Hey, guess what? I got another Virgin Mobile survey in my inbox today and let me tell you, this one is definitely worth sharing.
First of all, it seems that Virgin Mobile is considering a few new interesting options that include “free” lifetime upgrades and, what I will cover first, The Virgin Mobile Phone Fund:
Just as the image dictates, this plan will give payment-punctual users a cool $5 credit each month which can then be applied toward the purchase of a brand-spanking-new phone of their choice (a year from the start of the program, I assume). Seems like a pretty good deal provided you are on a Beyond Talk plan and if you’re not, well, then I guess you wouldn’t qualify. But hey, $60 a year toward the purchase of a new phone is not bad at all and might be enough of an incentive to get people to switch over. This also might imply that Virgin Mobile has a few new models coming up so hey, it’s a win in my book.
I guess my only question would be if this plan is available for those who have the auto-payment option (like yours truly). This pretty much means that I’ll always be on time and that those extra $5 a month are in my pocket just waiting to be used at the end of the year. No other details were given, such as if the credits can be carried over to the following calendar year.
The next feature is also kind of cool provided you want to spend some extra money. This one is called Virgin Mobile’s Free Phones for Life:
“Free” does, however, come with a few caveats:
- You must pay a one-time $300 “initiation fee” when you join the program, and
- You must select the $60 Beyond Talk Unlimited monthly plan and make your payments on time (penalty for late payment was not listed)
I suppose that is a good deal if you go through phones like toilet paper or just want to upgrade sans contract every year as I wished I could have when I was with Verizon. I would have no problem paying a initiation fee under one condition: different initiation fee levels for different Beyond Talk plans. For example:
- $100 for the $25 plan
- $200 for the $40 plan
- $300 for the $60 plan
As it is, I rarely come close to using up my 300 minutes under my current plan and the way I’ve been getting Kickback* minutes (thanks to all of you fantastic readers and for your comments as well), there are months that I don’t use my paid minutes. And at home, I use Skype to save even more of my minutes. The $60 plan is definitely out of my league but if things were a little more the way I mentioned in the bullet list above, they might have me on this one. I wish they’d consider such a pricing schedule.
So should these plans come to fruition, and I certainly hope they do, upgrading to a new phone comes down to these options:
- Get up to $60 a year toward the purchase of a new phone without a fee and stay on a cheap Beyond Talk plan, or
- Get free phones for life with a one-time $300 fee and a $60 Beyond Talk plan
As for me, the first choice is the best. While I’d love a free phone for life, the point of our switching to Virgin Mobile was to save money on our monthly cell phone bill. I like paying $50/month for two lines; there’s no way to get me to pay $120/month for minutes that will go to waste. I was paying that when I left Verizon so it’s just not going to happen and, quite honestly, I can’t afford that.
Unless, you know, they take my suggestion of initiation fees based on your current monthly plan…
Lastly, there’s this future plan that is more of a feature than anything else. Dig this:
At long last, Virgin Mobile is considering a My Account widget that actually does something. Currently, at least on my Optimus V, the My Account widget does nothing but take me to the Virgin Mobile site which, in most cases, can never be accessed. It’s a real pain when I want to check how many minutes I have remaining and as such, I’m always in the dark until I can get access to a computer. And that totally sucks.
With the planned widget, users will have a choice of access options that include the following (my preferences shown below in order of what I deemed important):
Really, Virgin Mobile? You need a consumer panel to tell you that we need this widget? I could easily access my available minutes and account info on all of my previous Virgin Mobile dumbphones yet on my Android OS, this has yet to materialize? While I’m all for this, I’m wondering what the heck took them so long to offer this widget.
If anything, I’m glad that I was given the choice of which features I wanted on it. I’d be happy with my first four choices seen in the image above; everything else is just superfluous.
UPDATE 6/12/11: As an eagle-eyed reader pointed out, two of the options listed above are “Available Data” and “Available Messages” which could imply that Virgin Mobile has plans for limiting both and mark the end of unlimited data and text messages under their Beyond Talk plans. My only guess for those would be that the widget would also be on phones under their PayLo program which does limit both, and that’s what I am certainly hoping for because killing unlimited data and text messages would be a stupid move from a consumer’s standpoint. That’s one of their biggest selling points at the moment. But as for now, pure speculation. [Thanks, Wadya]
So there you have it. Looks like the future is bright for us Virgin Mobile customers. Any thoughts on all of this? Leave a comment below and, thanks to WordPress, you can now log-in using either your Facebook or Twitter accounts! And as always, I will continue to post surveys as I get them and as long as I remain a customer.
Now go and have your say!