While Sprint awaits regulatory approval to consummate its marriage with T-Mobile, Sprint's newest "PayLo" plans pit its Virgin Mobile line next to a series of T-Mobile-powered phones in Wal-Mart stores.

For just $20 a month, Virgin Mobile customers can receive 50 minutes of voice and unlimited text messaging. Inversely, and for the same $20 price, the company's customers can receive 50 texts and unlimited voice calling for a month.

Elgible phones for the $20-tier of Virgin Mobile's PayLo plan include the Kyocera Kona and the Samsung Montage. The Kona has a flip-build and six hours of talk time per charge, while the Montage and its bar-build offers four hours of talk time -- both phones feature a 2-megapixel camera.

Virgin Mobile's latest entry into its PayLo series of calling plans are only available in Wal-Mart stores. They will compete with the big-box retailer's own Wal-Mart Family Mobile calling plans, which offer unlimited talk and text for just $25 each month.

The two services differ in terms of technology because Virgin Mobile operates on Sprint's CDMA network, Code Division Multiple Access, which has been more popular in the U.S. than rival protocols. CDMA is used by the nation's first- and third-ranked providers of cell service, Verizon and Sprint, respectively. Wal-Mart has employed T-Mobile's networks, which use the GSM protocols, Global System for Mobile, known for their SIM cards and widely used in cellular networks around the world.

Angela Rittgers, vice president of marketing for Sprint's prepaid group, stated her belief in the presence of a strong market for utilitarian phones and hassle-free service.

"The no-contract market continues to grow, most visibly with smartphones, but many customers find value with unlimited plans without the extra bells and whistles," stated Rittgers.

While the new plans put Sprint in yet another arena of indirect competition with the company it hopes to purchase, T-Mobile has taken its own set of prudent steps that will likely add to the complications of reorganization if the merger is approved.

Seeking to improve service in densely populated areas, T-Mobile was said to have been in talks with smaller wireless carrier to purchase low-frequency bands. But if regulators approve Sprint's bid to buy T-Mobile, newly purchase spectrum would likely be resold.

Sprint itself was purchased by SoftBank for $21.6 billion back in July 2013. The company now seeks to purchase T-Mobile for $32 billion, though the merger still requires the approval of the Federal Communications Commission.

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