Home - , , , , - Virgin Mobile Going iPhone-Only and Offering A Year of Service For $1

Virgin Mobile Going iPhone-Only and Offering A Year of Service For $1

It looks like's Sprint's long promised disruptive shakeup of the Virgin Mobile brand is finally here. This morning I woke up to a completely redesigned Virgin Mobile website. According to the new site, Virgin is partnering with Apple and Virgin Group Ltd. to become an iPhone only carrier. Beginning June 27, Virgin will only sell iPhones and only offer a single plan.

Virgin Mobile Inner Circle

The new plan is called Inner Circle, which will be available only to iPhone users. The Inner Circle plan normally costs $50/month, plus taxes, but customers who sign up by July 31 will get the first 12 months of the service for only a dollar. Customers signing up after July 31 will get six months service for $1. Inner Circle includes "unlimited" on-network voice, messaging and data as well as 800 roaming minutes and 100 MB of roaming data. But video streaming is limited to 480p quality, audio streams are throttled to 500 kbps and gaming streams to 2 mbps, and customers who use more than 23 GB of data in a month will see their data prioritized when the network is congested.  No word of whether hotspot will be allowed. Update: using your phone as a hotspot requires the purchase of a $10/month hotspot add-on which provides 10 GB of  hotspot data.

Inner Circle also comes with Virgin Perks which offers a free companion ticket when you fly to the UK on Virgin Atlantic, 20% off flights on Virgin America, the opportunity to buy 15 bottles of wine from Virgin Wine, a $230 value, for $59.99 and a third night is free at Virgin Hotels when you buy two nights. Virgin Perks is free for customers who enroll in it by September 30, 2017.

To get 12 months of service for $1, customers must purchase a new iPhone from Virgin Mobile or the Apple Store. Virgin is now accepting pre-orders for iPhones, which will ship June 27. The following iPhones are now available for pre-order direct from Virgin Mobile:

  • iPhone 7 Plus 32 GB $769.99, 128 GB $869.99, 256 GB $969.99
  • iPhone 7 32 GB $649.99, 128 GB $749.99, 256 GB $849.99
  • iPhone 6s Plus 32 GB $649.99, 128 GB $749.99
  • iPhone 6s 32 GB $549.99, 128 GB $649.99
  • iPhone 6 32 GB $319.99
  • iPhone SE 32 GB $279.99, 128 GB $379.99
Virgin is selling the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus at the full retail prices, but is offering the iPhone SE for $279.99 for the 32 GB model and $379.99 for the 128 GB version. That's $120 cheaper than what Apple charges for the SE. Virgin also has the discontinued 32GB iPhone 6 for $319.99. Starting in the fall, Virgin Mobile will offer refurbished iPhones at a substantial discount

Virgin isn't saying what happens to current customers, but I suspect they will be able to keep their current plans. I wonder what will happen when a current Android using customer needs a new phone. Although Apple has many fans it has its haters too and forcing Android lovers to switch to an iPhone is not going to go down well.

Update: Virgin Mobile has posted a video of an event announcing Inner Circle on Facebook:

We’re Live With Sir Richard Branson for a Big Announcement
We can’t tell you what it is in this post because it would ruin the surprise. But it’s probably something about changing an entire industry forever. NBD.
#InnerCircleLife #VirginMobile
Posted by Virgin Mobile USA on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Update 2: Phonescoop has published some additional information on how Inner Circle will effect current Virgin Mobile customers. According to Justin Scott, Virgin Mobile's Director of Communications, existing customers can keep their current phones and service plans. National retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy will continue to sell Virgin Mobile Android phones for some time and these phones can be activated on Virgin's pre-Inner Circle Data Love plans. Virgin will make Inner Circle iPhones available at national retailers, probably later this year. Virgin will eventually phase out Android phones but Scott did not indicate when.

Sources: Virgin Mobile, Facebook, Phonescoop

72 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Just one brand out of many. So silly.

    Next: parking garages that only allow Fords.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. Why won't it work? There are people selling themselves for the latest iPhone.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, but most aren't touching iPhones.

      Delete
  3. "Although Apple has many fans it has its haters too and forcing Android lovers to switch to an iPhone is not going to go down well."

    More than half of American cell phone users choose Android brands over iPhones. So, what was going on in a board meeting of the struggling Sprint company...

    "I know how we can save our struggling prepaid division: let's get rid of more than half of the customers! That'll do it!"

