Virgin Mobile is a provider of non-contract cellular phone and wireless services. It is a wholly owned brand of Sprint and operates under the slogans and brands of “payLo by Virgin Mobile” and “Assurance Wireless Brought to You By Virgin Mobile” as its core selling points. Virgin Mobile started providing services in the United States in 2002. It started using the Sprint 1900 MHz PCS, CDMA, and digital network. The company provides customers with branded handsets and broadband devices, which are sold through the company’s online website or through it’s 40,000 retail brand locations. In fact, Virgin Mobile may have one of the largest “storefront” presences of most wireless provider companies. Customers can get Virgin Mobile products at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Target, Wal-Mart, and many convenience stores. It is easy for customers to purchase “top-up” cards at more than 150,000 locations throughout the country.

 

Rank Chart
Price
Contract Length
Our Score
#1
$60/3GB
None
6.7
#2
$15 - $50
month-2-month
6.2
#3
$9.99-$199.99
Optional
6.1
#9
Virgin Mobile Logo
$55/3GB
None
5.4

The Good

Virgin Mobile has a history of making it very easy for a customer to get set up with an affordable cellular phone or wireless device. For its phones, Virgin Mobile has four unlimited plans.

  • For $20/month, the Wi-Fi Lover’s delight only has Wi-Fi access. There are 300 minutes per month and unlimited text messaging.
  • The “best value” plan of $35/month includes unlimited talk, data, and text with 250 MB of 3G/4G access, or you can get 300 minutes and 2.5 GB of high-speed 3G/4G data.
  • For $45/month, a client gets unlimited data, text, and talk, plus 1 GB of high-speed 3G/4G data. Also, the client gets 100 international minutes and unlimited international texting.
  • Finally, the $55/month plan gets a customer unlimited everything, with 3 GB of 3G/4G data.

In addition to providing a number of service plans, Virgin Mobile also makes it easy for their customers to pay their bill. Customers can get a top-up card at any of the 150,000 stores throughout the United States and add money to their current balance. This lets you pay for your phone however you’d like. It’s easy to change your plan if you want more or less data, talk, or text. You can even pay your monthly charge on your phone. There is no need to log onto an online account for you to pay with your top-up card.

Another thing current customers enjoy with the Virgin Mobile service include the variety of phones that are made available. Even though there aren’t Windows or BlackBerry phones, there are several iPhones and Android phones to choose from. There is also an affordable $19.99 basic phone that customers can use if they only need standard calling and texting (Alcatel One Touch).

To assist during the phone selection process, Virgin Mobile has included customer reviews of each phone they offer online. This information can help prospective customers choose the phone that will work best for their situation. By seeing what other customers have rated a particular phone, a potential customer might decide whether or not they want to purchase a particular phone.

There is also Broadband to Go available from Virgin Mobile. For $74.99, a customer can purchase the Net Gear Mingle Hotspot and get a monthly data plan for this product.

The Bad

Virgin Mobile has had several complaints from customers regarding problems with products and service. Some of these complaints stemmed from a misrepresentation of the word “unlimited” with each of Virgin Mobile’s monthly plans. Even though the product advertises “unlimited” data, there is actually significant data throttling if a customer goes over the stipulated quota for the month. Customers, after using their 1 GB, 2 GB, or 3 GB available with the various plans, often noted that their data was incredibly slow on their phone.

Also, Virgin Mobile has some of the worst coverage for 4G and 3G in the United States. Some areas of the country, such as most of Montana and Wyoming, don’t even have voice coverage. Sometimes, there is only very basic data coverage or voice coverage, meaning that if a customer is traveling, they might not be able to get a signal for their phone very easily.

Other issues current customers have experienced include:

  • Updating Account Info: Many customers who did use the website to pay for their phone service had a hard time updating their credit card information.
  • Double Payment: Sometimes, the login window was a little bit slow and customers might accidentally hit the “pay” button twice.
  • Restrictions with Top-Up Card: If using Virgin mobile, it is best for the customer to pay on their phone, using the Top-Up card option to pay for their monthly charge.

Also, the Alcatel One Touch offered as Virgin Mobile’s basic phone is not a very good product technology-wise. Customers had rated it poorly, giving it zero stars.

The Bottom Line

Virgin Mobile can be a great service from some customers, but it will depend on a few variables. Some customers had complaints about the coverage. Virgin Mobile does not offer quality 4G LTE networks throughout the country. In fact, you have to be near a major city to get 4G in most situations.

Current customers have also been a little bit concerned with the data throttling policy that governs most of Virgin Mobile’s plans. Even though Virgin Mobile advertises “unlimited” data, they even stipulate that there is a limit on most plans (up to 3 GB) that a customer can use for each month of service.

Most customers do like the unlimited text and talk service available through Virgin Mobile. Typically, customers also liked that Virgin Mobile is starting to offer international calling for customers, meaning that customers on less advanced service levels can talk and text internationally, speaking to family and friends who may be overseas.

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  1. User Score

    6

    August 17th, 2015 Lodi, NJ

    Virgin Mobile has been my cell phone provider for nearly 7 years, but by no means does that mean I love the company. It’s just not costly. I use the $35 dollar plan, and what you see is what you get. It’s $35 dollars plus tax.

    However, with that cheap cost comes cheap phones,Sprint hand-me-downs, and a few flagship phones. They sell out quickly of phones, so if you have a phone that you want, then buy it asap. They take forever to restock their supply. Not to mention, their phones range in price with huge gaps. You may be able to get a smart phone for $70 or $80 dollars, with no clue as to the phone’s quality, or you’ll see that they have the newest iPhone and last generation’s Galaxy S5, but very little in between. So if you wanted to drop some money on a “good enough smart phone”, you’d be hard-pressed to find on. This is strange, since their sister company, Boost Mobile, has a very wide range of phones and plans.

    Customer service isn’t bad. They are very honest, and in my experience, try very hard to make sure that you are satisfied. However, if your phone has a manufacturer’s defect and your phone still falls under the company’s 1 year warranty, they will make you pay a $25 dollar fee to cover the cost the manufacturer’s processing fee.

    Service is nothing spectacular, but it isn’t bad. For $35 dollars a month, you get what you pay for. However, it does show the short -comings of the sprint network, as I live in a pretty populated area of New York State and the service drops, and is sometimes none existent. So if you are lost and without WiFi, you may be upset by the GPS functionality on your phone. Also, if you go past the data cap for your month, your data speed gets dropped to 2g speeds, and with speeds comparable to dial-up, it makes loading a 21st century webpage a very annoying experience.

    For Virgin Mobile, what you see is what you get, and I appreciate that philosophy, but they are lacking in many areas. However, if you manage to find a phone and you don’t mind the quality, or you can afford an iPhone, and you don’t mind inconstant nature of the Sprint Network, or you always have WiFi, and you don’t mind paying a fee for a phone that is under warranty- than Virgin Mobile is right for you.

    It is a solid performer in the prepaid market, and in my experience, has gotten better, but still is not that good. With Sprint, I can’t imagine them getting better any time soon. However, it still seems to be the prepaid company with the most bang for your buck. If you do not want a contract, and are wary of the T-Mobile’s Uncarrier philosophy, then Virgin Mobile might be your best bet.

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