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Wireless start-up targets Hispanic market

The company is teaming with Sprint to offer voice calling, Spanish-language data services and branded handsets.

Wireless service provider Movida on Tuesday announced that it has teamed with Sprint and Wal-Mart Stores to market services targeted at Hispanic communities in the United States.

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Movida said it would use Sprint's nationwide network to offer wireless voice and data services.

It will sell branded handsets and prepaid service cards through Wal-Mart and other retailers in the first half of 2005.

In addition, Movida has linked up with the Cisneros Group, which specializes in Hispanic content and has investments in Univision Communications and AOL Latin America.

Movida said features and services that are culturally and geographically relevant to Hispanic consumers will be offered. Services will be primarily in Spanish, the company said.

Movida has positioned itself as a mobile virtual network operator, offering pay-as-you-go wireless communications services. Such operators sell cellular service without actually owning a network to carry the calls. They resell calling minutes bought from carriers like Sprint.

The U.S. Hispanic population, currently about 40 million, is projected to grow to represent 17 percent of the domestic population by 2010, Movida said. In addition, over 90 percent of Latin American wireless business comes from pay-as-you-go type services, the company said.

"Movida is about understanding Hispanic consumers and offering them products and services that help them stay connected--both with their friends and family, as well as their culture," Movida's president, Anthony Montoya, said in a statement.