This is a great service, and one I’m surprised isn’t offered in the other 27 states. Virgin Mobile operates it as a sort of combination good deed/foot-in-the-door service; you get 250 free minutes and a phone if you qualify for stuff like food stamps, and if you need more, you can pay a small fee to add stuff on. They just announced they’re operational in Arkansas, so if you’re short on funds but still need a mobile, see if you qualify.
I applaud the no-strings-attached thing, but I also see that this makes sound business sense. The burden on the network of a bunch of 2G phones is negligible, the old handsets would never have made money, and it gives their new customers an incentive to stay with Virgin after they get back on their feet.
If I still worked in social service (did until a couple years ago), I would definitely recommend this to the people I worked with.
[via Mobile Burn]