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Jitterbug
Type Cell phone service provider
Genre Wireless
Founded 2006
Founder(s) Martin Cooper
Arlene Harris
Headquarters Del Mar, California,  United States
Products CDMA2000
Parent GreatCall, Inc. (Operates on the Verizon Network)
Website http://www.jitterbug.com/

Jitterbug Wireless, is an American mobile virtual network operator founded by Arlene Harris and Martin Cooper (considered the father inventor of mobile phones) in 2006 and based in Del Mar, California. The brand name “Jitterbug” refers to both the handsets and the wireless service the company provides. Jitterbug's trademark is a simplified mobile phone that is targeted at baby boomers and older Americans.

Contents

History

In the early 1990s Martin Cooper and Arlene Harris, along with Harris's parents and brothers, founded SOS Wireless, a company that provided senior citizens with a basic, oversized, three-button mobile telephone designed for emergency use. In 2004, Cooper and Harris brought their idea for a simple mass-market cellular phone to Samsung. Jitterbug officially launched as a joint venture on April 3, 2006.

Products and services

Jitterbug offers airtime on a month-to-month or prepaid basis.

Jitterbug currently offers three mobile phone models, all of which are clamshells. “The Jitterbug” and “The Jitterbug in Graphite” have large backlit buttons to make and receive calls. The “Jitterbug OneTouch” model is a simpler phone with three buttons programmed to contact an operator, a contact designated by the user, and 9-1-1 emergency services. All phones have speakers with increased volume levels, hearing aid compatibility and brighter screens with larger text than on most cell phones. Phones emit a dial tone when opened to simulate a landline phone's behavior. The menu system uses a question-based interface with keys labeled "YES" and "NO." They are now a Verizon MVNO.[1]

Jitterbug subscribers can reach a live operator 24 hours a day. Operators greet customers by name when they call and are trained to connect calls, provide directory assistance and make changes and updates to customer phone number contact lists. Calls to an operator deduct minutes from the customer's monthly allowance.

In May 2009, Samsung recalled some phones manufactured for Jitterbug that could not connect to 9-1-1 when in a no-service area.[2][3]

Awards

Jitterbug has received a number of industry awards, including the New York Times Top 10 Brilliant Ideas of 2006, Andrew Seybold’s 2007 Choice Wireless Technology Award for “Best New Company” in the cell phone industry, as well as a 2007 selection for the Reader’s Digest: America’s 100 Best.

Criticisms

Jitterbug is one of the most expensive prepaid plans on the market, both in terms of per-minute airtime cost, and minimum monthly cost (up to 13 times more expensive per month than T-Mobile prepaid, and 4 times as expensive as PagePlus, a Verizon mobile virtual network operator). Also, minutes expire after 60 days, rather than 365 or 120 for T-Mobile and PagePlus, respectively. [4] The phones themselves are also quite expensive, generally around $147, despite being ultra low-end models. There is also a $35 activation fee, which is unusual for a prepaid service.

References

External links

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