Virgin Mobile, a cheap prepaid wireless brand owned by Sprint, has recently unveiled their new mobile phone plan offerings. The new Virgin Mobile “unlimited” phone plans are now cheaper and offer more flexibility in the amount of talk, text, and data that one can choose from.
Check out the plans in the comparison chart below:
|Plan Name||Price/Month||Talk Minutes||Text||CDMA Data||High Speed Data|
|WiFi Lovers Delight||$20||300||Unltd.||WiFi Only||N/A|
|Unlimited Your Way (1)||$35||Unltd.||Unltd.||Unltd.||250MB|
|Unlimited Your Way (2)||$35||300||Unltd.||Unltd.||2.5GB|
|Unlimited Everything + Int'l*||$45||Unltd.||Unltd.||Unltd.||1GB|
As we can see there are a number of changes from the old plans. First off, the major difference that readers of The Frugal Caller will be interested in is that the new cheapest Virgin Mobile plan is now only $20 per month. Previously, Virgin’s lowest priced plan was $35 per month, so this is a nice competitive move on their part, especially considering that prices on most prepaid mobile phone plans have been declining across the board.
Wi-Fi Lovers Plan
The $20 per month plan called the “Wi-Fi Lovers” offers 300 talk minutes and unlimited text messages per month. What sets this low cost plan apart from the higher priced alternatives is that there is no data access on either the Sprint CDMA network or the high speed Sprint 3G/4G network. Use of data with your smartphone can only be done by accessing a nearby WiFi connection.
Virgin Mobile $20 Plan VS. Republic Wireless $10 Plan
Of course this new WiFi data plan is most certainly a response to other carriers and MVNOs who are taking advantage of Wifi by offloading data. We’ve already seen this concept pioneered by Republic Wireless who I currently use and has a similar plan for $10 cheaper at $10 per month.
While this Virgin Mobile $20 plan is a great offer, the Republic Wireless plan is not only ten bucks cheaper but it offers unlimited talk minutes, whereas the Virgin plan offers 300 minutes. Not that talk minutes personally matter to me since I probably don’t use more than 50 minutes a month at most, but for you jibber jabbers out there, this could be an important distinction.
It should also be noted that Republic Wireless also runs on the Sprint CDMA network, thus the coverage should be about the same. So if one were to choose between Republic or Virgin then the comparisons would likely come down to either cost or phone selection. If cost is the determining factor then Republic wins, but if you want a phone other than a Moto X,G, or E then you’ll have much better selection going with Virgin Mobile.
No doubt, if you are an iPhone person and sticking to it, then this Virgin $20 Wifi Lovers plan could be a great option for those on a budget.
Unlimited Your Way Plans
You’ll also notice something interesting in the next tier plan at $35 per month. Virgin is giving two varying options at this price level. While both plans get unlimited texting and CDMA data availability, they differ in what is available for talk minutes and high speed 3G/4G data.
The first plan which I’ve labeled (1) in the chart above offers unlimited talk minutes but only has 250 MB of high speed data. The other plan labeled (2) above offers 300 talk minutes but more high speed data at 2.5 GB.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big talker, so if I were to choose one of the $35 per month plans, I’d go with the one that gets more high-speed data at 2.5GB/month. Since I know I’d never go over 300 minutes of talking per month, that category is inconsequential, so might as well stock up on faster data speeds. This is one reason why I think everyone should take a look at their phone plan usage before switching so that you have a better idea of what your needs are and can make better decisions.
Unlimited International and “Extra” Plans
The final two plans set at $45 and $55 per month offer unlimited everything for talk, text, and CDMA data but have a few additional options.
The $45 plan includes 1GB of high speed data and also has unlimited International texting along with 100 International minutes. The $55 plan is the same thing but has up to 3GB total of high speed data.
Overall this is a nice step in the right direction for Virgin Mobile, especially if they are going to stay competitive with other low cost phone plans. I’m really digging the new $20 plan even though I currently use Republic, but if I was using an iPhone or some other device that isn’t a Moto then this would certainly be a good option to consider.
If any readers currently use Virgin Mobile or have used them in the past, I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts on the new phone plan structure, along with any other insights you could provide the frugal phone community here.