Zoes. The Desire has a 4.5-inch qHD display; 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM; 5-megapixel camera with back-side illumination and 1080p HD video capture; dual front speakers with BoomSound; and an embedded 2200mAh battery. It also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and support for microSD cards up to 64GB. The Desire (known in some markets as the Desire 601) can be purchased today for $279. Virgin Mobile does not require contracts.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site provide details about a previously unannounced handset from Samsung. The SPH-L500 is a slab-style smartphone that runs Google's Android operating system and looks similar to some of Samsung's Galaxy-branded phones. The FCC confirms that it has rear and front cameras, NFC, and a memory card slot. Based on the spectrum support and draft user manual, the Samsung L500 will eventually be sold by Virgin Mobile. Neither Samsung nor Virgin has officially announced this device.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced that it will offer the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c online and in stores beginning October 1. The new iPhones will be sold at full retail price without a contract.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced Virgin Mobile Buyback, an effort that will reward customers who choose to recycle their old phones. Virgin Mobile Buyback offers new and existing customers credits (in dollar amounts) that can be used to purchase a new device or pay for service if they turn in an old device. Customers can use Virgin's web site to get a quote for how much their device is worth, though Virgin also published a list of hundreds of devices and the amount of credit it will reward for them. Credit amounts range from just $5 for some old feature phones to more than $300 for newer iPhones. According to Virgin, most phones that are turned in will be reused. Those that cannot be reconditioned will be recycled responsibly. Virgin Mobile Buyback is available to any Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk, Paylo, or Assurance plan and does not incur any additional fees.
Virgin Mobile today announced the ZTE Supreme, an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean smartphone that features a large, 5-inch 720p HD LCD display that is protected by break-resistant glass. It is also known as the Vital for Sprint. The Supreme has a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 13-megapixel camera with HD video capture, and a 2,500mAh battery that provides 15 hours of talk time. Other features include support for Virgin's 3G/4G networks, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0; 8GB of internal storage with support for microSD cards up to 64GB; and Virgin Mobile iD packs. The device is preloaded with EA Mobile's Real Racing 3. The Supreme is available only from Virgin Mobile's web site. It costs $299.99 and does not require a contract. Service plans start at $35 per month.
Virgin Mobile today announced the availability of the ZTE N800 Awe. The Awe is a simple Android 4.1 Jelly Bean smartphone that features a 4-inch WVGA display, 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. The ZTE is powered by a 1,650mAh battery and supports microSD cards up to 32GB. The Awe is limited to 3G mobile broadband speeds and does not support LTE. The ZTE Awe is available online and in select stores for $99.99. Virgin Mobile does not require contracts. Service plans start as low as $35 per month.
Virgin Mobile today announced the Reef, the company's first water-resistant smartphone. The Reef, which is made by ZTE, is certified IPX7, which means it is protected for up to 30 minutes in up to 3 feet of water. The phone has a 4.0 touch display, 1 GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and a 1-megapixel user-facing camera. The device runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and includes Virgin Mobile's ID packs. It runs on Virgin's 3G network and includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Reef costs $149.99 and does not require a contract.
Virgin Mobile USA announced that the LG Optimus F3 is available beginning today for $179.99. The F3 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and has a 4-inch IPS LCD screen with Gorilla Glass; a 1.2GHz dual-core processor; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE 4G; and a 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. It comes with LG apps such as VuTalk, QSlide, QuickMemo, and Q Translator. Sprint has been selling the F3 since last month, though under contract. Virgin Mobile does not require contracts.
Virgin Mobile today announced that it will sell the Apple iPhone 5 beginning June 28. Virgin will offer the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models for $549, $649, $749, respectively. All models will be available in both black and white. The iPhone can be paired with one of Virgin's Beyond Talk plans, which start at $35 per month, though the price will drop to $30 per month if customers sign up for automatic payments. The 16GB model will be available online and in Virgin Mobile and RadioShack retail stores. The 32GB and 64GB versions will only be available online.
Assurance Wireless today announced that qualifying residents in the state of Nevada now have access to Assurance's products and services. Assurance Wireless provides a free cell phone and 250 monthly voice minutes to low-income families. Assurance also offers low-cost plans. For $5 per month, Assurance customers can double their monthly minutes to 500, and for $20, increase voice minutes to 1000 and add in 1000 text messages. Customers will still have access to their 250 free minutes even if they can't pay for the extra minutes. Assurance also offers pay-by-use voice minutes, text/email messages, and international calling. Nevada marks the 41st state in which Assurance now operates. Assurance is run by Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint.
Virgin Mobile today announced that the Samsung Galaxy Ring is now available for $179.99. The Ring features a 4.0-inch touch display, 5-megapixel main camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture, 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera, and a 1.4GHz processor. The Ring runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is compatible with Virgin iD packs. Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, Wi-Fi, and support for Virgin's CDMA 3G network. It is compatible with microSD cards up to 64GB and has a 1,750mAh battery. The device is for sale online and in stores beginning today.
