There's nothing fun about losing a job, and worries about paying those hefty mobile phone bills just adds insult to injury. Virgin Mobile knows. Virgin Mobile cares. How much? Apparently, a lot ? If you?re a customer, it's willing to cover your cell bills if you get laid off.
This is not a slight discount or an incremental payment plan ? the pre-paid cellular company will pay the full cost of your service for three months, taxes and all, under its new Pink Slip Protection Plan, which starts April 15.
Here's how it works: New Virgin customers who choose plans priced at $29.99 or more get the Pink Slip plan immediately, but aren't eligible for benefits until they've satisfied two months of paid service. Existing customers don't have to wait two months, but need to sign up before the June 30th cut-off date. To activate the plan, Virgin Mobile requires proof of state-unemployment-benefits eligibility. (You didn't think they?d take your word for it, did you?)
According to Ad Age, the reason for this near startling display of empathy is simple: Virgin Mobile knows its target audience of pay-as-you-go mobile phone users are particularly vulnerable in this swirling vortex called the U.S. economy. So it's possible that the company devised this offering to provide some relief in the down times.
More likely, though, it's banking on a scheme that a little sympathy can pay off a lot in the end. Times are tough and before it's over, there will probably be plenty of consumers who will terminate or switch cell services to make ends meet.
If you believe the report I posted previously about consumers flocking to pre-paid phones to save money during the recession, then this theory could very well bear out. And Virgin Mobile is poised to do well in a climate that could hurt or even topple the other ?A? list carriers. Let's face it ? When you?re freaked out about money and worried about job hunting, pay-as-you-go starts looking pretty darn good.
In other Virgin Mobile news, the company's also rolling out a $49.99 unlimited plan next week to compete against a similar one launched by Sprint's Boost Mobile, its rival on the pre-paid playing field.
Now, let's hope the ?post-pay? carriers take a cue from the pre-paid companies, and reconsider some of their pricing options. (Yeah, I?m talking about you, AT&T.)
(Correction: The original post showed an Ocean2, by Virgin Mobile's Helio brand. Sadly, a representative from Helio confirmed that Ocean2 is not eligible for the Pink Slip Protection Plan, nor is it a pre-pay phone. Thanks to elementsk8tr3619 for pointing that out!)