Virgin Mobile Increases, Decreases Plan Pricing (Update: Grandfathering Official!)

UPDATED 7/15/11: Scroll to bottom of post for details.

Courtesy Tech Crunch

I woke up to some not-so-happy news today.

Last week, Tech Crunch reported that Virgin Mobile would be increasing the cost on two of their Beyond Talk plans as much as $10 per line, which means that they will be bumped to the following:

  • 300 minutes: $25 to $35
  • 1200 minutes: $35 to $40

The good news only goes to users on the Unlimited or BlackBerry plans, who will see their bills drop slightly:

  • Unlimited: $60 dropped to $55
  • BlackBerry plans get their $10 add-on fee dropped

Fierce Wireless goes on the record as saying the increases will happen this week.

Naturally, the news will not set will with subscribers seeing the increase unless, of course, Virgin Mobile lets current subscribers keep their current plan. I’m hoping that’s the case because a 40% increase to my cell phone bill for which I hardly use minutes seems outrageous. $35 for 300 minutes is just $5 short of Metro PCS’s Unlimited Everything plan.

I’m still searching for an official word on being grandfathered to my plan but noting concrete yet. A friend of mine has been grandfathered into his current plan for years so I suppose there is hope. There is no official word from Virgin Mobile about grandfathering.

But all in all, I’m not entirely surprised by the increase. With phone and data plans reaching ridiculous levels, I’m sure Virgin Mobile is seeing an increase in customers as well so that might be a strain on Sprint’s resources and it’s safe to say that there are those that tether their phones and abuse their $25 plans beyond belief.

Any advice? If I knew for sure these were happening this week, I’d get in on their current pricing just in case grandfathering happens. So if you were waiting for that new Motorola TRIUMPH in the hopes of paying $25/mo., it might cost you a bit more now by having to buy and live with a cheap Virgin Mobile feature phone today, keep the $25 plan, then buying the TRIUMPH. At least I think that’s how it would work.

And if you think about it, it’s a really stingy money grab for Virgin Mobile with TRIUMPH coming out on July 19. If, and this is not official yet, you join before July 19th, you will be an established customer and not subject to the rate increase. So essentially, you will buy and be stuck with a cheap phone that nobody will want should you decide to sell it once you get the TRIUMPH. Either way it’s a sneaky way for VM to get rid of their existing inventory of low-end phones and get new subscribers.

If you are not a customer and wait for the TRIUMPH, which is apparently already a hot item with Best Buy taking pre-orders, then you will be paying the purported new plan rates.

I have e-mailed Virgin Mobile regarding the increase and will post the reply when I get it. Also, updates will be posted as they happen.

UPDATED 7/15/11: Just got the official word that existing customers will remain at their current rate unless they change plans. Rate changes begin 7/20/11 so if you want a TRIUMPH with a $25/mo. plan, better hop to it.

As of July 20th, 2011, new Virgin Mobile customers will be activated on the new plans while existing Beyond Talk customers will be able to stay on their current plans. If you are already enrolled in a Beyond Talk Plan your monthly fee will not change unless you decide to change plans.

See the e-mail here.