Apple's iPhone coming to Virgin Mobile with $30/mo. plans June 29



  • Reply 21 of 36
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member

    Sprint is doing a MAJOR overhaul to their entire network called Network Vision. In addition to adding LTE, they are also adding a lot more backhaul to increase data speed for 3G as well. It will also expand coverage and now that Nextel and IDEN are being retired, all that Nextel 800Mhz spectrum that is good for building penetration and covers more miles from the tower will be used for Sprint's and Virgin Mobile's CDMA. So things will improve dramatically on Virgin Mobile very soon. For anyone curious, you can read more here. He gives maps, rollout cities, and tons more info. On the home page today he shows the Sprint LTE map for Atlanta that is ready to launch. 





  • Reply 22 of 36
    fishyesquefishyesque Posts: 725member
    I have VM and love it. I first had an incredible with Verizon and then paid to cancel my contract so I could be with VM. I signed up when they had their $25 a month plan, and I'm locked in to that plan. I have no problem paying the full price, but I'd much. Rather have the newest iPhone when it comes out.

    I live in salt lake city, Utah and have great coverage. I never drop calls.
  • Reply 23 of 36
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post



    Are my eyes going, or was this yellow before?



    Originally Posted by Fishyesque View Post

    I have VM and love it. I live in salt lake city, Utah and have great coverage. I never drop calls.


    There we go! That's what I want to see: People's experience with it AND where they live.

  • Reply 24 of 36
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member


    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Are my eyes going, or was this yellow before?



    There we go! That's what I want to see: People's experience with it AND where they live.



    If you want to check local coverage, go here and look at Sprint maps since that is what VM uses. Completely unbiased and they use actual customers for their reports. 



    Yes, it was yellow, but the green map is more complete.

  • Reply 25 of 36
    cvaldes1831cvaldes1831 Posts: 1,832member


    Originally Posted by focher View Post

    You should just switch to Straight Talk. It's an MVNO for AT&T (similar to what Virgin Mobile is to Sprint - except Sprint owns VM but AT&T doesn't own Straight Talk). You can use an AT&T locked phone with Straight Talk. It's $45/mo for unlimited voice and text, plus the 2-3GB data (which they call "unlimited"). The only thing you give up is Visual Voicemail, the tethering option, and the option to roam internationally. In all other ways, you are on the AT&T network and get the same coverage and quality.


    I should point out that, from a pure total cost perspective it makes no sense to ever buy a locked phone. When you incorporate the resale value, it's always cheaper to just buy the phone upfront and not get yourself into a long term contract. Maybe it's a cash flow decision for people who don't want to shell out the money upfront, but from a total cost of ownership you always pay more for a subsidized phone.


    Straight Talk is a discount brand of another discount company, TracFone. Like Straight Talk, TracFone doesn't have their own towers. It is the American subsidiary of America Movil, the Mexican telecommunications giant.


    There are a few other things Straight Talk customers don't get. There are no amenities like micro-cells or free access to AT&T WiFi hotspots. Also, if you want a twenty-page bill that lists everyone you called or texted, you won't get that from Straight Talk. The customer account section of Straight Talk's website is really only good for managing payment options (e.g., adding refill cards or signing up for auto-pay). They don't provide a log of the numbers you've called/texted. They also don't provide any option to block callers. With Straight Talk you really are renting a dumb pipe.


    From a total cost perspective, there is no sense to buy a subsidized handset. The sticker shock is apparently a motivator for some people. When comparing similar plans from AT&T and Straight Talk, the break-even point is at month six (early termination fee with AT&T not included).


    AT&T: $199 subsidized handset, $36 activation/upgrade fee, $120 per month ($70 unlimited talk, $20 unlimited text, $30 cellular data 3GB). Six month out-of-pocket expenses: $955. Two-year out-of-pocket expenses: $3115


    Straight Talk: $649 retail handset, $15 SIM card (one-time purchase), $45 per month (unlimited talk/text, cellular data 2GB soft cap). Six month out-of-pocket expenses: $934. Two year out-of-pocket expenses: $1744


    Even if you went with the cheapest plan from the big three carriers, it's barely worth it.


    AT&T (cheapest option): $199 subsidized handset, $36 activation/upgrade fee, $60 per month ($40 for 450 min. talk, no text plan, $20 cellular data 300MB). Six month out-of-pocket expenses: $595. Two-year out-of-pocket expenses: $1675.


    So for three dollars more a month, I'm getting unlimited talk/text and an additional 1.7GB of cellular data. No contract, I can walk away at any time and not pay the pro-rated $325 early termination fee. Plus the handset is already unlocked, I can take it overseas and drop in a local SIM.

  • Reply 26 of 36
    huffcwhuffcw Posts: 53member

    In addition to Straight Talk, there are a number of other AT&T MVNO with different pre-paid options. For example, if you are a light user, you can get a $10/mo plan from AirVoice wireless. 


    For this reason, if I was to buy a contract iPhone, I would get it with AT&T because you have more options for pre-paid services (that make the switch as easy as inserting a new SIM) once your contract is over. Plus AT&T has great coverage where I live (Southeast Michigan) and has consistently much faster data speeds than Sprint or Verizon.

  • Reply 27 of 36
    mdcatmdcat Posts: 79member

    It would take a LOT to improve on THIS VM coverage map:


    Lotsa white space

  • Reply 28 of 36

    Too bad Sprints coverage sucks and their speed is slow as balls.

  • Reply 29 of 36
    xamianxamian Posts: 37member


    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    I'd like your location for reference, if that's not too much trouble. Just want to weigh my options.


