Virgin Mobile Review – No Contract Mobile Service

Virgin Mobile reviewVirgin Mobile (VM) is a popular no contact mobile phone service provider in the US.  They allow people to break away from contact services and enjoy a low cost solution.  VM is able to provide their service because they have a deal with Sprint to use their network.  I get a lot of questions about this service, so I decided I wanted to provide you with a Virgin Mobile review of their service, plans, and phone choices.  You can view my other mobile phone provider reviews at any time.

Virgin Mobile Plans

Virgin Mobile offers its customers a few different plans in order to meet their needs.  Remember, none of their plans come with contracts, so you can switch between plans.  Nothing is tying you to Virgin Mobile.  The freedom is quite nice!  You can choose a plan that best fits your current needs and if you have to change, they make it easy.

Virgin Mobile PayLo

The PayLo plan comes with three different flavors.  This plan is very simple as it is geared toward those just looking for talk and text capability.  Data is extra on these plans or they give you very little.  If you are not a data user, then check out PayLo.  Here is the breakdown.

[checklist]
  • $20/Month – For this price, you get 400 talk minutes and texts cost you 15 cents per text.  If you use data, then it will cost you $1.50/MB.  This plan really should only be considered if you need some talk time and don’t use many texts.
  • $30/Month – This price gets you 1,500 minutes and 1,500 texts.  You also get 30MB of web access.  This is a basic plan to work on a basic phone.
  • $40/Month – You get unlimited minutes and texts, plus 50mb of web access.  This price seems a little high to me considering their other plans.  There are other lower cost solutions if you need this type of access, like Republic Wireless.
[/checklist]

Virgin Mobile Paylo

Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk

The Beyond Talk plans are just that.  They provide you with no fuss data limits and then you can pick specific talk and text limits that  meet your needs.  If you talk a little, then you can pay less.  If you want more minutes and texts, then you can get it.  Here is the breakdown and prices of the Beyond Talk plans.

[checklist]
  • $35/Month – This price provides you with 300 anytime minutes with unlimited texts.  You also get [tooltip text=”unlimited” gravity=”n”]Virgin Mobile allows unlimited data, but you only get 2.5GB of high-speed data. After, your data speed is throttled down until the next month. You still get data, but it is 2G.[/tooltip] 3G and 4G data depending on where you live and the capability of your phone.
  • $45/Month – You get the unlimited text and data, but you also get 1,200 anytime minutes.
  • $55/Month – At this price point, you get their unlimited plan. Unlimited minutes, texts, and data.
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Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk

[box type=”info” align=”aligncenter” ]Virgin Mobile advertises “unlimited” data, but they do indicate that you will only get 2.5GB of high-speed (3G/4G) data per billing cycle. Your speed will then be throttled down to near 2G speeds for the remainder of your billing cycle, then put back up to high-speed.[/box]

Virgin Mobile Service

As with other no contract cell phone providers, Virgin Mobile buys usage of another’s cell towers.  In this case, the other is Sprint.  Sprint has mixed reviews in its quality and data speed.  It really depends on where you live.  I know a few people using Virgin Mobile in my area and they have pretty good coverage.  I know that Sprint has it’s problems with coverage, so make sure to check the coverage section of their site.  Below is a quick overview of their nationwide coverage.  As you can see, it is lacking.

Virgin Mobile Coverage Map

Just like Sprint, VM’s service works OK in bigger cities and populated areas.  When you go into rural areas, you will struggle for cell coverage and surely data coverage.  One common misconception about cell coverage is that if you don’t have cell signal on your phone, then you can’t call for emergencies.  This is incorrect.  You can even call 911 when you don’t even have service on your phone.  It is a requirement.  Your phone will connect via another provider’s network in order to make the emergency call.

If you are thinking about getting Virgin Mobile, then make sure you check your area and the places that you travel.  If they provide coverage in those areas, then it could be a good deal.

Virgin Mobile Customer Service

I get a lot of questions about customer service, so I figured I would include some information about Virgin Mobile’s customer service.  As with any lower cost cell phone provider, you do get what you pay for.  The customer service for Virgin Mobile can be a hassle at points, but it can also be helpful. It all depends on who you get on the phone.  The best way to contact their customer service is to call 1-888-322-1122. Their wait time can be extensive, but you might be able to bypass it by pressing #, then 3, then 5, then continuously pressing 0 until it transfers you to a person.  If you are already a customer, then enter your phone number, then press 4, then 2, then 2.  Hopefully this will help you get in touch with the Virgin Mobile customer service.

