This morning, Virgin Mobile announced a new plan to give users maximum control over the plan. Virgin Mobile Custom is a new plan that allows users to change their plan on the fly in an effort to save even more money. While the traditional staples of talk, text and data are factored into the plan, it goes deeper than that. Virgin Mobile Custom takes services and apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Spotify and turns them into extras that you can pay more for on your bill.
Plans are set up in a family style, with talk, text and data split between up to five people. One user, presumably the parent, can adjust the plan for every user, bringing parental control to an entirely new level. Not only can talk, text and data be limited and controlled, but a parent can disable apps and services at different times of the day. For example, a parent could cut off social media during the school day and at night. The options are wide open.
Such an approach brings with it major concerns. The quick customization could easily be abused and gives parents a level of control that some would argue they shouldn’t have. Virgin Mobile Custom is also markedly against net neutrality. By turning services into items to pay for on your bill, it’s prioritizing services over others on the Internet. Even from a practical standpoint, the move doesn’t make much sense by charging users extra for services if they would prefer them not to count towards their normal data allotment. Even a simple link from one of those services will take you from it into something else, which will count towards your data.
Talk and text can be shared between lines by paying for a certain amount, or users can individually get options for unlimited talk or text. Data is shared between users, but can be allotted by the plan controller if they feel the need to do that. Unlimited data is not an option on Virgin Mobile Custom. The plan is currently only available on three new budget devices: the LG Unify for $129.88, the LG Pulse for $99.88 and the ZTE Pulse for $79.88.
While Virgin Mobile Custom has glaring flaws, it’s designed for a crowd that likely won’t be concerned with them. Virgin Mobile Custom is targeted at the crowd looking to save as much money as possible. In reality though, better deals can often be found elsewhere, along with plans that don’t blatantly infringe on net neutrality.