Virgin Mobile Review

Virgin’s got plans that all the single ladies (and guys) might love.
Virgin’s got plans that all the single ladies (and guys) might love.
Overall Rating 1.5 out of 5
Price:
$35–$60/mo.
Network used:
Sprint
Plan type:
Postpaid and prepaid

The last time I used Virgin Mobile, I was in college and using a shiny new flip-phone (well, more of a slider).

Not to date myself, but Virgin Mobile has changed a lot since my college days. Now there are no more flip-phones, and there are some interesting member perks. But those perks also come with quite a few not-so-great limitations, which is why we only gave it one-and-a-half stars.

All-in-all, we think Virgin is still a great pick for a college student or someone who needs just one phone line.

Virgin Mobile Cell Phone Plans Comparison

PlanPriceDataPlan TypeLearn more
Inner Circle*$50/mo. UnlimitedPostpaidView Plan
Data Love$35/mo. 5 GBPrepaidView Plan
Data Love + $45/mo. 10 GBPrepaidView Plan
Data Love Unlimited$60/mo. UnlimitedPrepaidView Plan

* Price includes autopay discount where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.

Pros

  • 23 GB of high-speed data per month with unlimited plans, then your data is slowed
  • Member benefits and discounts on well-known brands

Cons

  • Limited streaming and gaming quality
  • No family plans—only one line per account
  • iPhones only

Virgin Mobile phone plans and prices

You get one line and one line only. Not to mention a bunch of other limitations

If you visit the Virgin Mobile homepage, you might think the only plan it offers is the postpaid (as in you pay after you’ve used the service each month) Inner Circle plan.

One option for an unlimited plan? What is this, T-Mobile?

But if you snoop around some more, you’ll find Virgin also offers a few different prepaid options. Here are the details for both Virgin’s unlimited plan and the three prepaid plans.

Virgin Mobile Inner Circle unlimited postpaid plan

Virgin Mobile Inner Circle plan price*

Number of linesPriceLearn more
1 line$50/mo.View Plan

* Price includes autopay discount where applicable. Taxes and fees not included.

That “1 line” is no mistake—there are no family plans available, which means there are no multi-line discounts, either.1 So you’ll be paying $50 each month for each line—as long as you enroll in autopay and get the $5 discount, of course.

That adds up quick if you need a phone line for more than just you. Essentially, two lines will cost you $100, and if you want more the price will quickly amount to two whole Benjamins. To compare, Cricket Wireless is offering a deal right now where you get four lines with unlimited data for $100 a month.

There’s no getting around the one-line rule, but once in a while Virgin does offer limited-time promotions that can sweeten the deal. But even with a promotion we wouldn’t recommend this plan for anyone who’s shopping for more than me, myself, and I.

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Virgin Mobile $1 per month offer

George Washington would be proud—it takes only one bill with his image to get six months of unlimited talk, text, and data from Virgin Mobile. That’s if you buy an iPhone or bring your own—and yes, you’ll still owe taxes and fees. Uncle Sam needs his due.

After those six months are up, you’ll pay $50 per month (with autopay) for all that unlimited talk, text, and data. Not bad. This offer is a limited-time promotion, so if you’re ready to give Virgin a go, we say jump on it now.

Virgin Mobile Inner Circle plan features

Aside from a pretty generous 23 GB of unthrottled (not slowed) data per month, the Inner Circle plan doesn’t give us much to write home about.

If you’re not familiar with how limited “unlimited data” can actually be, here’s a crash course. While most wireless providers advertise unlimited data, you’re not actually getting unlimited data at the fastest speeds (4G LTE). Each carrier sets a sort of “soft cap” for how much high-speed data you can use each month.

Virgin Mobile Inner Circle unlimited plan features

FeaturesInner Circle
High-speed data23 GB per billing cycle
Video streaming resoultionSD (480p)
Music streamingUp to 500 Kbps
Game streamingUp to 2 Mbps
Mobile hotspot$10/mo. extra for 10 GB
International calling$5–$10/mo.
Member benefits accessYes

After you use up that amount—in Virgin’s case, 23 GB per month—your data speed will be slowed, or throttled. Sure, you can keep using data, but your downloads will be like watching paint dry and your video streams will buffer more than a late-night janitor who’s cleaning the floors.

Not to mention that 23 GB pales in comparison to 35 GB of unthrottled high-speed data from MetroPCS. If you really want to go big and stream all your favorite Hulu shows without feeling like time has stopped, check out T-Mobile’s 50 GB of unthrottled data or the Verizon Above Unlimited plan’s 75 GB of unthrottled data. Oh em gee.

Yup, your video, music, and game streaming are limited to 480p, 500 Kbps, and 2 Mbps, respectively, for 24 hours a day and seven days a week. There’s no turning these limitations off.

Info Box icon

What’s the best cell phone plan?

Find out how Virgin Mobile compares to the best prepaid, unlimited, and family plans in our Best Cell Phone Plans review.

Other cell phone companies may limit your video streaming to 480p, sure, but we’ve never seen any of them limit your music and game streaming too. If those are limited, it’s normally done with an option you can turn off—like AT&T’s Stream Saver.

