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NEWS

Your Smartphone or Your Health?

Smartphones already stopped being a luxury long ago and became a necessity for participating in today’s economy. Sparrow is bridging the digital divide to create a more inclusive world for everyone.

In the News: Smartphones are a Lifeline for Homeless People

Mobile for All featured by The Guardian The Guardian newspaper in the UK recently covered Mobile for All’s homeless program. Here’s what Mobile for All program manager, Allan Baez, had to say: “Smartphones are incomparable tools for connecting people who are isolated, and empowering homeless and extreme-low-income individuals to access life-changing services and gain self-sufficiency,” says Baez. Read the full article...

Bring Your Apple Device (BYAD) to Sparrow

Today, people are flocking to Apple.com and Apple stores to pre-order the new iPhone. And today marks an exciting day for consumer freedom. Thanks to the new Apple No-SIM option, now anyone can purchase an iPhone or iPad directly from Apple, and activate it with the carrier of their choice. BYAD means you can get the iPhone of your dreams, activate with Sparrow and sponsor a device or service for someone in need Instead of picking one of the big 4 carriers, you can choose the “No SIM” option at Apple checkout, and then activate your device with Sparrow. For every new Sparrow customer we connect, a device or service is donated to someone in need. Reusing is great for the environment and for your pocketbook ALSO, Apple’s announcement means there will be volumes of previous iPhone models coming onto the refurbished market. Why do we like this? Because re-using is great for the environment, and consumers will have access to more affordable (and still fabulous) devices. The more refurbished devices that get used, the less e-waste and landfill.   Call Sparrow at 844-846-1653 to make sure the iPhone of your choice is compatible with our network, and to order your Sparrow SIM.    ...

Hello, Sparrow!

We are delighted to announce the hatch of Sparrow Until now, we have been in beta as BetterWorld Wireless. Even though our name has changed, our mission to bridge the divide and connect the power of people and mobile for a better world remains. So in that sense, “better world” will always be part of our DNA. Why the name change from BetterWorld Wireless to Sparrow? Glad you asked! We created Sparrow as a short and memorable brand that captures the spirit and mission of our company. Sparrows are one of the most common birds in the world. They are everywhere. Our goal is to make the transformative power of mobile just as common as the sparrow. In addition, the Latin word ‘spero’ means hope. So, when you say “Sparrow” you are also spreading hope. Bridging the Divide One Smartphone at a Time  Through Sparrow’s buy-one-give-one model, we are bridging the digital divide and connecting people across the globe. When you switch to Sparrow mobile service, a mobile phone or device is donated to someone in need. Sponsored by You. Thanks to our amazing beta customers, we are already making an impact! Children in Kenya are learning to read, girls across the U.S. are learning mobile app coding, women small business owners in Asia are receiving entrepreneur mentoring, and homeless individuals in California are getting smartphones and service to help get them back on their feet. Together, during our beta, we bridged the divide for over 1,200 people. We are just getting started! Three Ways to Support the Mobile for All Movement Like Sparrow on Facebook and follow Sparrow on Twitter Share Sparrow with friends! Become...

In the News: New York Times Features Mobile4All

  The New York Times spotlighted Mobile4All, a program launched in partnership with Community Technology Alliance (CTA) and Sparrow to serve homeless and extreme low income (ELI) people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hats off to our partners at CTA! Read the article on...

BYOD: What, Why, and How

BYOD = Bring Your Own Device In 2014, Congress passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, allowing Americans to purchase unlocked phones. This means you can purchase an unlocked mobile device, from any legitimate source, and as long as it is an inactive Sprint-compatible phone, you can activate the device with Sparrow. We keep a database of eligible devices, so give us a call or email wecare(at)sparrow.upsourcemobileservices.com for the latest list. Good for Consumers, Great for the Environment We love BYOD because it’s good for consumers—you are no longer limited to just the devices in a single carrier’s catalog, and have greater device selection and more competitive prices—and it’s great for the environment. According to e-Cycle, the average person upgrades their cell phone every 18 months, amounting to 130 million devices being discarded each year in the U.S. alone. As BetterWorld cofounder, Amy Tucker, says, “the greenest phone is the one that never gets made.” For our gadget-focused friends, if you don’t see the mobile device in our catalog that you’ve had your heart set on, odds are, you can purchase that particular device (the one you’ve been eyeing), and activate it with Sparrow. How to BYOD and Activate with BetterWorld 1) If you already have an inactive device, give us a call at 844-846-1653 and check to confirm that your device is eligible. 2) If you need a device, purchase an unlocked Sprint-compatible device from a reputable dealer, retailer, or manufacturer, then see Step 1. Email wecare(at)sparrow.upsourcemobileservices.com for the latest eligible device list. Any reputable dealer who is selling refurbished phones will be able to provide details on the refurbishment, what’s included with the phone, and,...

