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Bring Your Own iPhone to Virgin Mobile and Get A Year of Unlimited Talk, Text & Data For $1

Sprint's Virgin Mobile is now allowing customers to bring their own iPhones to its Inner Circle plan and get a year of unlimited talk, messaging and data for one dollar plus taxes. After the first year, the plan costs $50/month, but every time a customer upgrades to a new iPhone they get another six months of service for one dollar.

To qualify for this deal you need to have an iPhone that's compatible with Sprint's network and you also have to port a phone number from another (presumably non-Sprint based) operator. To check your eligibility, enter your iPhone's IMEI serial number, the phone number you want to port and your zipcode on the web form at  www.virginmobileusa.com/plans/bring-your-device.html. If you qualify, Virgin Mobile will send you a free SIM along with instructions on setting up your iPhone on Inner Circle.

Virgin Mobile is rather vague about which iPhones qualify, saying only that "most" iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 7 Plus work on Inner Circle. However, non-Sprint iPhones need to be unlocked and the AT&T and T-Mobile versions of the iPhone 5s, 7 and 7 Plus do not support Sprint's CDMA voice network, so they obviously aren't going to work. Plus, Sprint has a history of being extremely picky and inflexible about which non-Sprint phones they will accept.

The Inner Circle plan includes unlimited on-network voice, messaging and high speed data plus unlimited voice, text and data on some of Sprint's roaming partners (labeled as Extended coverage on Virgin's coverage map) and 800 roaming minutes and 100 MB of roaming data on other Sprint roaming partners. Like most "unlimited" high speed data plans, there are some limits; video streaming is limited to 480p quality, audio streams are throttled to 500 kbps and gaming to 2 mbps. Customers using more than 23 GB of data in a month are subject to data de-prioritization when the network is congested. Using your phone as a hotspot costs an extra $10/month.

Unless it's extended, the one year of service offer ends August 31. After that, a dollar will still get you six months of service. The free SIM offer ends Sept 29, after that SIMs will be $25.

If you own an eligible iPhone and have a number to port and have Sprint coverage, this is an outstanding deal. There's no obligation to continue with Virgin after the first 12 months. I can see Inner Circle getting a lot of new customers with this offer, but I have doubts how many they will be able to keep after the first, essentially free year.

Sources: Press Release, Virgin Mobile site

19 comments:

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  1. I tried this before on an unlocked cricket iPhone SE but It didn't work on Sprint. Wonder if it will work in this?

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  2. And, if I activate service with a friend's Iphone, and then put the SIM in a Nexus 6P, will it work?

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    Replies
    1. No, Sprint checks that the IMEI matches the one the SIM was activated with and blocks service if it doesn't.

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  3. Would like to try this, but looking to find the lowest cost Iphone SE that would work with it.

    There are plenty of them in the sub 130 to 200 dollar range.

    Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

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    1. Be sure it is Sprint -based . I tried 3 NIB factory unlocked iPhone's that straight out will work with anything Sprint. But the Virgin mobile site deemed them uneligble. Entered a NIB Sprint -based iPhone 6 came back as eligble. virgin Mobile is saying that "most" iPhones will work but , i do not believe that is the case.

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    2. Those $130 - $200 SE's are locked to other prepaid operators and won't work. The simplest, safest option is buying the SE directly from Inner Circle for $280. A used Sprint SE is also possible but buying a used iPhone is a minefield of bad-ESN and iCloud locked phones. If you go the used route be sure to validate the IMEI with Inner Circle before buying.

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    3. Check on Swappa, lots of great deals! https://swappa.com/buy/apple-iphone-se-sprint

      https://swappa.com/buy/apple-iphone-se-a1723-unlocked

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  4. Thanks Dennis, for your input.

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  5. Still not worth it.

    They'd have to throw in a free 6s Plus before I'd bite.

    It can be locked to Sprint so long as I'm not paying for the inconvenience.

    But the last thing anyone wants is to spend hundreds on a phone just to find out Sprint's native coverage still sucks.

    After all, the entire point of this offer is to offset the price of an iPhone with free service.

    If the service is unusable, you're stuck paying full retail with nothing to show for it.

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  6. The SE has a Sprint specific version model number a1723. All of the iPhone 6, 6s, and 7 work on a network. Not sure about the iPhone 7 plus thom

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  7. Buy a new iphone se for boost mobile service for $159 instead of $279 from virgin mobile and that should qualify for the promotion has anyone tried this?

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  8. Xfinity Mobile is running a sale on phones. The iPhone 6s is $250. Will that work? The LG X Charge is $1. Too bad Virgin won't take it.

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    Replies
    1. If you get it unlocked by Xfinity, the 6s *should* work on Inner Circle.

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  9. Will the Boost Iphone SE or cpo Iphone 6 plus be accepted on Virgin?

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    Replies
    1. I doubt it. Boost phones have never been allowed on Virgin.

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  10. How much are the taxes and fees on the Virgin Inner circle plan?

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    Replies
    1. That depends on your location. Whatever sales or other direct to consumer tax you state and city charges on a $1 airtime purchase plus any point of sale e911 fees they collect. Probably less than 10¢ in locations that don't have a per month e911 fee.

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  11. Virgin's used iPhone 6S look like bargains at $249-329 for 16, 64 and 128GB models.
    I suggest you ignore those iPhones and buy a new one or bring your own, based on my experience. The 6S I bought arrived with a significant flaw. There was no return label in the box, so I called VM-IC to request one. CS was not trained to help; they referred my problem to their 'Back Office,' which eventually asked for photos. I heard nothing, so I called again, then waited for FEDEX to deliver a return label. A small, thin padded envelope arrived in a large box. I called to confirm that they wanted the iPhone, charger, cable and SIM card returned in that envelope. It ships USPS First Class, so it's limited to 16 oz. VM-IC assured me this was OK, and "guaranteed" there would be no shipping damage (they provide no insurance, or did not know). A week after return delivery, I called again to get status and was assured the financial dept. was now coordinating. My refund arrived several days later.
    7 calls, which lasted a total of several hours; two emails with photos; and no VM-IC feedback at each step until I called and asked for status. 16 days from first call to refund, but at least I got it.
    Maybe VM-IC will improve their QA and return process in a few months.

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