    This was right after the vote to station snipers on the tops of the Sprint stores to pick off anyone foolish enough to head toward the doors. That idea lost out... but just barely.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not a terrible deal if you have good coverage and use the iPhone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The meeting point between the small subset of the population served well by native Sprint and the small numbers of budget-minded prepaid customers who like paying full retail for just one brand of top premium phone DOES indeed exist ... But it's rather small.

      Delete
  5. What's the catch? Do you have to stay 2-years with the phone?
    Will Virgin Mobile still unlock the iphones after 1-year of $1/month service?
    Prolly better just buy unlocked from Apple direct.
    Where do I get those 15 bottles of wine for $59.99? LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  6. So is my new in box Virgin prepaid phone now unlocked by default since I can't use it on Virgin anymore?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DUOHHH! That's right! What about our cheapy Black Friday $10 Virgin Mobile android phones we have purchased in the past? Will they be unlocked?

      Delete
    2. 1. Since you bought your iPhone prior to this transition, you are likely governed by the previous unlocking terms, which are 12 months of service.

      2. Why can't you use your Virgin iPhone on Virgin anymore? FED failure?

      Delete
  7. If one can afford an iphone, why would they ever choose virgin mobile of all carriers.....?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For free service..

      Delete
    2. Better to be known as the iPhone only carrier than the nothing carrier I suppose.

      Delete
  8. After this mental lapse by the Sprint Pre-Paid division fails you can Stick a Fork in Virgin Mobile.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Like A Virgin, limping to the end of the line.

    Like a Vir-ir-irgin, the bad deals, making customers whine..."

    ReplyDelete
  10. I will switch carrier's I like android I hate apple and iPhones i can buy a $100 android that does just as good as a iphone

    ReplyDelete
  11. So what happens to all those still New In Box and used Virgin Mobile Androids that are still available for purchase in store or eBay/Swappa and the like?

    Are all those Virgin Mobile devices released from any Virgin Mobile "Unlock" Policy, in other words are white listed and the ESN free to activate on an independent Sprint MVNO?

    Will they be allowed to activate on Boost or Sprint Post-Paid?

    Will those devices be Domestically and Internationally SIM Unlocked?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. virgin and boost and sprint prepaid android phones are all interchangeable between networks. they will be repackaged and sold as boost or sprint prepaid stores. I have a few boost stores and we get virgin and sprint packaged devices all the time from corporate and we just activate them as normal.

      The cool part is when a virgin or sprint device is activated on boost the sprint or virgin mobile splash screens are automatically replaced with boost logo.

      And this iphone plan is actually awesome. Iphone dont have roaming on boost but it seems as though virgin will be getting the domestic roaming for free which is a good sign for better coverage.

      Delete
    2. Hopefully some of those hoarders on eBay will lose.

      Delete
    3. AnonymousJune 21, 2017 at 3:02 PM "Hopefully some of those hoarders on eBay will lose." What you jealous? We are just another avenue for you to purchase a mobile phone. FYI, alot of us sellers can get you a mobile device at your front door in less than (48 hours) 2-Days.

      Delete
    4. @Unknown,
      Might be a good idea to inform the Boost C/S to this revelation.
      Is this a new policy, because it was not long ago Virgin devices were not SKUed to Boost so you could not activate them on Boost and vice versa.

      Have to ask, a while back many Boost devices ESNs came up good on independent MVNOs like Ting and at the time Ring Plus, then when the owners tried to take them back to Boost, Boost denied activation saying the device was not in the system.
      What is your take on that?

      Delete
    5. @Anon327, I think Unknown was talking about internal provisioning, where Sprint can choose to brand a phone for whichever carrier it wants, even if a buyer can't use it on any Sprint carrier he or she wants. And I doubt the power to affect this is bestowed upon frontline C/S.

      Delete
    6. @Anonymous10:20 PM
      Yes, after rereading what they posted I believe you are correct.
      I was assuming they meant they could activate NIB a VM Device on Boost and vice versa, not re-purposed branded devices.

      I would not doubt there is a back door way for a dealer or even a front line C/S agent to ReSKU the device for the service, just need the know how or the access to white list the MEID.

      As was mentioned, they are truly Chameleon until they are provisioned on the service they were intended for. All these "Sprint" branded phones could easily be activated OTB across all Sprint services if Sprint just allowed it.
      Theses devices should not even be boxed as a brand, you simply take them to the Sprint service of your choice.

      For example, looking back anyway, why have a boxed and branded Virgin and Boost Tribute HD when it could easily activate on either subsidiary?

