Mar 08 AT 5:48 PM Taylor Wimberly 57 Comments

Virgin Mobile goes crazy on Android, no-contract unlimited data and text for only $25 per month

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.

Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk Plans.

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.

Virgin Mobile offers the lowest prices for Android fans.

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?

Source: Virgin Mobile

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Todd

    Someone needs to add the iPhone to that matrix! I imagine it would be even more a year than the Bravo!

  • http://Website ari-free
    Follow his twitter feeds to see if he’s mentioned me yet
    That’s crazy, right?

  • http://Website Joe

    All 5 of the competitors’ plans they list have more minutes — 2 of them are unlimited. Compared to Cricket or MetroPCS, they’re more expensive for the same plans. And then you have to look at how much they charge for going over.

    • http://Website Anonymous

      That maybe true, but Virgin doesn’t throttle your data after 1GB like Cricket does.
      Besides, 1200 minutes for $40.00 is still a ton of minutes.
      And furthermore, when I was using Virgin’s MiFi HotSpot, it was just plain $40.00, no taxes.
      (Even though they had to get greedy and raise it to $50.00 and limit it to 5GB.)

      I had a chance to play with both the Samsung Intercept, and the LG Optimus V. Both were good phones, but the Samsung Intercept’s screen seemed choppy, & comes with a slight version of TouchWiz (Notification Bar, menu’s, etc.), and the LG comes in Vanilla Android.

      If I wasn’t happy with Verizon and their service, I would totally jump on this with the Optimus V.

    • http://Website set2374

      That’s a fair observation–the ad isn’t comparing apples to apples. VM’s unlimited talk, text, web service is $60 a month. VM, however, includes tax in the number so it works out to be even with Cricket and MetroPCS. After accounting for the fact that Cricket and MetroPCS do NOT include tax in their quote and Cricket is selling an Ascend which isn’t as good and MetroPCS is charging a $100 more for their phone, VM still comes out on top. Also, if you don’t need unlimited minutes, why pay of them. VM gives you the option of going for a less expensive plan. Btw—with the quick settings app, you can tether over WIFI with up to 5 other devices–it’s just not supported natively (big deal!!!).

      I am currently on Verizon with a basic 750 minute family plan with two lines for my wife and me. We have flip style dumb phones (after having ditched our first gen blackberry storms– horrible to use and not worth a data plan). We don’t have a texting or data plan and we are paying $70 a month with taxes. This gives me everything for $50 a month. The phone can be had a Target for $129.99, and you get a $20 Target gift card to boot (lowering the price effectively to $109.00). This is a fantastic deal for a well reviewed phone!! Yeah, it may not be a motorola atrix or iphone 4. If you’re looking for gaming prowess and media consumption this may not satisfy you, but for 90% of the people out there–this phone will give them everything they need and more for a dirt cheap monthly. I am going to pick up two of these phones–if I can just find a place that has them in stock.

    • http://Website Zach

      You’re right, if you want more minutes it doesn’t necessarily come out cheaper. But the thing with other carriers is that you’re often forced into buying an unlimited minute plan because that’s all they sell.

  • http://Website Dylan Andersen

    Pretty sure Sprint is missing from the chart because Sprint owns Virgin Mobile.

  • http://Website Tony

    Wow, that IS a good deal. I was always so distracted by they’re “crazy” ads that i never even paid attention to what it was actually talking about lol.

  • http://Website jevyjav

    Damn I wish this was GSM I would love to port my nexus over

    • http://Website set2374

      Ahhh–but you get much better coverage (IMO) and call quality on a CDMA system.

  • Krubuntu

    If you can tether with that LG I’m all about it!

    • http://Website set2374

      No problem–you can tether. It’s not natively supported in the phone, but the hardware is there. All you have to do is downloan quick settings from the app store and you’re good to go! Search for quick settings on youtube for a demonstration. It works!

      • http://Website Adam

        I can personally attest to the fact that the “Quick Settings” trick really does work on this phone. I love this little guy, unlimited text, unlimited data/hotspot for only 25 bucks a month.

  • Dr.Jeckyl

    So since they use Sprints network can you buy say an EVO 4G off Craigslist and get a plan with Virgin or do you HAVE to use their phones?

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I’m pretty sure that Virgin Mobile does not officially support this. They want you to use their phones on their network.

  • Josh

    I’m totally thinking about paying Sprint’s $150 ETF on my EVO and taking it to Virgin! I barely talk on my phone but use the internet like crazy. I could probably get away with the $25 plan!! Right now I’m paying $71/mo for my EVO and that is with a 27% discount.

    • http://Website Stephen

      I did that exact thing except I went from the Hero to the Intercept. They were similar phones, but I missed the better screen of the Hero. I can’t imagine coming from the Evo. Wait for better phone.. rumors show one may be coming.