    I'm in Erie, PA - crossroads of Interstates 90 and 79. 4th largest city in PA. It sucks here too. I switched to Straight Talk and have much, much better service for only $10 more than I was paying on Virgin Mobile. Found a nice iPhone 4 for less than $250 off ebay too.

  • Reply 30 of 36
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member


    Originally Posted by GoonerYoda View Post

    Too bad Sprints coverage sucks and their speed is slow as balls.


    Speak for yourself. I don't doubt it is slow in some areas, but it is plenty fast for me at 800kbps to as fast as 2Mbps with an average speed of about 1.1Mbps. No, that is not as fast as AT&T, but LTE will put everyone on a level playing field pretty soon.  And as far as voice is concerned, it is as good as Verizon and better than AT&T for me at least. Your town might vary. Network Vision on Sprint will also drastically improve voice, data, and coverage once complete. It is being rolled out now and will be finished by the end of 2013. 


    Originally Posted by mdcat View Post

    It would take a LOT to improve on THIS VM coverage map:


    Lotsa white space

    Most of that white space is in the mountain west with a very small population. Sprint covers about 285 million people.  

  • Reply 31 of 36
    fishyesquefishyesque Posts: 725member

    I also have to disagree with this, at least in my area.  While speed obviously isn't always consistent, when I use my phone to hotspot, I can stream games, as well as netflix, with out any issue.


    It all depends on the area.  The one thing that bothers me is the 2.5 limit before being throttled. Now I can't watch any kind of video until the next month starts.

  • Reply 32 of 36
    woochiferwoochifer Posts: 382member

    This is exactly what I've been waiting for.  As tempting as the iPhone is, I see little benefit to getting tied to a costly contract with extra minutes and texting that I will never fully use.  To put things into perspective, I use a prepaid AT&T feature phone and refill $25 every 90 days with rollover minutes -- basically an entire year of cell phone service for $100.  At the moment, my prepaid balance is over $60, and in the entire time I've had the phone, I've only refilled the minutes inside of 90 days once.  For iOS apps, I use an iPod touch, which meets my needs most of the time, but I do see the utility in having a mobile data connection. So, I had been looking into ways of popping my SIM card into an unlocked iPhone and adding a data package on an as-needed basis, until AT&T cut off the data plans for its pay-as-you-go prepaid customers last month.  Virgin Mobile's $30/month plan is perfect for light talkers who primarily want the mobile data capability. 


    The prepaid phone market is the fastest growing cell phone segment, and a major untapped market that Apple has yet to enter.  With the majority of contract customers already having moved over to smartphones, much of the low hanging fruit has already been picked. Despite the high device cost, I see a lot of opportunity for Apple here.


  • Reply 33 of 36
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,174member
    What virgin should do to reduce the sticker shock is offer to sell the iPhone in installments, like their sister company does over here in Oz. Here you can choose over 12 or 24 months if you don't want to pay it all upfront. So you pay $30 for the service and then an additional monthly amount for the hardware, which would differ depending on the model iPhone (16,32,64 GB). These additional payments cease once the phone is paid off, leaving you with $30/month.

    More transparent, makes it easier to purchase.
  • Reply 34 of 36


    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

    bargain hunters


    It's horrifying to acknowledge our cost per year with AT&T averages $1134 per phone/per year.


    Subsidizing phones hides the true cost of devices behind a thin veil and screws us all with high monthly rates. We should calculate, as closely as possible, our true cost over the useful lives of our devices.


    Our case:


    We keep our iPhones for about two years. Our actual AT&T bill is $171 (two iPhones, family talk). Assuming they have good coverage here (I'll look into that later), VM will offer service at $30 per month/per phone: the data and minute plans are about equal; VM’s text messaging plan is better (read: non-exploitative).


    Since taxes account for 17% of our AT&T bill, for the summary below I've assumed the actual VM bill to be ~$36 per month/per phone after taxes. We live in New York, so we're well acquainted with enormous tax percentages and 'special' taxes (i.e. rental cars) inflating bills by shocking amounts.




    Two iPhones plus 8.25% sales tax [sic] @ $216.50  = $433

    Two years @ $171/m  = $4104

    Cost per phone/per year: ~$1134.25 (replacing every two years)


    Total after two years: ~$4537


    Virgin Mobile


    Two iPhones and 8.25% sales tax @ $703.63  = $1407.25

    Two years @ $72/m  = $1728

    Cost per phone/per year: ~$783.81 (replacing every two years)


    Total after two years: ~$3135.25


    Our savings over two years ~$1402.75

    Savings per phone/per year ~$350
  • Reply 35 of 36
    Not worth the hassle. Long time Virgin customer but they seem completely unable to transfer my account to an iPhone. Over 8 hours on a landline with customer service, not counting 2 1/2 hours in a Radio Shack, and still no phone service. I am very tired of resetting phone and having people tell me they will fix it. Not to mention the couple of times I got dropped on hold and then had to go thought the totally worthless virtual assistant "Alex.". I guess you don't get what you pay for, I nw am the proud owner of the world's most expensive iPod Touch. They were even trying to sell me Apple Care after 5 hours of not being able to get the phone to work. Two different phones, no connectivity to Virgin and they act like this is normal. Save yourself from this purgatory and go with another provider.
  • Reply 36 of 36
    I got the iPhone 4s from virgin mobile and it works great and I live in new York city
    I pay $55 for 1200 min unlimited text and data and hot spot. Data speed works great
    So I would say it a great deal. ????
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