According to the Employment Situation Summary released earlier this month from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, which means 13.3 million people are unemployed. In other words, a lot of people are clearly struggling.
Mobile carrier Sprint is hoping to help some of these people this holiday season through its Assurance Wireless program. The program provides a free cell phone and 250 minutes of free wireless service each month for eligible participants.
Although the qualifications for eligibility vary from state to state, the program is designed to help those involved in government-assisted programs or those with low-incomes.
Jack Pflanz, a spokesperson with Sprint, told WebProNews that the mobile carrier hopes the program will help those who are struggling reduce their costs and also communicate with potential employers in order to find jobs.
"So many people are out of work, and so many people are struggling to make ends meet," he said. "It's a way for us to be able to assist folks who are trying to find ways to save money and for folks that are trying to find work."
Assurance Wireless is part of the Universal Lifeline program, which is supported by the Universal Service Fund. Pflanz explained to us that each carrier is required to contribute but can create their own variation of a program.
At this point, Assurance Wireless is available in 31 states with the most recent addition of Kansas. However, Pflanz said the program hoped to expand further going forward.
For those who do not qualify for Assurance Wireless, Pflanz also told us about another option that could help people out. As he explained, payLo by Virgin Mobile is geared toward people who just need a simple phone for making phone calls and texting. This service offers rates as low as $0.20 per minute.
"What we're trying to do is provide quality, reliable phone service to those folks who are having a real hard time in this economy and can't necessarily afford phone service," said Pflanz.
He went on to say that Sprint expects both programs to grow and that it would continue to provide the very best service to its users.