02:06 PM

Virgin Mobile Intros Pink Slip Protection Plan

The prepaid carrier is offering a $50 unlimited plan and a program that will waive up to three months of charges if a user becomes unemployed.

Virgin Mobile is offering a program aimed at helping subscribers who become unemployed.

The "Pink Slip Protection" plan is similar to offers being presented by some car manufacturers, and it will waive up to three months of charges if a subscriber loses his or her job.

"With the unemployment rate rising, the fear of job loss or salary reductions have made consumers watch every dollar," said Dan Schulman, Virgin Mobile's CEO, in a statement. "These issues tend to impact our prepaid base more than many wireless users, so we hope this program can offer some peace of mind to our customers."

The company is a mobile virtual network operator that resells Sprint's airtime, and it was able to negotiate better network rates that it will be passing on to the customers. Virgin Mobile will offer an unlimited voice plan for $50 a month starting April 15, and users who sign up for this plan will be automatically enrolled in the pink-slip plan.

As the economy continues to slide, consumers are looking to trim their monthly cell phone bills and may turn to prepaid wireless providers. Companies like MetroPCS, Cricket, Virgin Mobile, and Boost Mobile are seeing a marked increase in the number of new subscribers.

This increased competition is leading to lower prices for consumers. Boost Mobile recently introduced a $50 monthly plan that includes unlimited voice, data, text, push-to-talk, and wireless Web. The larger carriers also are feeling this pricing pressure, and T-Mobile is rewarding long-term subscribers with an unlimited voice plan.

Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).

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