A little over a year ago Virgin Mobile rebranded itself as an iPhone only prepaid provider that only offered one phone plan. The plan cost $50 a month for unlimited everything, although new subscribers were able to get up to a year of service for just $1. Virgin Mobile called this plan the Inner Circle.
The Inner Circle upset many of Virgin Mobile's Android using customer base. Many who cover the industry thought that Sprint may have been making a huge mistake by turning the prepaid brand into an iPhone only provider. Fast forward a year and that has come to fruition. Virgin Mobile is no longer an iPhone only provider with just one phone plan.
Android lovers rejoice.
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Why The Change Back?
According to commentary provided to Fierce Wireless, Virgin Mobile said the change was made to better meet its customers needs.
"Virgin is committed to providing the best experience for our customers. Virgin Android customers have asked for Androids, so we are bringing them back into our device lineup to meet this popular demand."
The company also stated that the Inner Circle plan will no longer be offered to new customers, but current subscribers on the plan will be able to keep it.
The Inner Circle plan also came with a free exclusive member benefits program. Those subscribed to it got discounts and deals on dining, fashion, entertainment and chances to win "amazing prizes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences." The member benefits program is going to stay in tact and will continue to be available to all new Virgin Mobile subscribers.
Virgin Mobile's New Phone Plans
Virgin Mobile replaced the $50/month unlimited LTE data Inner Circle plan with three new plans, including a more expensive unlimited LTE data plan. The new plan options are priced as follows:
- $35/month - 5GB of 4G LTE data
- $45/month - 10GB of 4G LTE data
- $60/month - unlimited 4G LTE data
All plans include unlimited talk and text with 50 minutes of domestic voice roaming, video streaming at a maximum resolution of 480p, music streaming at up to 500Kbps and cloud gaming at up to 24Mbps. I suspect the listing of cloud gaming at 24Mbps is a typo as Sprint has typically limited that to 2Mbps on select plans under its own brand name and with its other prepaid brand, Boost Mobile. Taxes and fees are not included in the prices shown. International calling is available as an add-on starting at $5/month.
Virgin Mobile's unlimited LTE data plan has a data prioritization policy in place after 35GB of data has been consumed in a billing cycle. Those who go over that threshold may have their data speeds temporarily slowed down during times of heavy network congestion. This is a policy similar to most other unlimited data plans on the market.
Mobile hotspot is not included with any plan but is available as an add-on. Hotspot pricing is as follows:
- Daily hotspot is available with a data cap of 500MB and priced at $3/day
- Monthly hotspot is available with data caps of 1GB and 2GB priced at $5/month and $10/month respectively
Virgin Mobile's says its hotspot add-on plans will allow you to connect your phone to up to 5 devices.
Sprint seems to be trying to do whatever it can to grow its Virgin Mobile brand. The brand has undergone a lot of changes over the past couple of years. If these new changes can't get it moving in the right direction, we may soon find the brand dissolved. In fact the company may have already taken some steps leading in that direction. Over the past few months we've seen the brand get pulled from Target stores, and Virgin Mobile laid off nearly two-thirds of its workforce. Not a good look for a brand trying to survive in a very competitive environment.