Virgin Mobile prepaid brand will be launching a new $25/month Unlimited Talk and Messaging Plan on June 16.
According to a message sent to independent Virgin Mobile dealers, the plan is a limited promotion that will be available to new Virgin Mobile customers activating service between June 16 and September 2. The plan doesn't include data but does include MMS picture messaging.
The $25 plan will only work with certain Virgin Mobile devices with a suggested retail price of $200 or less. I don't know yet which phones will be allowed on the plan but the $200 price limit suggests that at least some smartphones will be included. I also don't know if the plan will be a dealer-only promotion or if it will also be available onlime.
The new plan looks like a belated response to the $25 unlimited talk and text plans that T-Mobile's MetroPCS and GoSmart and AT&T's Cricket have been offering for some time. Although billed as a promotion, I suspect this plan signals that the Sprint Prepaid Group (SPG), which includes Virgin and Boost Mobile, will be cutting prices, especially for plans that include unlimited voice minutes.
Virgin Mobile's current unlimited plan is overpriced at $55/month for unlimited minutes and messages and 2.5 GB of data. That's $5 to 15 a month more than direct competitors like T-Mobile's MetroPCS and GoSmart, AT&Ts Cricket and mega-MVNO Straight Talk charge for similar plans. To make matters worse, Sprint's network trails the competition in both coverage and average data speeds. In addition, Virgin restricts users to a limited set of carrier branded phones, while MetroPCS, GoSmart, Cricket and Straight Talk allow any device that's compatible with their networks on most plans.
Virgin Mobile is charging more for less coverage, slower data and fewer handset choices and needs to cut plan prices to remain competitive. I expect to see more SPG price cuts soon.
Related: Prepaid Operator Profile: Virgin Mobile