In the News: Forbes Features Skills-based Volunteering & BetterWorld Wireless

According to Forbes, and this new eBook from Causecast.com, the best corporate volunteerism is skills based. While pro bono work has long been recognized in the legal industry, skills-based volunteering is on the rise as a way for companies and employees to contribute their expertise, in addition to time. View article on Forbes.com >>...

@Phone4Phone Lights Up NASDAQ

RT @NASDAQ #IgniteYourAmbition Making a MASSIVE dent in the #DigitalDivide w @phone4phone #Mobile4All Follow BetterWorld on Twitter @phone4phone

Businesses Doing Good Spotlight on Sparrow

In Great Company with Businesses Doing Good & A Billion+ Change Round Up Business Doing Good featured BetterWorld in this recent round up of small business that are making a difference with skills-based volunteerism. In addition to Mobile for All donations, the BetterWorld team loves supporting impact partners and other local programs by volunteering our skills and expertise. For example, we provided classroom support for Black Girls Code programming workshops, and we helped deliver mobile skills training sessions for Mobile4All participants with Downtown Streets. Volunteering both our skills and time is another way we can give back, enables us to witness our mobile impact first hand, is great team building, and just feels good to do. In addition to Business Doing Good, BetterWorld was also featured in this awesome eBook produced by Rachel Hutchisson for A Billion+ Change. Read the article on BusinessDoingGood.com  >> Get the eBook on ABillionPlusChange.org  >>...

Take the #PhonelessFriday Challenge

How Long Can You Go… Announcing the #PhonelessFriday Challenge for the month of December! Each Friday this month, try going without using your mobile phone and time how long you last. Every Friday during December, turn off your mobile phone for the day If you need to use your phone, log the time of day on Facebook or Twitter, and tag with #PhonelessFriday Challenge friends and family to do the same Why is a mobile company asking people to use their phones less? Glad you asked! #PhonelessFriday was created to draw attention to a new program, Mobile4All, and how much so many of us rely on our phones, as well as how our lives would be impacted by not having it for a day… getting directions, talking to our families, making business calls, getting a Lyft, finding out where to catch the bus, texting friends, sending a tweet, and the list goes on. Did you know the U.S. has one of the most expensive mobile phone services in the world? This is a barrier to many low-income people who need mobile phones to communicate with potential employers and landlords, follow-up with case managers, schedule medical appointments, and connect with friends and relatives. People with very few resources face a choice between unaffordable mobile phone services, and unreliable public programs that offer extremely limited talk time and text messages. Often on pre-paid plans with “burner phones,” many low-income people do not have a phone number they can keep, or regular access to voicemail. Going without your phone too hard to imagine? In lieu of giving up your phone for a day, consider helping someone in need get connected by making a contribution to...

Mobile Tip: One-click Conference Calls

Ever had trouble dialing into a conference call due to one of those long and pesky codes? Make life a little easier for you and your colleagues by using one-click conference call numbers. Next time you organize a conference call, format the phone number without spaces, using two commas to separate the call-in number and PIN code, and with a pound sign at the end. Example: 8001234567,,55555# or 800-123-4567,,55555# Dashes or no dashes both work Put two commas between the bridge and the PIN Include # after your PIN Mobile users will be able to hop on the call with one click, your calls will be more likely to start on time, and you’ll earn kudos for being such a gracious call host. Got a Mobile Tip? Tweet us @phone4phone...

Mobile4All: It’s a Launch!

