I’ve never given Virgin Mobile much attention, but their creepy Go Crazy on Android ads caught my attention and they have begun to earn my respect. This no-contract carrier, who is owned and operated by Sprint, began selling their first Android phone last year and recently started to offer the LG Optimus V.
Virgin Mobile’s most appealing attraction is their Beyond Talk Plans, which offer unlimited data and text and start as low as $25 per month.
Every one of these plans is pay-as-you-go and offers unlimited text, email, data, and web. Anytime minutes are tiered and allow you to choose from 300 for $25, 1200 for $40, or unlimited for $60.
Virgin Mobile operates on Sprint’s 3G nationwide network, which covers more than 277 million people. It appears that their “unlimited data” might begin to be throttled at 2.5 GB, but no other carrier can beat these prices for mobile Android data.
A comparison chart on the carrier’s site emphasizes the value that Virgin Mobile offers over the competition.
Customers who purchase a LG Optimus V and go with the $25 per month plan would only pay $749 over the course of two years. This results in a savings of $1200 to $1400 when compared with the big post-paid carriers and around $700 when compared to other no-contract carriers. Sprint is mysteriously missing from the chart, but you would also save around $1200 when going with Virgin Mobile.
Of course there is no contract for Virgin Mobile, so you could leave at any time and your total commitment would be as low as the phone ($149) and a couple months of service ($25 per).
I really dislike the 24-month contracts and all the games that the big carriers play on you, so I am beginning to find a new love for pre-paid phones and plans. The only disadvantages of pre-paids right now is the limited selection of Android phones and the lack of 4G support, but that should begin to change later this year.
The LG Optimus V is the best value-priced Android phone that is available, but I would like to see Virgin Mobile step their game up and offer some more mid-range Android phones and even some high-end devices (like tablets). Anything with a decent 1 GHz processor and 4-inch display for around $300 off-contract would be mighty appealing.
Not everyone needs a high-end superphone like the Motorola Atrix 4G, so if you are fully satisfied with a mid-range Android phone and 3G speeds then a pre-paid carrier makes the most sense right now. Why would anyone want to sign a 2-year commitment when they could go grab a quality Android phone (for as low as $129) and only pay $25 per month to use it?