Two weeks ago Virgin Mobile announced that upgrading to a new Android phone would trigger a price increase for users on grandfathered $25 and $40 per month Beyond Talk plans. The message was delivered in a text that linked to a confusing mobile web page. Many users who called Virgin Mobile where told that making ANY phone switch after May 27th would trigger a price increase. It turns out that is not true. Virgin has posted a clarification on their Frequently Asked Questions page:
Learn about new Beyond Talk device upgrade rules
What are the new device upgrade rules?
Starting May 27, 2012, if you are using the $25, $40, or $60 Beyond Talk plan and you upgrade to a Beyond Talk Smartphone launched after May 1, 2012*, you will need to switch to the $35, $45, or $55 Beyond Talk plan. When you switch plans, you will need to pay for your new plan and you will lose any minutes, messages, and money in your balance. This will also change your monthly payment date. So if you are considering upgrading to a new smartphone, we recommend that you wait until right before your next monthly payment date to activate.
*The following smartphones launched before May 1, 2012 and are therefore not subject to the new device upgrade rules at this time: VentureTM, LG ® OptimusTM Slider, HTC ® Wildfire STM, Motorola TriumphTM, LG ® Optimus VTM, Blackberry ® CurveTM 8530.
So now it is clear, if you are grandfathered on a $25 or $40 plan and you need to to replace or upgrade your current smartphone and you want to keep your grandfathered plan, the replacement phone must be a PCD Venture, LG Optimus Slider, HTC Wildfire S, Motorola Triumph, LG Optimus V or a non-smartphone.
Upgrading to the Optimus Elite or HTC EVO V 4G or any another new smartphone launched in the future will cause you to lose your grandfathered rate. Of course, it might be worth it, especially for the EVO.
The old phones will be phased out, probably pretty quickly, eventually forcing grandfathered users to higher priced plans. But for now you can still upgrade or replace your phone without a monthly price increase provided you choose a PCD Venture, LG Optimus Slider, HTC Wildfire S, Motorola Triumph, or LG Optimus V.
The situation with the BlackBerry is still a little confusing, There is a $10/month surcharge for BlackBerrys on the old grandfathered plans, so a grandfathered user switching from a non-BlackBerry to a BlackBerry will trigger a price increase to $35 if they are on the $25 plan.
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