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.
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.
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 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.
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