Sprint today announced that its prepaid brands Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will both offer the Samsung Galaxy S III beginning in June. The GSIII will include support for Sprint's LTE 4G network. Pricing and exact availability was not shared.
Boost Mobile today launched the Kyocera Coast, a basic clamshell-style phone with a 2-megapixel camera and external display. The phone sports Bluetooth and voice dialing, but without LTE, video capture, or even a memory card slot, "affordable" is its most important feature. It is available today for $30, no contract required. In Kyocera's lineup, the Coast is most similar to the older Luno offered by Virgin as the S2100. Compared to the Luno, the Coast has a better camera and larger displays.
Assurance Wireless today announced that qualifying residents in the state of Missouri now have access to Assurance's products and services. Assurance Wireless provides a free cell phone and 250 monthly voice minutes to low-income families. Assurance also offers low-cost plans. For $5 per month, Assurance customers can double their monthly minutes to 500, and for $20, increase voice minutes to 1000 and add in 1000 text messages. Customers will still have access to their 250 free minutes even if they can't pay for the extra minutes. Assurance also offers pay-by-use voice minutes, text/email messages, and international calling. Missouri marks the 40th state in which Assurance now operates. Assurance is run by Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint.
Assurance Wireless today announced that its service is now available to Californians for the first time, but it is only being marketed in the San Francisco metropolitan area. According to Assurance, it is using San Francisco as a test market to get the service up and running, mainly because the process for qualifying citizens for the program in California is dramatically different than what it is in other states. Though Assurance's marketing efforts will be limited to the San Francisco metropolitan area, the company said it will process applications submitted from residents in other parts of the state. Assurance Wireless provides a free cell phone and 250 monthly voice minutes to low-income families. Assurance also offers low-cost plans. For $5 per month, Assurance customers can double their monthly minutes to 500, and for $20, increase voice minutes to 1000 and add in 1000 text messages. Customers will still have access to their 250 free minutes even if they can't pay for the extra minutes. Assurance also offers pay-by-use voice minutes, text/email messages and international calling. California marks the 39th state in which Assurance now operates. Assurance is run by Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint.
Sprint today announced the first LTE 4G phones for its prepaid brands, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile. Boost will get the all-new Force, made by ZTE, as well as the HTC One SV, already offered by MetroPCS. Virgin, meanwhile, will get the Samsung Galaxy Victory, already offered under the Sprint brand. Both brands have previously only offered 4G phones that use Sprint's older WiMAX network. Sprint is committed to continuing WiMAX service through 2015, but eventually plans to phase it out in favor of LTE. The Force sports a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, front camera, and 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. Boost will offer the Force on March 7th for $200, and the One SV on the same day for $300. Virgin starts selling the Victory today for $300.
Virgin Mobile USA today announced the Kyocera Event, a compact Android smartphone that sells for $79.99. The Event features a 3.5-inch HVGA display, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and a 3.2-megapixel camera with flash and video capture. The device runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and offers Virgin Mobile ID packs, an eco mode for energy savings, and Swype text input. The Event also includes Wi-Fi, GPS, and 3G, as well as 4GB of on-board storage and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. It is available in black beginning today, and will be available in red starting March 3.
Assurance Wireless today announced that qualifying residents in the state of Arizona now have access to Assurance's products and services. Assurance Wireless provides a free cell phone and 250 monthly voice minutes to low-income families. Assurance also offers low-cost plans. For $5 per month, Assurance customers can double their monthly minutes to 500, and for $20, increase voice minutes to 1000 and add in 1000 text messages. Customers will still have access to their 250 free minutes even if they can't pay for the extra minutes. Assurance also offers pay-by-use voice minutes, text/email messages and international calling. Arizona marks the 38th state in which Assurance now operates. Assurance is run by Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint.
Virgin Mobile and C Spire Wireless are both testing handset financing plans, reports Fierce Wireless. According to Virgin Mobile rep Jayne Wallace, Virgin is testing a financing option in just one market, and the trial will end in the coming weeks. Wallace said the company has no immediate plans to expand or continue the trial. C Spire Wireless is also testing a phone payment plan, but its trials are more widespread and will last longer. "We're in the early stages of the trial program and are still analyzing data and results," said C Spire representative Dave Miller. "BillFloat fills a need, primarily in the advance pay market, by providing a quick, easy and convenient way for consumers in our footprint to own a smartphone with payment terms that fit their budget." Prepaid carriers generally charge full retail price for their handsets. In order to compete with national post-paid carriers, however, they've begun to offer premium devices such as the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note II. Handsets such as these often command prices in excess of $500 or $600. Many prepaid customers cannot afford to pay the full retail price of those devices, so financing plans are an enticing option to potential Virgin and C Spire customers.