Wireless carrier T-Mobile, one of three local companies chosen by the Federal Communications Commission to increase broadband adoption and retention among low-income consumers, has announced the start of its subsidized mobile Internet access pilot program, through which it expects to benefit some 3,000 Puerto Rico residents.
Through the FCC’s “Broadband Adoption Lifeline Pilot Program” T-Mobile is eligible to get up to $505,400 back from the agency to expand broadband penetration in Puerto Rico and offer the service to unserved populations.
The carrier will sign up customers for its broadband Lifeline service offerings over a three-month period and then will provide discounted service for a period of up to 12 months, provided the customer remains eligible for Lifeline service.
To qualify, participants must be enrolled in and be benefiting from Medicaid, Nutritional Assistance (PAN, for its initials in Spanish), energy subsidies, Section 8, TANF, public school lunchroom program or live under poverty levels, as established by federal guidelines.
Through the program, participants will receive a free T-Mobile Prism smartphone, which comes with unlimited Internet and 300 minutes of outgoing calls (incoming calls are free). They can also opt for a T-Mobile Springboard tablet at a cost of $99.99 and a free T-Mobile HotSpot ZTE MFG1 device, when signing up for an unlimited Internet monthly plan.
T-Mobile is offering other plans that adjust to the needs of client opting for additional minutes or other benefits.
T-Mobile is one of three telecommunications companies serving the island, along with Claro and Open Mobile that the FCC included in a group of 14 providers to participate in the pilot program announced in December 2012, as this media outlet reported exclusively.
Claro unveiled its program in April, while Open Mobile has yet to disclose its strategy.
T-Mobile’s pilot program is coupled with an advertising campaign featuring local motivator, educator and farmer Douglas Candelario as spokesman.