The current mobile provider wars are proving to be a great thing for the average consumer. This carrier one-upmanship and battle for supremacy mean one thing - more perks, features and better prices for us!
This year, we've seen the return of unlimited plans on four competing U.S. major carriers - Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. These four carriers have the biggest slices of the U.S. mobile phone market pie but it looks like one erstwhile budget brand wants to grab a bigger share.
Virgin Mobile, Sprint's prepaid partner, is making a few aggressive moves that should at least send ripples through the cellphone industry.
On Wednesday, the company announced that starting next week, it will only sell iPhones moving forward. You heard that right, no more Android phones on Virgin Mobile.
This iPhone-only plan is dubbed Inner Circle and unlimited talk, text, and data will normally run for $50 a month and is available to customers who purchase an iPhone from Virgin Mobile outright.
But wait, Virgin Mobile is sweetening the deal in an extreme way for early Inner Circle subscribers.
For a limited time, the company will be offering the Inner Circle plan for a mere $1 dollar for a year's worth of service. Yep, a dollar for a year.
These early Inner Circle subscribers will get unlimited talk, text, and data for a $1 for a whole year if they purchase an iPhone and sign up with Virgin Mobile before July 31. Now, that should be enough savings to cover the iPhone price tag so it's like that iPhone is paying for itself.
After July 31, new "Inner Circle" subscribers who buy new iPhones from Virgin can still get six months of service for $1. This might not be as stunning of a deal but that's still about $300 worth of discounts. Virgin Mobile indicated that this six-month deal for its new iPhones will be permanent.
"It's always six months of it for $1," Virgin Mobile CEO Dow Draper said during the unveiling of its new iPhone plans on Wednesday. "We view this as the best test drive ever. You're going to buy the iPhone anyway. Why not try Virgin Mobile?"
Additionally, subscribers who stay with Virgin Mobile for two years and purchase another iPhone will then get an additional six months of service for $1.
However similar to the other carrier's unlimited plans, Virgin Mobile's Inner Circle plan does come with certain limitations:
- Video streams through the network are limited to Standard Definition (480p)
- Music streams will be capped at 500Kbps
- Games will be limited to 2 Mbps speeds
- Customers who exceed 23GB worth of data in a month may be throttled
- No family or group plans are available
- You will have to use Auto-Pay for billing
Virgin Mobile also uses Sprint's network so its coverage and speed may not be suitable for everyone.
For its initial push, early subscribers who sign up by September 30 will get a chance to join the Virgin Mobile Inner Circle Club. This club offers quite a few perks on other Richard Branson founded brands, including a free round-trip companion airline ticket to the U.K. courtesy of Virgin Atlantic and discounts for Virgin Wines.
With Virgin Mobile going iPhone only with steeply discounted unlimited plans, does this mean they're squarely aiming for the premium smartphone market now? Only time will tell if this new strategy will succeed but a deal is a deal and Virgin Mobile has one of the best iPhone deals, period.
To learn more about Virgin Mobile's new plans, check out its home page.
What do you think? Will Virgin Mobile's Inner Circle plan be sweet enough to win you over? Drop us a comment!