Common Cents Mobile rounds minutes down in pay-as-you-go plan

Great news for the roughly 35 million prepaid or pay-as-you-go cell phone users who are looking for cheap pay-as-you-go calling. Sprint and Walmart announced a new prepaid brand called Common Cents Mobile, which offers calls at 7 cents a minute with the usage rounding down. The new value oriented service is aimed at users who need a cell phone for safety or convenience, but don't want to waste money.

The straightforward, per minute pricing is competitive and welcome to the pay-as-you-go wireless market, but it's the Round Down minutes that set the Common Cents Mobile apart from prepay competitors.

"When you talk say for one minute and 46 seconds, most carriers round that up to two minutes when they are charging you by the minute, but we'll round it down to a minute." Neil Lindsay, CMO for Sprint Prepaid, told WalletPop in a phone interview, adding that the combination of a 7 cents a minute plan, 7 cents a text message and the Round Down feature make Common Cents a "very straightforward value."

Sprint and Walmart partnered on this new value oriented pay-as-you-go brand after observing what Lindsay described as a "neglected" or "abused" group of consumers, referring to most pay-by-the-minute offers which charge high per minute rates or "play all sorts of positioning games," which make it difficult to determine the actual per minute rate a user is paying.

Hopefully other pay-as-you-go providers will follow this example in simplifying pricing. Even as we tried to compare the cost per minute of Common Cents to other providers it became difficult thanks to per day charges, double point cards and other gimmicks that make actual comparison shopping difficult.

Common Cents launches with three basic phones; the LG101 priced at $19.77, the Samsung M340 at $39.77, and the QUERTY Kyocera S2300 for $69.77. Lindsay describe the phone selection as "intentionally basic and affordable" to match the needs of wireless users who want to make low cost pay-as-you-go phone calls.

The phones and cards go on sale at select Walmart stores across the country on May 15 and top up cards can be purchased for $20 for 30 days of service and up to 565 minutes of talk time and $30 for 60 days of service and up to 848 minutes of talk time.

There is also an option to purchase unlimited messaging at $20 for 30 days of service and 1 MB of data at $1 per MB per day, but the main focus of this pay-as-you-go option is on people who are looking for a simple cell phone solution and don't plan to use lots of data or send a large number of text messages.
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