  • http://Website Dan

    I was totally excited to change my plan – until I realized this was for Virgin Mobile USA and not Canada :(

  • http://Website Pavel

    I bought my mom the intercept for virgin mobile and it’s pretty good for her needs. My friend got the optimus and said it’s better than the iphone 3gs.. unfortunately going to either of these phones would be a HUGE downgrade from my nexus one, so I’m one of those idiots waiting for the thunderbolt.

  • http://Website revs

    wow !
    hows virgins coverage and data speeds?
    where i am (ny) up and down east coast t-mobile is flawlesss and i average 5mbs down up on mt4g

    • Taylor Wimberly

      Their coverage and data speeds are exactly what you would experience over Sprint 3G. In other words, pretty good. Download speeds top out around 3 Mbps and coverage is nationwide.

  • http://Website Alan

    Those commercials are pretty amazing. I wish other companies were willing to take risks like that, TV would be a little more interesting to watch.

  • http://Website D.J.

    If we could get Sprint phones like the Evo or the Epic, this would be insane.

    • http://Website set2374

      That would be nice, but it’s not going to happen. Sprint needs a reason to induce people to pay more for their plans. VM is a budget oriented carrier and you will not get top tier phones in their lineup. What you may get though, is a slightly dumbed down version of a Samsung Galaxy, with the same 1ghz hummingbird procecessor and 5mp phone, but with an 3.5″ LCD screen instead of the 4″ OMLED. Check out the Galaxy Indulge on the MetroPCS site and I would bet that you will see this same phone drop on VM in the next few months.

  • http://Website Bob

    game changer

  • http://Website erfs

    This is a good deal. I left Tmobile for VM, because Tmobile’s coverage isn’t even better, but I was paying $60 per month for the exact same level of service. Actually even less, since I only got 400 texts with tmo. However, Tmo’s 3G was much much faster than VMs. If this seems too good to be true, it’s because it almost is. Sprint throttles data speed, reserving most of the BW for sprint customers. Sometimes VM 3G can be slower than Tmo 2G. However, You don’t buy an Optimus V planning to watch Hulu anyway. I bought it for all the other uses for a smartphone, mainly so I can google talk, email, text, access my calendar, occasionally surf the net (that has mainly moved to my nook color now). So, for that the data speed is fine – you don’t need fast data to get push email notifications.

    But alas, VMs data service is bad. Many people with the optimus V are having the same problem as me: our phones are silently losing their data connections. The 3G icon still shows up, the phone still has an IP address, but you simply cannot visit any websites, download any email, or do anything that uses any data. One second you will have data. Pick up your phone randomly during the day to google something, and find that your phone has no data, even though the UI is sitting there telling you it does via the 3G icon. Toggle 3G data, or airplane mode, or in some cases reboot as the only way to fix it, and find that you have 5 or 6 emails waiting for you – you didn’t get them because they weren’t pushed to your phone because it silently lost its data connection without alerting you. A smartphone without data is not very smart at all.

    I’m not posting all this to complain, I’m posting this to warn people. This seems like news, but the $25 plans have been around since 2010, and the intercept has been on VM for a while now. I’m had the optimus V for a month, which is a much better phone than the intercept out of the box, except for lack of keyboard. I’ve and many others have had the data problem as long as we’ve had the phone.

  • http://Website chicagoannie

    I am not a tech whiz, just a mom, so excuse if I don’t use the correct terms. If I wanted to download a movie or show with the Optimus V using a Virgin Mobile prepaid plan, could I somehow transfer the movie to my laptop? If so….how?

  • http://Website Michael

    I have an Evo already, is there a way to make it work on Virgin since it’s the same network?

  • http://Website Miguel

    I’m wondering how Verizon is only $124 more expensive than T-Mobile over 2 years??? Seems like a glitch in the Matrix to me…

  • Mr. SEO Company

    Any one know how virgin mobile is signal wise. May consider getting this as a extra phone. I’m gonna look into this offer and find out what the final bill would be with fees and taxes each month. Cant go wrong with unlimited data and text but I guess that depends on the quality of the service.

    • http://Website Chris

      That $25 pretty much includes all taxes and fees. I think I get charged something like $26 and change each month. So it’s basically an extra $1 on top of that $25. Awesome deal….

  • Primum Agmen

    There isn’t actually a limited number of Android phones available, all you need to do is unlock any other phone you might have that is capable of working on Sprint’s network. Once you’ve unlocked your phone (which, here at least, isn’t a costly process – £15 is the general price, not sure what it would be in the US), you can use any network your SIM is capable of using.

    So, so long as you’re willing to get your phone unlocked, you have unlimited choice in the matter of phone, limited only by the necessity that it must function on Sprint’s network. Evo 4G, anyone?

    Non-contract deals like this are common as muck in the UK, and are one of the main reasons why competition is so good – you enter into a contract for cheaper phones (generally free phones, here). The fact cross subsidisation in the US is so low is surprising.

