Home - , , , - Sprint Reveals Pricing and Features of New "Virgin Mobile Custom" Service Launching Aug 9

Sprint Reveals Pricing and Features of New "Virgin Mobile Custom" Service Launching Aug 9

Sprint's Virgin Mobile today officially announced that it will launch "Virgin Mobile Custom", a new prepaid service featuring customizable plans and parental controls. It will be available exclusively at select Walmart stores beginning Saturday, August 9.

Custom plans start at $6.98 for 20 voice minutes and 20 texts. There will be options to add more minutes and text as well as buckets of data.

Unlimited messaging is $10, unlimited minutes $18 and unlimited voice and text is $35. There will be non-unlimited voice and text options, however Virgin didn't reveal pricing or other details for them or for the data packages. However Mashable is reporting that the data options will include 250MB for $8 and 2GB for $28. CNET says that 250 minutes will be priced at $3 and 500 texts will be $4.50.

Users can add up to to five lines to a plan with all phones able to share non-unlimited  buckets of minutes, text and data. The unlimited voice and messaging options are priced per device and are not sharable.

The plans can be adjusted at any time during the month, even daily, directly from each device, or controlled by the primary user, allowing users to add or subtract the amount of voice, text or data they use at any time within their monthly billing cycle. Pricing information is displayed in real-time, giving customers an instant, exact amount of what their mobile monthly charge will be before they confirm their selections.

Add-ons that provide unlimited access to such apps as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram will be available for $5/month per service or $15/month for all three. Unlimited music streaming from Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, iHeart Radio and Shazam is $5/month. There will also be add-ons that provide 30 minutes of international calling to specific countries. Add-ons can be added on a recurring or non-recurring basis.

Custom plans also include parental controls that let the primary account holder manage their child’s phone use by limiting when kids have access to different features, apps and websites. Starting September 1,  parents will be able download a free iOS or Android app to any smartphone to manage the Custom handsets.

Virgin Mobile Custom will initially be available on three phones, the $79.88 ZTE Emblem, $99.88 LG Pulse, and $129.88 LG Unify $129.88. All three phones have 5-megapixel rear-facing cameras, front-facing cameras for video calls, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The LG Unify also has LTE.

Update: PCMag says that the ZTE Emblem is a rebranded ZTE AWE and the LG Unity is actully the LG F3. The LG Pulse is the LG LS620, a CDMA version of the LG Optimus L70. The PCMag article also says that Virgin Mobile Custom users will be able to buy bundles of off-network roaming roaming minutes.

Virgin Mobile Custom is powered by the ItsOn Smart Service™ Virtual Network Technology, a cloud-based platform recently licensed by Sprint in a multiyear agreement. ItsOn is the company behind Zact Mobile which offered a similar customizable service. Zact Mobile will shut down August 3 and Zact customers will be able to migrate their phones and numbers to Virgin Mobile Custom.

Update 8/3: Virgin Mobile has published an information page for Zact customers with some details about the transition from Zact to the new Virgin Mobile Custom plans. Key points:

  • Beginning 11:59 PB PDT August 3, 2014, Zact customers will not be able to adjust their plans and their service may be interrupted briefly.
  • In the morning of Aug 4, customers will be prompted to install an over the air update that will guide them through enrollment in the new Virgin Mobile Custom service.
  • Customers will be required to pay the Virgin Mobile Custom monthly line fee of $6.98 at time of enrollment
  • Zact customers who update to Virgin Mobile Custom between August 4 and August 8 will get a one time bonus of 1000 minutes, 1000 texts and 1GB of data free to use during the first month of service.
The Virgin Mobile page for Zact customers doesn't have any information about ongoing plan tiers and pricing.

