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New Virgin Mobile Plans Launching Oct 4.

Sprint's Virgin Mobile has announced in its The Beat newsletter to dealers that it will begin offering several new plans on Oct. 4. The new plan lineup will consist of:
  • $20/month 300 minutes, unlimited texts, no data
  • $35/month unlimited minutes and messaging, 250 MB of high speed data, unlimited throttled data
  • $35/month 300 minutes, unlimited messaging, 2.5 GB of high speed data, unlimited throttled data (existing plan)
  • $45/month unlimited minutes and messaging,  1 GB of high speed data, unlimited throttled data, unlimited international texts, 100 minutes of international calling to over 70 countries.
  • $55/month unlimited minutes and messaging,  3 GB of high speed data, unlimited throttled data, unlimited international texts, 100 minutes of international calling to over 70 countries
Compared with the current Beyond Talk plans these changes include a data increase from 2.5 GB to 3 GB for the $55 plan, a new unlimited talk version of the $35 plan with less data and a new $20 limited talking, unlimited texting plan that works with smartphones.

It looks like the new $45 unlimited talk, 1 GB plan replaces the current $45 plan which includes 1200 minutes, unlimited messaging and 2.5 GB of data. Virgin Mobile typically grandfathers legacy plans so current $45 plan users should be able to keep the $45 1200 minutes 2.5 GB plan if they want.

Virgin Mobile also announced two new international calling amd messaging add-ons:
  • $5/Month International - unlimited international text messaging, unlimited calling to all of Mexico (landline only), unlimited calling to Canada (landline and mobile, excludes Northern territory (area code 867))
  • $10/Month International+ - includes all the features of the $5 plan plus 1,000 minutes to Mexican mobile numbers, unlimited calling to over 70 countries (landlines only) and discounted calling rates to over 200 countries.
Overall I'm not particularly impressed with Virgin's plan changes. The return of a low cost unlimited text plan is a positive change. But on the higher priced plans, I think it's more data at a lower price point that users crave and Virgin reducing data while increasing voice minutes on the new $35 and $45 plans seems like a step in the wrong direction.

37 comments:

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  1. I'm with you, Dennis. It seems like Sprint cannot get out of its own way of making business smart decisions.

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  2. They would still have to have a much better network where I am before I would be swayed to use them no matter what plans they had.

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    1. True. Being better than T Mobile isn't a huge selling point, is it?

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    2. 1000% in agreement with you on that!!!!

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    3. Where I am Tmobiles network is better than Sprints network.

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  3. I'm in the $35 plan, and don't see any radical change overall. I think the phone minutes are low, but I get around the limits by making enough calls using Groove IP or Hangups dial each month.

    I was about to jump to Cricket anyway, but that Virgin and Cricket user who says Cricket is even worse is giving me pause.

    Anyway, not impressed with these changes, which frankly I have been waiting for for a while since the latest price war began. It's just re-arranging deck chairs in the Titanic... or a "Virgin Galactic" rocketship that can't flight higher than the roof of a bungalow.

    A roaming option would be nice. Is it even technically possible?

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    1. was thinking about cricket also but remembered all the bad things my friends went through before with cricket. so, screw cricket.
      anyways would rather have a phone using a carrier with the sexy "virgin" name and not the yucky "cricket" bug name.
      jumping to virgin for the plan for $35/month 300 minutes, unlimited texts, 2.5gb data. the 300 minutes is enough for my calls because really maybe only do 30 short one-minute calls a month. but the unlimited texts is a must. and the 2.5gb data is nice.

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    2. to the "was thinking about cricket" Anon...

      Did your friends have the problems in the first part of the year? Or in the last couple of months?

      It's almost a different company then and now. Different network and everything.

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    3. I agree. I was a long time Virgin Mobile user (jumped on the Beyond Talk $25 plan with a Samsung Intercept on launch day (for $229, ouch!)), and recently switched to a Moto G on Cricket in August for $50 (thanks Yeswap) mainly because I couldn't get a Sprint signal at work. I have been blown away with the quality of both AT&T service and Motorola hardware.