    Either way, Taylor, you *can* use any phone so long as you have the right SIM, and the phone is unlocked. Both T-Mobile and AT&T will unlock your phones for you, though with some conditions and AT&T refuse to unlock iPhones. Find yourself a local phone shop and ask them if they can do phone unlocking. Most places in the UK do, though I have no idea about the US.

    • Toxigenicpoem

      nope, these are cdma phones no sim cards. And sprint locks down the ESNs.

  • Primum Agmen

    Ahh, CDMA doesn’t work the same way. The best I can suggest is possibly call up Virgin Mobile USA and ask if they would register the ESN of phones from off network or not. Sprint allow you to do that, but I have no idea if Virgin would allow you to do the same.

    I’m sure you’d be doing everyone a favour if you rang up and asked, it’d certainly be a big plus for Virgin if they did allow it.

  • http://Website Chris

    There’s also a rumor that VM will be coming out with a high-end android phone in the near future. That is what I am holding out for!

  • http://Website First and last day as Virgin Customer

    I decided to give Virgin Mobile and the Optimus V a try. After 24 hours, I’ve not seen the first sign of 3G access. After calling support (and waiting 30 minute on hold), they confirmed the outage.

    They promised to get back to me and stated that the typical time for “investigation” is SEVENTY-TWO HOURS.

    By the way, the battery lasts about 4 hours and I’ve not used to phone for anything.

    Thank goodness for 30 day trial periods.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I would give the phone another couple of days. The Optimus V should easily last you 12 hours. A network outage could have caused battery drain if the phone was searching for a signal.

      • http://Website First and last

        I actually had to turn it off to charge it. Apparently it was burning juice faster than it could charge while on.

        Oh, and the hold music for tech support is a crime against humanity. Make it stop!

        • http://Website chicagoannie

          First and Last – where are you located?

          • http://Website First and last

            I’m in Palm Beach County, FL. The service is working now. I still have a few weeks of trial period left and will give Virgin another chance (mainly because I’m sick of paying ATT $85/mo).

    • http://Website First and last

      It’s been three days now and 72 virgins mobile has been down almost half the time. I give up.

  • http://Website guest

    It’d be awesome if we could use the samsung epic 4g in virgin mobile’s network. i’m currently with t mobile my bill comes out to 93.36 cause i’m paying of a samsung vibrant and insurance is like 5.99 without those two things my bill would come out to like $67

  • http://Website Wadya

    Samsung Intercept on Virgin Mobile is better than LG Optimus V. It would be get if they bring Samsung Transform on Virgin Mobile. The next step could be to bring Samsung Epic 4G (when 4G is available for Virgin Mobile USA customers). Go Virgin Mobile USA! The 25 USD for unlimited SMS (Text) / MMS / Data is what makes Android phone on Virgin Mobile USA rock!

  • http://Website Tom Murray

    The BIG advantage of the Virgin Mobile Optimus View is that it offers free unlimited hotspot. If you download the free BATTERY DOCTOR it turns the hotspot on and off at no additional cost. It drained the battery but is great for those times you need to use your laptop on the go.

  • http://Website Tom Murray

    I am referring to the Optimus V, above. I accidentally typed Optimus View. Sorry.

  • http://Website Bill

    I started having trouble with my Verizon Droid phone a few days ago, finally it became unusable so I went over to Best Buy and got the LG Optimus V. You just grab the box it comes in off the rack and pay for it, then go home and choose your plan and activate it from the Virgin Mobile website. Easy as pie. You don’t have to sit there fooling around with the tiresome cellphone activation people at the store at all.

    I’ll test it out for the next few days but my first impression is very positive. The phone is snappy and responsive, everything works, call quality is good. $25/month is an incredible price, I can terminate my Verizon contract early and make up the penalty in a couple of months. If I don’t like it I can return it to Best Buy for a full refund with 30 days.

  • http://Website mindless728

    The best thing to do to get unlimited calling on VM is to get a google voice account and use GroovIp ($4 app) and have it set to always use groove

    you loose a bit of call quality for having unlimited calling on a $25 plan

  • Akken

    Way to call it with the 4 inch screen and 1 ghz processor, looks like virgin mobile or motorola read your page #motorolatriumph. Now just ask for a dual core from htc

  • JC

    I really appreciated reading these reviews by everyone. I have few questions: 1) Does it have threaded messaging? 2) Can I check my email? 3) Can I upload music to it? 4) Does it have any apps like angry birds to entertain my children with? 5) How’s the battery life? Thank you. Hope I can get some answers…

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  • Matt

    Motorola triumph is out on VM and its pretty close to the phone described in the 2nd to last paragraph

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  • charles

    lol that comparrison picture has a fail on it,. it says how virgin mobile is so much cheaper than all them cell phone companies,. it shows on there if you pay virgin mobile 25.00 a month, u get unlimited text, web,. but if u want unlimited talk you have to pay 60.00 where MetroPCS is only 50.00 a month and gives you all the unlimited features virgin mobile has for 60.00 a month,……

    Nice fail.