It’s hard to argue with $25/month for unlimited internet/texts for a 3G smartphone plan. Some would even call it the “Best Smartphone Deal on the Planet”. One way Virgin was able to keep their prices so low was that their smartphones had tiny screens and weren’t multimedia juggernauts. That all changed last month with the Motorola Triumph announcement. The 4.1-inch display Android 2.2 device has a front facing videochat camera and the hardware to run Flash, meaning a lot more data is going to be sucked up by these devices. Virgin Mobile also said the Motorola Triumph will be available for sale as of July 20.
So, Virgin is changing its data plans. The base model 300-minute plan is now $35/month. However, the unlimited everything plan drops to $55/month.
More bad news: In October, Virgin will cap their unlimited at 2.5GB/month and will throttle data to a still respectable 256kbps but they say only 3% of users should expect to get throttled at current usage patterns.
Press release follows:
Virgin Mobile New Beyond Talk Plans Offer Unlimited Data
Plan With No Contract
Android Devices and Unlimited Data are Best Value at $35/Month
—No Caps or Overage on Data Usage—
Also Unlimited Data, Messaging and Voice at $55
WARREN, N.J. – July 13, 2011 – Changes to pricing and data usage costs are a familiar
topic in the wireless industry these days, and customers are beginning to understand that
the dramatic increase of smartphone usage and mobile internet access, now and in the
future, means many carriers are making adjustments to their plans.
According to Nielsen’s May 2011 survey of mobile consumers in the United States, 38
percent now own smartphones. Of those consumers, 38 percent own an Android™-powered
device. Further, 55 percent of those who purchased a new handset in the past three months
reported buying a smartphone, up from 34 percent just a year ago.2
Virgin Mobile successfully repositioned itself last year with its Beyond Talk plans, catering to
the growing number of savvy connectors who want unlimited data. With the brand moving
from inexpensive pay-as-you-go and feature phones to a more smartphone-focused lineup,
Virgin Mobile will change the current Beyond Talk pricing plans effective July 20.
New Beyond Talk Plans
New Virgin Mobile plans lower the monthly price of unlimited data, text and voice to only
$55 and offer the still unbeatable2 value of unlimited data and 300 voice minutes at $35 per
month on smartphones without a contract.
Effective July 20, the Virgin Mobile new Beyond Talk plans will be:
Comparison based only on competitor pricing of monthly web and data plans for Android™-powered phones.
Voice offers and limited time offers excluded.
Existing Beyond Talk Virgin Mobile customers as of July 19 can keep their current plan
pricing as long as they don’t let their account expire, and they can upgrade to new devices
without incurring additional costs.
“Smartphone adoption has grown significantly with mobile data traffic increasing to match,”
said David Trimble, vice president for Virgin Mobile USA. “Adjusting these rates ensures that
our Beyond Talk customers can continue to enjoy the best value overall in the market for
Android devices with unlimited data and messaging. In fact, I challenge you to find a better
monthly unlimited data plan for Android devices than the Beyond Talk at $35.
“And offering unlimited data, messaging and voice usage for only $55 – $5 per month less
than the current plan – combined with our impressive smartphone line up is also a great
option for customers looking for totally unlimited connectivity.”
Last week, Verizon pulled its unlimited data plan; T-Mobile and AT&T have also moved away
from unlimited data usage. At this time, only Sprint, which owns Virgin Mobile USA, has
truly unlimited postpaid mobile data plans in place.
Beginning in October 2011, Virgin Mobile will also move to reduce data speeds when a
customer’s data usage exceeds 2.5GB in a month but still provide unlimited 3G access
without a contract, usage cap, overage or activation fees. Based on current usage patterns,
fewer than 3 percent of Virgin Mobile USA customers use more than 2.5GB of data usage
per month. After reaching this level, this minority of customers may experience slower page
loads, file downloads and streaming media. When a customer’s next month begins, the data
usage meter starts back at zero with unlimited 3G speeds.
According to Roger Entner, analyst and founder at Recon Analytics, “The unrelenting data
tsunami is challenging all carriers. So that every subscriber receives their fair share of
affordable bandwidth, new policies are being introduced such as speed throttling for the
heaviest users. Such policies help to ensure that a small minority does not prevent the vast
majority from enjoying the wireless internet in the palm of their hand.”
“We are all facing the same situation and this is the best way for Virgin Mobile to maintain
the best network experience as data usage explodes,” said Trimble. “Our no-contract and
postpaid competitors like Cricket, MetroPCS and T-Mobile have either implemented more
stringent constraints and/or don’t disclose slower speeds and data caps. We believe this
adjustment – with no hard cap or overage charges for more usage – gives the most value to
the largest group of consumers. It’s important to Sprint and the Virgin brand that we be as
up-front as possible with our customers.”
For more information about the new Beyond Talk plans, please visit our website Media
Room. Virgin Mobile also said the Motorola Triumph™ will be available for sale as of July 20.
ABOUT VIRGIN MOBILE USA
Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, offers millions of customers control,
flexibility and connectivity through Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk™ plans for mobile phone
service and prepaid Broadband2Go high-speed Web access. Virgin Mobile branded devices
are available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including Best Buy, Radio Shack, Target and
Walmart. Top-Up cards are available at approximately 150,000 locations nationwide and can
be used for Broadband2Go services. Purchase and experience Virgin Mobile on the Web and
at Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and http://www.virginmobileusa.com.