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  4. I honestly can say I am not impressed with neither Boost and Virgin. Glad I changed to Cricket. In fact, I just got on the $55 double data plan.

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    1. Cricket's data is very laggy compared to that of Virgin and Boost. Cricket has it's own priority class on AT&T Network. It's very common to have ping latency of 400+ ms on HSDP and 175+ MS on LTE. People don't realize that latency creates more perceived slowness than the actual data throughput. If you do a side-by-side comparison of a Virgin/Boost and Cricket, using a same model phone, you will notice Virgin/Boost is faster and more responsive.

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    2. Interesting. Would love to see a latency comparison that compares the MVNO's and pseudo-MVNO's all to each other.

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    3. Sprint LTE was pretty nice on Virgin. I can't compare it to LTE on Cricket because I don't have an LTE handset. AT&T HSPA+ blows Sprint EVDO out of the water though.

      I posted this link on another thread here, but I'll post it again.

      www.tmonews.com/2013/11/t-mobiles-lte-and-hspa-network-latency-comes-out-on-top-in-comparison-with-att-verizon-and-sprint/

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  5. Even the 20 dollar plan cannot beat other Sprint MVNO's such as RP+ . Maybe if you have an old virgin phone in the drawer (that nobody else will activate) then it would be a good deal. I was hoping for a return of the unlimited data 25 dollar plan.

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    1. To call RP+ a "beta" service would be very generous. Their support forums are overflowing with posts like these, which are very similar to my experiences with them:

      https://discourse.ringplus.net/t/very-very-slow-response/2684

      https://discourse.ringplus.net/t/how-long-to-get-email-support-ticket-is-already-1-week-old-with-no-response/2710

      I guess some people are having luck with them, but it is something I would not recommend for anyone's primary line, or for "non-technical" users (since you're basically on your own for support).

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  6. Cricket is great. With a group plan unlimited talk text and 1gb of data is $22 each.

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  7. Are Crickets ping times really worse than other AT&T mvnos like Straight Talk Net10?

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    1. YMMV of course, but I have found Cricket HSPA+ performance in North Texas to be similar to this report:

      http://www.tmonews.com/2013/11/t-mobiles-lte-and-hspa-network-latency-comes-out-on-top-in-comparison-with-att-verizon-and-sprint/

      Good hosts are in the 100-150 msec ping range (google dns servers, opendns servers, google, gmail, youtube, pandora). Most hosts in the top 10 most popular website list that would actually answer ICMP ECHO request). A few were a little slower in the 200msec range (amazon, wikipedia). A few were really bad at 400msec (facebook, baidu, yahoo). I'm not sure if that's AT&T intentionally slowing down certain hosts, or just bad CDN infrastructure. I can repeat this test on a Ting line, but in my experience, Cricket HSPA+ is much snappier (and more bandwidth) than Sprint EVDO.

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  8. As soon as you can use old sprint phones on other providers I would be interested until then these are non starters. A 4s from sprint should be available on all prepaid operators. Silly business decisions. What would be best plan to compare with $20 plan as I do not need data. Thanks

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  9. Yeswap I'm sure you are aware of Freedom Pop releasing their Liberty wifi only tablet. Soon they releasing a wift/lte tablet the Frenzy for $99. I know you use Freedom Pop how is it. Do you still get 500mb free of data on the Sprint network if you not in wifi area or is it just wifi? Depending on your answer I mite buy the Frenzy.

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    1. I'm happy with FreedomPop. I have two accounts, a BYOP Motorola Photon and a Bolt WiMAX only USB stick. Other than a couple of small overcharges which were refunded when I complained, I've had no problems at all.

      You still get 500 MB per month for free.

      The only reservation I have about recommending FreedomPop is that if something does go wrong, their customer support is supposed to be very slow and not very good at resolving issues. That said, my billing issues were fixed after I sent Freedom Pop a single email. It did take support several days to respond to my emails which was fine for a little overcharge but would not have been if a service outage was involved.

