Virgin Mobile started out in 2002 as a MNVO, using the Sprint network to provide service. Seven years later, Sprint bought Virgin, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.
Pros: Virgin Mobile offers two types of plans that fit different users' needs. Their 35 dollar Beyond Talk plan provides a lot of value for heavy data and messaging users. The 30 dollar payLo plan is a vood value for heavy voice and messaging users.
Cons: The basic rate for the payLo plans is far higher than the industry norm. Web access is also generally expensive with payLo.
Lowest Price Per Anytime Minute: $0.02 to $0.20
Virgin Mobile USA offers three Beyond Talk plans. They all include unlimited text, email, data, and web. The first includes 300 minutes and costs 35 dollars per month. The second includes 1200 minutes and costs 45 dollars per month. The third includes unlimited minutes and costs 55 dollars per month. Virgin also offers three payLo plans. The unlimited plan offers unlimited voice minutes and messages, plus 50MBof data, for 40 dollars per month. The second plan costs 20 dollars per month and provides 400 minutes. The third plan costs 30 dollars per month and provides 1500 minutes. Overages on payLo cost 10 cents per minute, except on the basic plan.
Read more about Virgin Mobile plans
Customer Service: Virgin Mobile's customer care can be reached via email or through a toll free number.
Free Nights: Available with unlimited plan
Credit Check: None
Free Weekends: Available with unlimited plan
Daily Access Fee: No
Payment Options: To pay your Virgin Mobile prepaid bill per purchase minutes, you can register a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account for automatic bill payment. You can also buy refill cards at thousands of retailers nationwide.
Text and Picture Messaging: Unlimited messaging is included with all Beyond Talk plans. The payLo rate for text messages is 15 cents, and picture messages are 25 cents each. The 30 dollar payLo plan includes 1500 messages.
Data Plans: Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk plans all include unlimited data. The 30 dollar payLo plan includes 30MB of web access and the 40 dollar plan includes 50MB. All data above that, and all data for the 10 and 20 dollar plans, costs $1.50 per MB. For an extra 15 dollars per month Beyond Talk customers can turn their pones into mobile hotspots.
Downloads: There are a large selection of ringtones, games, screensavers and wallpapers available for download starting at 1 dollar each and going up from there.
International Calling: Virgin Mobile does offer international calling. International charges include standard airtime and the international rate per minute. Rates start at 15 cents per minute and vary depending upon the destination country. You'll want to check rates with customer service for countries you plan to call prior to calling them to get current rates.
Text Messaging Available: Yes
Roaming Charges: The Virgin Mobile pay as you go phone service has no roaming charges. Your phone will not work outside your coverage area.
Text Messaging Charge For Incoming: Yes
Calling Features: Virgin Mobile service include call waiting, caller ID and voicemail.
Unlimited Text Messaging Plan Available: Yes
Activation Fee: None
Nationwide Long Distance: Virgin Mobiles includes nationwide long distance in their plans including long distance to all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Long distance calls are treated the same as regular calls.
Unlimited Plan Available: Yes
411 Calls: Yes, directory assistance is available for $1.75 per call, plus airtime charges.
Earliest Minute Expiration: Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk plans expire at the end of each month. The 30 dollar and 20 dollar payLo plans expire after one month, while the 10 dollar plan expires after 90 days.
911 Calls: Yes
Phones: Available phones start at $9.99 and include color displays. Flip phones and some camera phones are also available. One model offered by Virgin Mobile has a full keyboard for IM, email and text messaging.
Standard Calling Features: call waiting, caller ID, voicemail
Some Available Cell Models: Kyocera TNT
LG 101 (shown)
Cheapest Phone Model: $9.99