Dude, Where's My Phone?

Virgin and BeVocal find the lowest common denominator for the teen wireless market

July 4, 2002

1 Min Read
Dude, Where's My Phone?

We now have the measure of Virgin Mobile USA LLC's new youth-orientated service, thanks to a demonstration from partner BeVocal Inc.

The ever fashionable Richard Branson and co. are going for the kind of demographic that thinks Dude, Where's My Car? is, like, the best movie ever [ed. note: so the rest of the Unstrung crew has signed up then!].

For instance, BeVocal has set up a number of voice-enabled services -- called Virgin Xtras -- that subscribers can dial, such as "Rescue Ring" or "Whacky Noises."

Whacky Noises lets you send noises to a friend! The noise BeVocal played us sounded like a camel farting underwater [ed. note: And you know this how, exactly?)

Meanwhile, Rescue Ring is a service designed to help people escape from boring dates or family gatherings. You dial the service and it tells you what to say to get out of the situation. Then you repeat after your disembodied conspirator: "How did you get a goat in your car in the first place? I'll be right over."

For its basic voice service, Virgin is charging 25 cents a minute for the first 10 minutes, then 10 cents a minute after that. Presumably its network partner Sprint PCS also sees a portion of this revenue.

Clearly, it’s the services, not the technology, that drive wireless revenues, and Virgin is making an effort to capture an under-represented market in the U.S. It'll be interesting to see if the company has got the mix right.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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