Related: Updated: ItsOn to Power New Sprint Prepaid Service, Zact Mobile Shutting Down August 3


22 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Between Sprint Regular Postpaid, Sprint Prepaid, 4 different versions of Virgin (PayLo, Assurance, Normal Virgin, and this new one) and Boost Mobile, it is amazing that one company can provide such a befuddlement of confusing and contradictory options.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right! This is absolutely a disaster. Sprint's network is horrible and they are charging champagne prices for PBR. You can do a lot better with the other MVNOs. The only way this MIGHT be worth it, is if you had access to Sprint's post-paid network but there isn't a chance in the shady side of hell of that happening.

      Delete
    2. Actually off-network roaming (aka "Sprint's post-paid network") is supposed to be available at an extra cost.

      Delete
    3. "Actually off-network roaming (aka "Sprint's post-paid network") is supposed to be available at an extra cost." Where it was included with Zact and does that extra cost also include Data roaming?

      One new and unprecedented feature would be the ability to BYOD to VM starting 9-1-14.
      I am sure Zact users are the guinea pigs for this New VM application as we were for the Its On's Zact experiment.

      Delete
  2. This is great!!! More options for consumers, that's always good. Different people have different needs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As noted in the article, Zact was closed in order to open this service, so it's not necessarily providing more consumer options. From a consumer perspective, the early information suggests both the new and old services likely hold advantages in some respects. The new service probably does not offer data roaming, so most likely it eliminates the only Sprint service I might have been willing to try.

      Delete
  3. Quote:

    "Unlimited messaging is $10, unlimited minutes $18 and unlimited voice and text is $35. "

    So, is that a $7 tax on people who are bad at math?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It follows the Zact model. There is a charge for each phone that has to be added:
      "Custom plans start at $6.98"

      Delete
    2. I think the $10 unlimited text and $18 unlimited talk are add-ons to the $6.98 base plan but the $35 is an alternative to the $6.98. So it's only a 2¢ tax on the math-challenged.

      Delete
  4. That's why I finally went over to big Red.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You can get $19 plus 1 dollar unlimited talk/text/mms/100 mb lte data on Tmobile mvno Ultra. Reallly all Sprint's Prepaid Group is slicing and dicing. $35 for unlimited talk/text? Att mvnos have it at $30 and offer up to half a gig of high speed data at that point. Verizon's Allset plans too offer a great price point. SPG's slicing the pie but its the same old stuff isn't gonna cut it. They have Att/Verizon prices and a Tmobile level network , the worst of both worlds. It's really time they slashed prices on their Sprint mvnos too but they aren't. Sprint is still being Sprint. They keep this up, they'll be number four soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually T-Mobile network is better than Sprint, at a much lower cost.

      Delete
    2. Objectively, no. T-Mobile has a much worse coverage map than Sprint. And Sprint is nothing to write home about as it is.

      Delete
    3. Not true, Sprint and T-Mobile cover roughly equal amounts of area. See PCMag's graphic of Sprint and T-Mobile coverage maps overlaid.

      Delete
  6. By the time you add all the options to the Virgin base $6.98 custom plan, many people would be better off with Ting. Then you can avoid buying a new phone, and use almost any Sprint phone you want. I guarantee you the customer service will be better. I can imagine trying to explain in English how they screwed up your plan and what you expect Vigin should do to fix it. And of course, if you do not like Ting, they even know how to change the ownership code back to SPCS so you can use the phone on Sprint if you want. A Vigin phone becomes a paperweight, a missle or you can try to sell it. Good luck with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ting also as roaming on Verizon for free.

      Delete
  7. I thought Masayoshi Son is a genius. Well, maybe in Japan, definitely not here.Sprint's stock is dropping like a rock lately, the market knows something we don't.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Tracfone smartphones have better rates and run on Verizon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Are they keeping the Beyond Talk plans?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Virgin Custom is Dead. Did't even make it for 6 months. It will be replaced by a new, prepaid, shared data plan sold exclusively through Walmart as a Virgin plan. According to this article, Walmart has the biggest share of the prepaid market:
    http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-dumps-virgin-mobile-custom-brand-keeps-itson-technology-and-walmart/2015-01-16

    ReplyDelete
Comment Page :