In advance of Congressional hearings next week, Sprint Nextel filed with the FCC a snapshot of its Virgin Mobile/Assurance Wireless Lifeline subscriber base, providing insight into the demographic characteristics of Lifeline participants.  Sprint’s filing revealed that its average Lifeline subscriber is a 47 year-old woman with a household income of less than $14,000 per year.  More than half (53%) of Sprint’s Lifeline subscriber base is Caucasian, while African-Americans (30%) and Hispanics (10%) make up the second and third largest ethnic groups.  Almost two-thirds of Sprint’s Lifeline subscribers are over the age of 45, and over one-third of subscribers report that they are disabled.  More than half use their phones to stay in touch with doctors and other healthcare professionals.  Half of subscribers are new to wireless service and three quarters use only their wireless phone.