      My questions still stand though, what happens to all these Virgin Mobile Android devices that are currently not activated on the service?
      Hundreds of thousands of VM devices not where they can be pulled from retail shelves floating around, NIB and used, that are perfectly good to activate on Boost, SPP, Sprint Postpaid and independent Sprint MVNOs.

      Delete
    7. "My questions still stand though, what happens to all these Virgin Mobile Android devices that are currently not activated on the service?"

      They can be buried in a vast landfill in New Mexico. and people can stop talking about buried Atari ET game cartrdiges.

      Delete
    8. Virgin Mobile Android phones can and will be able to be activated on Virgin's pre-Inner Circle Data Love plans.

      Delete
  12. another nail in vm coffin ha ha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The entire Sprint coffin.

      Delete
  13. If these phones are indeed unlocked, and you want an iPhone, the risk goes way down, and the potential to have free service for a year, ain't to sahbby!
    Zach

    ReplyDelete
  14. Garbage deal except the iphone se. I wonder what happens if you buy their phone and then they go oob a few months in. Guess that sucks for you....

    ReplyDelete
  15. Can't believe I'm saying this but Virgin did a better job the last time they reinvented themselves. But at least Sprint finally realized they don't need three prepaid brands. After this latest experiment in marketing stupidity, Sprint's forgotten prepaid brand is history.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Why is the only thing Sprint can ever disrupt is itself?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Looks like Turboslut Mobile is whoring itself out for pennies on the dollar to rich normies who'll buy iPhones at full retail price, all in an attempt to raise subscriber numbers for their impending buyout by T-mobile.

    Gotta get those notches, otherwise Daddy Dutch won't think they're putting in the work.

    The problem is, Apple fanboys already have payment plan iPhones on postpaid Verizon contracts.

    The next step down is run of the mill prepaid customers who will already have bought their iPhone of choice.

    Then there's the Android faithful and their Galaxies, who won't buy an iPhone no matter what.

    Below them are budget minded Android folks who value coverage and reliability, which makes Sprint promos dead on arrival.

    The only competitive niche is ubermisers who'll use Sprint just to save a buck and jump at the chance to get an iPhone with $600 worth of free service thrown in.

    Or will they?

    If they're already on Mintsim or the other Sprint deal, this promo's far too late.

    That leaves only guys like me, who're still undecided about both phone AND plan.

    However, as tempting as a $270 iPhone is, the gimped OS and inability to even customize default apps without jailbreaking comes off as incredibly inconvenient for anyone who lives and breathes third party apps.

    That ultimately makes a Mintsim droid a much more versatile (and not to mention cheaper) alternative for anyone willing to toss up to $1000 at their mobile expenses this year.

    In the end, the only remaining use for this promo is as a cheap iPhone upgrade program for no-contract prepaid subscribers who're still willing to use Sprint, an already small and ever-shrinking demographic considering how iPhone users normally want things that "just work" (unlike Sprint).

    Anyway, as great as this promo appears on the surface, it's really a complete flop due to all the boxes that need to be checked for a customer to actually get something out of it.

    Heck, even I would've become a convert to the Church of Jobs, but their evangelist approach to pushing THE ONE TRUE SET OF DEFAULT APPS was still one box too many.

    It's a real shame, but Sprint would've had better luck if they were peddling S8's instead.

    Maybe next time...if there's even any phone-free agents left by then.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Only interested in this for the SE. And only if the SE is unlocked and can be used on a non-Sprint network.

    ReplyDelete
  19. does any one know how they are selling the iPhone 6 which was discontinued? do you think they have to much stock on hand that they need to get rid of? is apple actually making it again exclusively for them? are they refurbished?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are new phones. Still in production. Created for the market in India, but sold to prepaid carriers too.

      Delete
  20. I'm assuming Apple started making them again bc the iPhone 6 never came in 32gb... only 16 64 128... so it has to be a newly made model

    ReplyDelete
  21. also why wouldn't everyone pay only forty dollars more for the 6 with the bigger screen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Compared with the SE, the iPhone 6 has a slower processor, half as much RAM, and a lower resolution screen.

      Delete
    2. Lower resolution camera.

      Delete
  22. This part about the option to buy direct from Apple to qualify for this deal, how does one go about that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Starting the 27th, Virgin Mobile will be one of the carriers you can buy phones for from the Apple Store.

      Delete
    2. Do we know if you can buy from the Apple online store (not just bricks and mortar) on June 27th as well?

      Delete
  23. So if I currently have a VM account that carries a balance I can not transfer that over to this new service, WTF?

