7-Eleven, that boosts more than 24,000 convenience stores, teamed up with US telecommunications company Verizon to offer a Prepaid Phone Card Program. Because no service contract has to be signed, the program should be popular with teenagers, international travelers in the U.S, but also customers without sufficient credit histories–20 to 25 % of the U.S. population.
Virgin Mobile USA successfully pioneered the concept two years ago. The company bought airtime and phones from U.S. carrier Sprint, then stocked its stores with cheap phones that came preloaded with a certain number of minutes. Virgin didn’t require any contract either.
Several major US retailers (such as Wal-Mart Stores) are expected to propose mobile phone services under their own brands in the coming year.