The planned migration of Zact Mobile customers to Sprint's new Virgin Mobile Custom plan started this morning. Zact users are being prompted to install an update which leads them through the migration progress. There are several reports of successful migrations on Howard Forums. The migration process itself seems to be going smoothly for most users although there's some grumbling about the high pricing and lack of granularity with Custom's tiers.
The new Custom plan tiers and prices are now listed at www.virginmobileusa.com/custom/ Basic monthy service starts at $6.98 per month which includes 20 voice minutes, 20 texts and no data. Users can customize their plan by adding bundles of extra minutes, texts or data. The site shows that the following bundles are available:
- Voice: 250 minutes $3, 500 minutes $6, 750 minutes $8, 1000 minutes $9.50, 1250 minutes $11.50, 1500 minutes $13, 1750 minutes $14.50, 2000 minutes $15, 2250 minutes $16, 2500 minutes $17.50, 2750 minutes $19, 3000 minutes - $21, 3500 minutes $24.50, 4000 minutes $28, 4500 minutes $31.50, 5000 minutes $35
- Texts: 250 texts $2.50, 500 texts $4.50, 750 texts $6.50, 1000 texts $8, 1250 texts $9, 1500 texts $10, 1750 texts $11, 2000 texts $12, 2250 texts $13, 2500 texts $13.50, 2750 texts $14, 3000 texts $15, 3500 texts $17, 4000 texts $19, 4500 texts $21, 5000 texts $23
- Data: 20 MB, $1.40, 250 MB $8, 500 MB $13.50, 750 MB $16, 1024 MB $18.50, 1536 MB $21, 2048 MB $28, 2560 MB $31.50, 3072 MB $34, 3584 MB $37.50, 4096 MB $41, 4608 $43.50, 5120 MB $46, 5632 MB $48, 6144 MB $52.50
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. Zact customers need to pay the $6.98 line fee for the first month but don't need to add any additional tiers until their bonus allotments are used up.
As with Zact, Virgin Mobile Custom lets you add up to 4 additional lines of service for $6.98 each to build a family style plan sharing minutes, texts and data.
There are also a number of "Special Offers" which can be added to a Custom plan, including:
- Unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram for $5/month per service or $15/month for all three.
- Unlimited music streaming from Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, iHeart Radio and Shazam for $5/month.
- Unlimited maps and navigation and 50MB data: $1/day
- Unlimited maps and navigation and 135MB data: $3/week
- 50 roaming minutes $5
- 15MB of data roaming $5
- 30 minutes of calls to Mexico, Canada or India $2 per country
- 60 minutes of calls to Mexico, Canada or India $3 per country
- 30 minutes of calls to the Dominican Republic $4
- 60 minutes of calls to the Dominican Republic $5
- 100 minutes of calls to about 50 countries (list of covered countries is at the bottom of the) $10
The prices or minutes, texts and data seem high, especially for the larger buckets. However these may not be the final prices. The Virgin site says "Some offer information and/or screens shown are for illustration purposes only." in addition, Sprint's press release announcing Virgin Mobile Custom said that there would be an unlimited options at $18 for unlimited voice and $10 for unlimited texting neither of which seem to be mentioned on the Virgin Mobile Custom site currently.
If these prices are accurate, Virgin Mobile Custom only seems cost effective for very light use with most of the usage combined to only one of voice, text or data. Everyone else would be better off with either a conventional pay as you go plan or a monthly plan like one of Virgin's Beyond Talk plans. For example, The closest custom equivalent to the $35 Beyond Talk plan would cost $64.48 for 250 minutes, 5000 texts and 2560 MB of data or $51.48 if the $10 unlimited text option is actually available. The Beyond Talk plan includes more minutes (300), unlimited texts and the same amount of data.
Virgin Mobile Custom is currently only available to former Zact Mobile customers. Sprint is using technology licensed from Zact's parent ItsOn. It will be available to all beginning Saturday, August 9 exclusively at "select" Walmart stores .