    Q: "Will my balance be transferred from my existing Virgin Mobile account when I join the Inner Circle?"

    A: "Balances from other Virgin Mobile legacy prepaid plans are not transferrable to the Inner Circle plan."

    ReplyDelete
  24. Are these phones unlocked out of the box, or do you have to request they be unlocked?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect they are locked. See the comments by Virgin Mobile representatives on this Virgin Mobile Community thread:
      Solved: Re: Inner Circle iPhone 7 Plus locked or unlocked?... - Virgin Mobile Community.

      Delete
    2. Good link below Dennis..
      Man, the hostility is high and I totally agree.

      It's really confusing but it sounds like they are locked phones that at least some of their reps are saying Virgin WILL unlock if you leave anytime after 14 days.

      But at the same time they are saying they won't unlock them anytime before a year if you are still with Virgin..

      Which is totally NUTS - So your giving a worse deal/situation to the customers who are *still with you!?* - What if you just want it unlocked so you can use other carriers in specific regions in the USA? (say if you're on vacation somewhere where Virgin/Sprint has bad/no coverage?

      Delete
    3. "Which is totally NUTS - So your giving a worse deal/situation to the customers who are *still with you!?* "

      Those few customers left after this debacle is put in place will be narrowed even further by personal visits by Richard Branson, who will kick any remaining customers in the teeth.

      Delete
  25. Don't mean to nitpick, but both the iPhone SE and the 6 have the same screen resolution at 326 ppi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PPI is pixel density and yes, the SE and 6 have the same PPI. Resolution is the screen width and height in pixels.

      The iPhone 6 screen is both physically larger at 4.7 inches and has a higher resolution at 1,334 px x 750 px vs 4 inches and 1,136 px x 640 px for the SE.

      Delete
  26. [Understood. Well, we're not offering international roaming services at the moment, and the same thing goes for suggested international SIM unlock procedures. The only policy being implemented at this point is the DSU (Domestic SIM Unlock) which does not release or enables the international network capabilities of the device. In other words, our phones will only work within the USA territories, even after they have been unlocked.

    EdwinRG.]

    Well, a DSU includes a ISU where an ISU does not include a DSU.


    [The phones will be unlocked to be used with any other carrier within the US. However, we cannot guarantee they will be compatible with the GSM network.

    EdwinRG.]

    And................

    [When you buy the new iPhone and join the Inner Circle plan, you can return it to us within 14 days for a full refund and for immediate network unlock.
    "Simply send your iPhone back within 14 days of purchase and we’ll give you a full refund. If you’re past the 14-day mark, you’re free to take your iPhone elsewhere."
    But this is only true, if you're a member of our Inner Circle program. For the Data Love users, the policy remains as described on previous posts.

    EdwinRG.]

    This tells me that after 15 days they will unlock it and you can take it where you choose.

    IDK, but I would just be concerned that this device would be SIM locked to Sprint like the Best Buy Verizon devices were after having activated on Sprint.
    There was little to recourse when that happened.

    ReplyDelete
  27. i have a better idea for everyone thinking about this plan... boost Mobile iPhone 5s for $99 and $50. including hotspot which we all know vm will not include as usual... if you run the numbers compared to buying the vm 5se it's only $28. more per month and you get hotspot

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 5s isn't even in the same league as a device vs the SE or other options via Virgin deal..

      Delete
    2. This fits in with what I have said about the market for Virgin and prepaid. While of course not all prepaid and Virgin customers are interested only in cheap phones, the market DOES skew that way compared to the general and postpaid market.

      So of course there is going to be a rather high interest in much older iPhones such as the out-of-date 5S, if one is forced to use only iPhones on Virgin, because these are the budget iPhones.

      Delete
  28. Wait, they're not even unlocked?

    Into the trash this goes!

    ReplyDelete
  29. iPhone + Sprint = iPod

    ReplyDelete
  30. iPhone se with 32 gb storage and 12 months of unlimited 4g data for $280? Boost mobile would cost $159 for the phone and $540 for 12 months of unlimited 4g data with auto pay. Virgin mobile deal is better and the $279 iPhone se can be sold after 12 months making the $280 actually less than $200 total. If boost mobile port overs are allowed for the $280 deal that would save many boost mobile customers with iPhone se $$

