Why switch to Virgin Mobile?
Due to cost cutting measures, I recently switched from A.T.&T. to Virgin Mobile. It was not without a lot of trepidation and dread that I made the switch because I rely on my smartphone all day everyday. The cost benefits were impossible to ignore since Virgin Mobile is unbelievably one third of the cost of the A.T.&T. plan I had with more minutes included and more data and texting. I also used Verizon for a very long time and only made the switch from them when the iPhone became available. It was impossible to ignore a savings of almost eighty dollars a month for my phone and a similar savings on another phone we will be switching also.
Living with Virgin Mobile Service
I am now almost three months into Virgin Mobile and have had few real issues. I lost 3G data for probably two days total (VM was having a network issue but it was cleared up) and dropped two calls total. It seemed as though the two dropped calls may have been related to the device not properly turning off the touch interface when lifting it up to my face so I have been more careful with that and have not had that happen again. Dropped calls were not strange while using A.T.&T. but I never had any issues with data (aside from losing coverage totally while on the road once or twice) so overall, I have so far rated the overall service as pretty much a wash. Given the difference in cost, I can definitely live with some small issues like that. The other issue that had to be factored in for me was the overall lesser volume of calls and emails due to the bad economy.
As far as available devices, Virgin Mobile has only one choice that even comes close to my treasured iPhone I have become so used to and that is the LG Optimus V. There is also a Samsung Android model available but after watching and reading reviews about it, the LG seemed the only viable choice. In terms of quality, it doesn’t hold a candle to the iPhone but it is close and I am adjusting to it over time. I plan to look into other devices available for the Sprint network (Virgin Mobile uses the Sprint network) later and hope to find a more capable and faster device I can use on a VM plan. The LG phone is slower than the iPhone overall and the touch interface is not as good but, again, I can live with that.
Plans and keeping your old number
My analysis in making this move coincided with contracts renewing on current plans so you have to factor that cost in if you are currently on a plan. Virgin Mobile is month to month so I decided to try it thinking it would be easy to go back to a major carrier later if it didn’t work out. I have ported my A.T.&T. number over and that was not without some minor issues. After I paid for a month of service, then had my old number ported over, it worked but said I had no minutes left so it took about an hour on the phone to get that straightened out. Again, an inconvenience but not something I can’t live with.
In terms of the network, Virgin Mobile uses the 3G Sprint data network and I suspect that is how the cost is so low since Sprint seems to be changing their new devices to 4G like the other major carriers are doing. I have had no issues with losing the voice signal although while in buildings it gets down to a line or two occasionally but overall it is better than my A.T.&T. iPhone was for voice coverage.
Company and conclusions
My last consideration was for the company itself. Virgin has many companies and they all seem to incorporate innovation, social and environmental responsibility, and sustainability. I find myself gravitating more and more to companies like this instead of just looking at what is best for me. Being a designer myself, I am always impressed by innovation and it has become a self-imposed guideline for me to trade with environmentally and socially responsible companies. So far, I am finding Virgin Mobile to be a winning combination.