Virgin Mobile Phone Selection

VM does not provide a bring your own phone program, like Straight Talk or T-Mobile.  You have to purchase a phone from them.  They also don’t provide subsidies like Verizon and AT&T do, but they do have occasional sales. You have to pay for the phone outright and then your monthly bill.  This can be scary when you are looking to save money, but look at these calculations.

If you switch from a $90 a month plan to a $35 a month plan, then you will save $660 a year.  Since you have to purchase a phone outright, then it will cost you upfront.  You can buy a $300 phone, yet still save money at the end of the year.  It will take around 6 months to pay off the phone purchase with your savings.  You are still winning at the end of the year.  Don’t let a higher priced phone scare you.  Do the math first!

VM offers Android phones from LG, Samsung, and Kyocera.  They also offer the whole iPhone selection, including the iPhone 5s.

They do offer a buy back program that will give you a statement credit for your old phone.  Not all phones will be accepted, but they do allow you to get a quote based on the phone you want them to buy back. You can use the statement credit toward the purchase of another phone.

[box type=”info” align=”aligncenter” ]Virgin Mobile is currently offering a promotion on all phones priced $99 and higher. If you pay with the Paypal service, Bill Me Later, you can make no payments and no interest for 6 months.[/box]

Pros of Virgin Mobile

As I stated before, the plans on Virgin Mobile are pretty inexpensive.  You can get a good deal with the $35 plan.  You are even getting a deal with the $45 plan.  It really depends on your needs.  I am a big fan of not having a contract and that is a big selling point for their service.  You can switch any time without paying costly fees.  If you are looking for either an android phone or iPhone, then you have the selection.  Yes, the phones cost full price, but the phone will be paid for within the first year.

Cons of Virgin Mobile

The biggest downfall of Virgin Mobile is the service they get from Sprint.  Sprint is not known for their network, but they do have some good coverage in the bigger cities.  Some will say that they don’t like having to pay full price for a phone, but I already showed the math for it.  I push this con toward the other big carriers that got everyone used to phone subsidies.  As I stated in the coverage section, make sure you look at their coverage map to see if your regularly traveled areas are covered.

Have any of you tried Virgin Mobile or are using it right now?  How do you like the service and the price?  Would you move to another carrier if they provided better coverage at the same price?  For those looking for a new carrier with no contract, then I hope my Virgin Mobile review helped.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Try Republic Wireless Starting at $15/Month

Do you want to save money on your cell phone bill?  How about around $100 per month?  Customers of Republic Wireless can save money every month. Their plans start at $15 per month!  Learn more by checking out their services.

About the Author Grayson Bell

I'm a business owner, blogger, father, and husband. I used credit cards too much and found myself in over $75,000 in debt ($50,000 in just credit cards). I paid it off, started this blog, and my financial life has changed. I now talk about fighting debt and growing wealth here. I run a WordPress support company, along with another blog, Eyes on the Dollar, which is another great personal finance blog.

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Leave a Comment:

22 comments
DC @ Young Adult Money says November 25

I haven’t used Virgin Mobile and haven’t really considered them in the past, not sure why. It seems pretty comparable to the Walmart Family mobile plan (serviced through T-Mobile) I have that is also no contract.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    I have the same service DC. Virgin is just another carrier out there to give people a choice.

    Reply
John S @ Frugal Rules says November 25

Good overview Grayson. I’m loving the phone reviews you’re doing as we’ll need something different next year when we look to leave Verizon.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    Glad I can help John. I left Verizon a few months ago for good and I have been pleased. I like the flexibility of a no-contact plan because it allows me to try out different services and choose the best one for me.

    Reply
Laurie says November 25

Great post, Grayson. This could be a good deal for us, but being in a rural area, the coverage issues make me nervous. We’ve had T-Mobile’s pay-as-you-go phones for a long time now, and the coverage out here in the boonies always works well, but I would love to go with a low-cost contract like this one day if the coverage were better.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    I would suggest you check their coverage map to see if it could work for you.

