Feature Article

July 23, 2013

Provider Sets the Bar for Affordable Cellular Access

There was a time when a personal landline was a luxury, and then a time when having a cell phone was noteworthy. Now just about everybody has a cell phone—even poor children in Africa who live off $2 a day—and we’re almost to the moment in history where having a smartphone is a requirement of life.

There’s only one problem with this trend, however: Not all personal budgets are expanding to accommodate this new societal “necessity.” With consumers regularly paying $60 or more per month in the U.S. for cellular service, there’s room for a value play that gives consumers just what they need and nothing more.

That’s where ChitChat Mobile takes its cue.

The mobile provider, which has been in business for more than 15 years, is well aware that not all Americans can afford the pricey cellular plans even if having a cell phone is a necessity.

So ChitChat Mobile offers a range of no-frills plans that range in price from $9.99 per month for 250 minutes of talk time and unlimited text messaging to $19.99 per month for both unlimited talk and text.

“The response has been overwhelming. We’re the only program in the entire nation that has a $19.99 unlimited talk and text,” John A. Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of the company, told MobilityTechzone recently.

ChitChat uses the Sprint network for voice and data transmission, so the low prices do not translate into poor quality. The business just operates with low margins.

“We’re keeping our margins very low and going for high volume,” he told MobilityTechzone. “Nobody else can do that because they’ve already got in place a lot of heavy management with expensive salaries. We don’t.”

The company is not skipping the mobile broadband revolution, either; it offers a range of a la carte data plans that run from $5 per month for 100 MB of 4G data up to $50 per month extra for unlimited 4G LTE access. There are several plans in between, too, so consumers can buy only the data they need.

“It is your wireless your way,” noted Hennessy. “You build your own program. You don’t have to buy and pay for something that you’re not going to use.”

The company offers add-on services beyond data, too, including insurance and picture messaging.

One innovative program the company now offers is free support for consumers who are blind or visually impaired.

“We have a program called Chit-Chat Cares, which will assist the visually impaired and blind individuals in the United States,” James Gentry IV told MobilityTechzone, director of operations for ChitChat Mobile. It is an app for the visually impaired that had only been available on the iPhone. ChitChat Mobile helped get it on Android, and the company will install it for free on Android phones that use ChitChat.

With ChitChat Cares, the company really does highlight that it is all about bringing cellular access to consumers no matter their personal or financial situation.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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