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    2. How is the VoIP call quality when compared to a typical over-the-air prepaid cell provider like Boost or Virgin? Call quality is very important to me, so even though I am temped by FreedomPop's great pricing, I am hesitant to switch.

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  10. Boost/Virgin/Sprint 2014 is a joke.
    And this is coming for a former longtime customer, and refer-a-friend free minutes program member.

    Raising prices and lowering min/data to have customers 'grandfathered' is so 'old school.'

    And this is why Tmo is kicking their tail.

    I have family who is on the grandfathered $25 and $35 plans, and VM/Boost keeps trying to tell you that if you try and register a new phone, that you will be kicked up to a higher rate plan.

    We would rather switch than upgrade with anything on the horrid Sprint network.

    I even spoke to a client yesterday, on a ruggedized flip phone with the Sprint logo on it, and he was calling back 3x on a conversation with dropped calls. He said that the Sprint store told him that it was his 'old' phone, and he should upgrade.

    I told him that Sprint network for my family has gone downhill the past year, and I'm on a current phone, so don't believe the Sprint store, trying to trick you into upgrading and signing a new contract.

    He said he agreed as he wife had already switched to ATT and had no problems like his.

    He said as soon as his boss gives him the ok, he would be bailing from Sprint.

    Mr. Son at Softbank is an idiot. He has not done anything to make a impact in the US market.

    And this is exactly why Japan, Inc. suffers from the Galapagos syndrome...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_syndrome

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    1. Enjoy then. With the un-carrier's un-coverage, I can drive for hours and hours talking happily on Sprint (or listening to streaming radio on it) and not come near a TMO tower.

      I read a vague reference that TMO hopes to put up enough towers to become competitive by the end of 2015, but I have found nothing concrete yet about these plans.

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    2. Coverage is highly location dependent. Here in Northern California, T-Mobile has coverage in more places than Sprint as well as faster and more reliable data. In Wisconsin and on the Oregon coast, I've found Sprint better. Outside of urban areas, you can't count on either to have service.

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  11. This is pitiful. Even my grandfathered $25 Beyond Talk plan is not competitive anmore.

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    1. It definitely would be if it had LTE. Even with 3g only it isn't bad.

      These new plans are horrible at best.

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  12. These "upgrades" stink.

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  13. Nothing to see here....literally Virgin hasn't made any positive plan changes since 2010 when they introduced the beyond talk plans. Only a year after which they raised prices by $10 on each tier. Then later on started throttling and after that reduced the throttle speed. Now they are discontinuing arguably their best value, the $45 1200 minute plan. Seriously they have done nothing but gone backwards the last 4 years.

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    1. Well said, Anon. I have been with them all through that time, and have watched them degrade the service, increase prices, lower the throttling threshold, etc.

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  14. Btw, Cricket is only GSM now...using ATT ' S network. I work in the wireless industry, for a major provider (not ATT nor Cricket)...and hands down...Cricket (specifically the $60 plan) is the best plan and service out there right now. 10GB of 4GLTE for $55 (w auto refill).

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  15. If the $20 pricepoint plan would give unlimited minutes as well it would be more worth a look. Then again a native sprint network is nothing to scream and jump up and down about.

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  16. I was naive when I originally joined VM several years ago and I can say without equivocation, I will never ever again subscribe to a service that not only mandates the use of their device, but will also not allow that device to be moved to another service if you chose to do so.
    That said, even if they allowed BYOSD there is nothing in this new offering that would even temp me to move back with them.

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  17. Good advice

    "I will never ever again subscribe to a service that not only mandates the use of their device, but will also not allow that device to be moved to another service if you chose to do so."

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  18. You can still get the 35.00 300 min deal with virgin mobile but now you get to choose between the pans! Im a Boost/virgin sales rep.

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  19. The new plans aren't impressive at all. Why would they reduce the data for the $45 plan? I wouldn't be tempted to change anything. I need more data. I barely talk on my phone. I have the $35 plan, and I rarely use over $200 minutes. However, today VM sent me a text saying they're giving me unlimited minutes still for $35 , as long as I don't change my plan or get a new phone. Good thing I got my galaxy s3 in August.

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