    Reply
Matt Becker says November 25

I’ve been using Sprint with my RW phone when I don’t have wi-fi and so far it’s been pretty good in the Boston area. It definitely gets a lot sketchier when I stray away from the city though.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    Yeah, Republic Wireless is close to my work. I know they work here, but Sprint has some issues in rural NC.

    Reply
E.M. says November 25

My boyfriend has been using Virgin Mobile ever since he got a phone, and he’s rarely had issues. He has a “dumb” phone, so I don’t know how the data speeds compare. I tried Sprint once a few years ago, and it didn’t impress me. The upfront cost of phones is what scares me, though I know I’ll be saving money in the long run. I need to switch my plan soon anyway, I can’t stand paying so much for service anymore.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    Good to hear that he hasn’t had any problems. Don’t let the upfront cost of the phone scare you. You are the one saving money and you aren’t tied to a service. That is the good thing.

    Reply
Richard Jonas @ PrivateQuote.com says November 25

These cell phone service reviews are really useful. My contract with Verizon ends in April so I’m considering my options. I will definitely be looking at other carriers, especially their no contract options. But the one thing that makes me consider staying with Verizon is their network. On two different occasions, I have been way out in the middle of nowhere backpacking in Colorado and still had coverage (1X) with Verizon. Not much, but just enough to send a text to my wife. That’s hard to beat.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    I will say that Verizon has the best network hands down. I am not going to deny that fact, but they also have the highest prices. I don’t use my phone that much, so I am not worried about it. I had Verizon for 10 years before I got off. I just couldn’t deal with their pricing model.

    Reply
Fig @ Figuring Money Out says November 25

I actually use Virgin Mobile right now as my provider. It’s okay though there have been good and bad points to using it. I’ll have to post a review soon.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    There are good and bad points to every provider. I would be interested in seeing what you have to say.

    Reply
Romona @Monasez says November 25

Prices look real good. The packages are great but I’ve heard the service is not good. I guess you get what you pay for.

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    It is not really you get what you pay for. If Sprint works well in your area, then VM will do well. If it doesn’t, then the same applies. You would pay more for Sprint for the same service. I would suggest looking at Straight Talk or Walmart Family Mobile.

    Reply
Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says November 25

Thanks for the review, Grayson. I’m still under contract but once it ends, I want to do some comparison shopping. For many years, my old Company paid my bill so I didn’t care about being under contracts, etc. Now I pay my bill, even though it’s still a business expense, it’s coming out my pocket now, so I want to make sure I’m getting the best pain for my buck. 🙂 Have a great Thanksgiving, Grayson!

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    You are welcome Shannon. I know what you mean. When you don’t have to pay it, it really doesn’t matter, but when that money comes out of your pocket, that is when you think about it more.

    Have a great Thanksgiving as well Shannon!

    Reply
Dee @ Color Me Frugal says November 25

Thanks for the review! It would be nice if they expanded their coverage- we live in an area where there is not much for coverage except Verizon, and we certainly pay a lot for it…

Reply
    Grayson Bell says November 25

    I am sure it would nice for a lot of different services to expand. If you are in a rural area, then there isn’t much more than Verizon or AT&T. If you can try AT&T, then you might have luck with Straight Talk.

    Reply
Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says December 1

I use Virgin and they are by far the best deal for the money. I looked around and outside of the new RW plans, Virgin is hands down the cheapest for the most data and minutes. I don’t get service in really rural areas but since I rarely go to one, it’s no problem. I have the $45 plan which works really well. I might switch to Republic Wireless after a year or so but I can’t justify buying a new phone when I just got one in August.

Reply
    Will says August 5

    Dear Tara (or anyone else w/Virgin)

    If you are still using Virgin, I have $372 on my account, & I don’t use the phone almost every, being mostly homebound and older. That is why I have so much money accumulated. Because I just need to end this account and any cell phone, I would sell my account at a good discount to you. With Virgin, account balances are fully transferable, and you could use this money to pay for your monthly plan for a long time.

    I’am an honest senior, who just doesn’t use a cell phone anymore, and never did use very much.

    musicbrain99@gmail.com

    Reply
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