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A Virgin Mobile Survey Worth Looking At


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:

Concept 1

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:

Concept 2

“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:

Widget Concept2

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):

widget

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!

*My Kickback code is dJWQc09H
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10 thoughts on “A Virgin Mobile Survey Worth Looking At”

  1. Great post Dave! I don’t consume many minutes and use magicjack at home. Interestingly enough, I add $15 every 3 months on topup and when i don’t spend that on minutes, it does accumulate. I can literally buy a phone right now with the credit balance available on my account without any of the initiation fees. I like this since it is more of a pay per use phone based on my nominal usage activity.
    Also this app might solve your check balance informatioin:

    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.jaygoel.virginminuteschecker&feature=search_result

    Have an excellent night. Cheers!

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  2. Thanks for the comment as usual, and thanks for the app suggestions. Downloading as I type 🙂

    UPDATE: I’m a bit leery of entering my account info into a third-party app and now that I have, it doesn’t display how many bonus minutes I have. I’m currently at 103 bonus minutes but the app tells me I’ve used 0/300 regular minutes for the month. So a good suggestion but I may uninstall based on those two observations…

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  3. That’s cool and you have to go with what you are comfortable with. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

    Just fyi, if you pay automatically with a credit card you are fully protected from any fraud against you. If you set it up with debit card or checking account, then you don’t have the same protections.

    I am still digging this phone. The only thing I don’t like is apps running on phone memory forces me to play “survival-which app will be booted” before I install a new app. Having the extra microsd card is only good for storing more music on my phone and only a few apps willing to work from the card side. Funny, how my old ipod touch could install as many apps as I wanted to up to my storage limit.

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    1. If that’s the case then I won’t be protected. I only have a few credit cards and we are trying to pay them off.

      Yeah, the memory is still an issue with me, too. I’ve trimmed the apps down to what I use regularly; everything else is just kind of on a trial basis for eventual deletion. It really is a shame. Perhaps the next version/latest offering will benefit from a faster processor which in turn could lead to larger memory. This is probably why it’s always running out: the slow processor can only handle so much.

      Speaking of memory, I got an app called App2SD, which will automatically ask of you want to move a downloaded app to the SD card (if possible). Works great! https://market.android.com/details?id=com.a0soft.gphone.app2sd

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  4. I have my account paid automatically by paypal which links up to my credit card. You could set it up that way if you were really concerned about any fraud. Even banks get hacked now ie. Citibank in the news.

    I have that app and agree with you. It is good. Sounds like you are enjoying your phone like me.

    I seriously thought they would have new android touch screen phones now and that the prices of these lg phones would also be less than $99. Here is my post admitting I was completely wrong: http://www.totalnoid.com/2011/06/06/lg-optimus-v-retail-price-199/

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  5. I thought we will always have unlimited SMS (Text)/MMS/3G Data with VM USA Beyond Talk plans. Then why there is need for – Available Messages and Available Data options in the My Account Widget? Is messages and 3G Data rationing coming to VM USA?

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    1. The only thing I can think of is that this widget will also be implemented in phones under the PayLo program as well, where data and messages are based on your plan. I hope…

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  6. I don’t think there is anything to worry about in regards to your plan changing. I am still on a pay as you go plan at 18 cents a minute which is no longer offered. However, since I haven’t changed into any of the current plans, my plan has never changed. Hope that helps clarify future changes doesn’t necessarily mean anyone on a current plan will lose anything or be forced to pick a new plan. I do know that once I change plans into a current plan that I will not be able to go back into a plan they no longer offer.

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  7. I’ve been with Virgin Mobile for 9 years and they have never changed plans/usage in a way that adversely affected me. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite! Over the years, the plans have given me better and better deals! The PayLo and Beyond Talk plans are affordable and a great deal for every type of mobile user!

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    1. Like my friend CHESSNOID said, his plan has never changed, either so that’s a good sign. While not my first prepaid phone (that honor went back to Tracfone back in the ’90s), Virgin Mobile definitely offers more bang for the buck than my old Verizon plan and cut our two-line bill in half. Can’t argue with that 🙂

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