    ReplyDelete
  31. friend has the virgin mobile iphone se i purchased the other month from virgin mobile 32gb $159 still brand new in a sealed box. they have till now only used flip phones on virgin and i thought it would be easier for them to not change from the only carrier they ever have had. i got the boost iphone se for the hotspot feature and planned this month to help them activate their iphone se on virgin and i was going to activate my boost iphone se which i got for the hotspot. my friend till now has only used flip phones and may not like the iphone. so anyway i will ask Virgin does my friend have the option of paying the difference from $279 to $159 and having free service for a year? Any suggestions? i waited till now to activate both new phones sealed in their respective boxes as my six months with cricket is up this month and i can unlock my iphone 5s now. suggest away please

    ReplyDelete
  32. This would be a great deal if I cared to use an iPhone and never left a metro area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " if I cared to use an iPhone"

      ..... More than half of US smartphone buyers don't care to use an iPhone. In terms of Virgin and the budget-minded prepaid market, this is an even stronger difference: iPhone prices are at the top of the price scale, and prepaid customers tend to look for bargain Droids even more of the time.

      "...and never left a metro area"

      The average American has been to 12 states. This is roughly twice as many states as those that have good Sprint coverage at this time. You are dealing with pretty small group of people.

      Delete
    2. You coverage flamers obviously are reading the wrong map. The Sprint Extended network is included, and it includes data usage. This coverage is much bigger than the native network, and is not the off-network roaming that is limited to 800 minutes and 100MB/month.

      Delete
    3. Dream on about your fantasy maps. For most everyone else, Sprint is a joke.

      Delete
    4. Poor thing. Afraid to check the new Virgin Mobile coverage map.

      Delete
  33. The Apple Store will sell all iPhones unlocked including the se and 6 at full list price. They are not changing their pricing for virgin mobile activations. After buying the iPhone the customer can activate on any service they want. If the customer wants to activate on virgin mobile for the $1 for 12 months they can do that. If the customer wants to take their att go phone sim out of their Samsung j3 and use it for their new iPhone they can do that also. Apple is not locking the phone service to virgin mobile. Buy your iPhone at apple unlocked but if you buy the se or 6 buy it from the virgin mobile website for the discounted price

    ReplyDelete
  34. The Sprint postpaid offer is better, IMO. BYOP and port your number to Sprint. Pay $2.99 for SIM and $10 for overnight ship. $1.99/month line fee plus taxes (we pay $3.84 for two lines on Framily Plan now). You get 1080p streaming, 10 GB/mo. hotspot. Voice and data roaming. No need to buy a new phone. After 7/18 the price goes to $60/mon.
    https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/offers/free-unlimited.html?ECID=vanity:1yearfree

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sprint free year of Unlimited TnT+Data is extended to July 31. I just signed up. If you are porting from Google Voice, or FreedomPop that uses Google Voice numbers, be aware that the Sprint porting system cannot handle the transfer without manual intervention. Just call Sprint CS back and tell them you need help from the porting dept to complete the port manually.

      Delete
    2. Do they do a hard credit pull while signing up?

      Delete
    3. Sprint Unlimited Bring Your Phone requires a credit check as part of the account activation process. We pay $3.27/month for each phone, with autopay.

      Virgin Inner Circle $1/year plan does not require a credit check. My relative paid $1 plus 66c tax up front. At beginning of each month they subtract 8c from the $1 balance. This is with autopay.

      The Sprint plan has faster HD streaming; EG, 8Mbps for gaming, vs 2Mbps on Virgin. The Sprint plan includes 10GB hotspot, then unlimited slow. Virgin charges $10/month for that as an option.

      Delete
  35. Hey Dennis! You said you can buy the iPhones thru the Apple Store, physical location or online and will the Apple Store refurbished iPhones work or just specially designated new iPhones?!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Just activated Inner Circle on Virgin. Was charged $1 plus 66c for the first year.

    From post: "No word of whether hotspot will be allowed."
    Within my account there is a $10/month option for 10GB high speed hotspot.
    I think it's unlimited, throttled after that.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This seem fairly definitive about the unlock question, i.e., yes. https://community.virginmobileusa.com/t5/My-Account-Plans-Orders/International-Sim-Unlock-in-inner-circle-plan-with-new-iphone/td-p/6294

    ReplyDelete
  38. I was just searching Virgin Mobile Android phones -they range from $30 (on sale) to the Samsung Galaxy S8 - $649. One new ZTE model ran out in May but they had more in in June so I assume Android service is not being shut down immediately.
    Good luck finding info on the ONLY Android plan = Unlimited and its costs unless already a VM Android customer. Webpages on their plans were yanked.
    Finding the Shop Android Phones webpage - on your VM account page or here:
    https://www4.virginmobileusa.com/#!/shop/phones/@Android/

    ReplyDelete
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