On October 30th, Mobile4All, an initiative designed to end homelessness in the Bay Area and beyond, launched at Grace Baptist Church in San Jose, California. On that day, 55 Downtown Streets team members—people without housing in the heart of Silicon Valley—received brand new Google Nexus 5 smartphones, training and service via Sparrow. A Community Technology Alliance (CTA) program, in partnership with Downtown Streets (DTS) and Sparrow, the launch represents the culmination of over two years of research and effort. In addition, Google donated over 1000 devices to support the program. “It’s amazing how something most of us take for granted—a smartphone with reliable service, regular access to voicemail, and a number you can keep—can make a big difference in someone’s life. Mobile4All is the only plan in the country designed to help homeless citizens get back on their feet.” ~ Jen Padgett, CEO, Community Technology Alliance Mobile4All combines digital access and skills training as a way to connect homeless citizens with health, family, housing and pathways to self sufficiency. Participants work, volunteer, and share progress updates to benchmark and measure how owning their own smartphone, having a number they can keep, access to voicemail, and key contact numbers (simple things we all take for granted) impact and improve their life. We’d like to recognize Sparrow team member, June, for activating and supporting pilot participants without a hitch. And end with an extra big shout out to CTA, DTS, and especially to Allan Baez, Mobile4All’s visionary, for making this beautiful dream a reality. We’re honored to support this impactful program through Mobile for All and tailor-made service. #Together we can end homelessness. Read the program announcement from CTA...

Sparrow Pilot Customers Activate E-readers for Students in Kenya

Mobile for All: Worldreader Classroom Kit Delivered! On September 1, 2014, students from the Oltikampu School, located in rural Kenya, were greeted with Kindle e-readers—one for each student. Loaded with thousands of digital books and delivered by Mobile for All giving partner, Worldreader, the classroom kit was made possible by our fabulous pilot customers. For these kids, having an e-reader to bring home has a huge impact on their ability to succeed in school. Many of the Oltikampu students often get a late start in school because of long distances and mountainous terrain. Because of the late start, often these students are embarrassed for being older and behind other students, which can make them more likely to drop out. Other challenges to schooling are the pressures for girls to drop out for marriage and for boys to help with agricultural labor at home. Bridging the Digital Divide & Closing the Gender Gap Through the classroom kits, based on benchmarks set and closely tracked by Worldreader, literacy rates improve across the board, with an even greater increase in literacy for girls. Girls frequently miss more school due to domestic duties like caring for younger siblings and household chores. In addition, we all know that boys and girls tend to learn differently. Through this program, girls and boys can learn at their own pace and in their own way, and everyone benefits. Program at a Glance Giving Partner Worldreader Mission End illiteracy worldwide Donation Location Oltikampu School, Kenya Program E-reader Classroom Kits Total # of devices 50 E-readers. One per child E-reader usage E-readers are taken home overnight and on weekends Total # of people impacted 50 students + family and community members. According to Worldreader, on...

Mobile for All: Climate, Poverty & Protecting Rainforests

TREE-lighted! Thanks to BetterWorld customers and in celebration of Climate Summit 2014, we are TREE-lighted to donate 10 reclaimed Android phones to Rainforest Connection. These smartphones will be used as rainforest guardians—kitted out and installed in trees to listen for unwelcome sounds like buzz saws and trucks. Powered by solar panels and looking like robotic blooms, the devices listen 24-7 for unnatural sounds. If a bzzzzzz, vrrrrrrrm, or other disruptive sound is detected, they send an alert to local authorities to help thwart illegal logging. Forests are amazing carbon sinks—holding as much as 283 gigatons of carbon, according to UNECE. And in keeping with our Mobile for All mission, the link between poverty and deforestation is well established; right alongside the link between quality of the environment and quality of life. We’re positively delighted to support this innovative effort in celebration of Climate Summit 2014 and in the spirit of #mobileforgood. About Rainforest Connection Rainforest Connection (RFCx) transforms waste (discarded smartphones) into a scalable real-time detection system that prevents forest destruction. Their objective is to prevent global deforestation with an affordable, scalable and effective system to intervene against illegal logging of rainforests, thereby helping solve some of the world’s most pressing problems: climate change and species extinction. Learn more at rfcx.org Phone Drive! Got an old smartphone gathering dust in a drawer? Rainforest Connection is looking for 50 additional phones. Send your old smartphones to Sparrow and we’ll add them to the Rainforest Connection tree package and give you a $25 credit towards your next bill. Sparrow 1355 Market Street, Suite 488 San Francisco, CA 94114 Attention: Trees Note: When you send in your old phone, remember to include a note with your name, Sparrow mobile number (or...

Amazing Mobile Facts

The scale and impact of mobile phones worldwide continue to grow at rapid rates. Check out our new infographic and you’ll understand why we’re leveraging mobile for...