To be fair, 2 Mbps should be enough to play NBA 2K18 on your phone. And 500 Kbps should let you jam out to some Journey on the music streaming service of your choice, since most of them list 500 Kbps or slower as the recommended speed.2

Virgin Mobile prepaid plans

That one line per account rule still rings true for Virgin’s prepaid plans. Also, you won’t get an autopay discount on any of these prepaid plans. If this isn’t a head scratcher, we don’t know what is.

Virgin Mobile prepaid plan prices*

Number of linesData Love (5 GB)Data Love + (10 GB)Data Love Unlimited
1 line$35/mo.$45/mo.$60/mo.
View planView planView plan

*Taxes and fees not included.

Can we just point out that if you’re after unlimited data, the Inner Circle postpaid plan is the way to go? If you enroll in autopay, you’ll save $10 each month compared to the Data Love Unlimited prepaid plan. That’s $120 you could put toward a flashy new pair of Jordans. (But if you don’t need a lot of data, prepaid plans can help you save a lot of money too.)

Virgin Mobile prepaid plan features

Virgin’s prepaid plans come with almost the same set of features as the Inner Circle plan.

Sadly, yes, your video, music, and game streaming are still limited. And if you go with the Data Love Unlimited plan, you’ll still only get 23 GB of high-speed data each month before your data speeds are slowed.

But if you only need a small amount of data, you’ll save some money compared to what you’d pay for the Inner Circle unlimited plan.

Virgin Mobile USA prepaid plan features

FeaturesData Love, +, and Unlimited
Video qualitySD (480p)
Music streamingUp to 500 Kbps
Game streamingUp to 2 Mbps
Mobile hotspot$3/day or up to $10/mo.
International calling$5–$10/mo.
Member benefits accessYes

* Data Love and Data Love + plans come with only 5 GB or 10 GB of 4G LTE data respectively.

While you get only one option for a mobile hotspot add-on with the Inner Circle plan ($10 a month for 10 GB), the prepaid plans give you a few choices.

Here’s how those hotspot prices break down.

Virgin Mobile prepaid hotspot prices

DataPrice
500 MB per day$3/day
1 GB per month$5/day
2 GB per month$10/mo.

Virgin Mobile member benefits

One thing we’re happy to see shared between the Inner Circle plan and the prepaid plans is access to Virgin’s member benefits.

Sure, you’ll get some pretty snazzy perks like access to HBO and other premium channels with AT&T’s Unlimited &More℠ Premium plan. But if you’re a shopaholic, Virgin’s perks are made for you.

Here are a few of the member benefits we saw in July 2018.

  • 25% off at Papa John’s. Garlic butter sauce? Yes please!
  • 25% off and free shipping from Reebok. Worn soles wear on a runner’s soul.
  • 20% off at Fossil. Because buttery leather, that’s why.
  • 15% off at J. Crew Factory. Who deserves new duds? You do.
  • Up to 60% off on Priceline hotels. Staycation schmay-cation.

Also, if you’re all about giving to others, you’ll love that Virgin recently partnered with the 1MillionProject. The partnership’s goal is to give free mobile devices and high-speed internet to one million high school students who don’t have a reliable internet connection at home.

That gives us so many feels, y’all.

Virgin Mobile phones

No, the other phones aren’t hidden. Virgin really does sell only iPhones.

Looks like Virgin Mobile chose a side when it comes to Android vs. iOS. All you’ll see in its online store is row after row of iPhones.

If you’re an Apple lover, you’re in good hands. But if you’re looking for Samsung, Google, HTC, or another type of phone, you’ll be very disappointed.

Which phones does Virgin Mobile have?

MakeModels availableLearn more
iPhoneiPhone X | iPhone 8 / 8 Plus | iPhone 7 / 7 Plus | iPhone 6 / 6S / 6S Plus | iPhone SEView prices

Even Virgin Mobile’s Bring Your Own Phone program is limited to iPhones—and you might not even be able to bring older iPhone models, either.

Virgin doesn’t explicitly state this, but we can all take the hint when we see “We support the models of iPhone below, but all are not compatible with our network” in the FAQs.

How good is Virgin Mobile performance?

Virgin runs on Sprint’s network, so don’t expect stellar coverage or speed.

Virgin Mobile runs on Sprint’s network, so don’t be surprised if you run into some of the same coverage and speed issues as Sprint users.

What can we say? Third-party tests ranked Sprint’s coverage as third or fourth out of the top four cell providers (that top four includes Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile).3, 4

Of course, coverage depends on the area you’re in, so you may get lucky and never see “No service” pop up on your screen. Because of this, we recommend checking Virgin’s coverage map to get an idea of whether your location is covered—or not.

Speed on the Sprint network is a similar story. Three different independent companies pretty much came to a consensus that Sprint is dead last for speed.5, 6, 7

But low ratings aside, we’ve used Sprint for a while and experienced few speed or coverage issues in both Washington state and Utah. So take those ratings as you will.

Dealing with Virgin Mobile customer service

If Virgin Mobile played Super Mario, it wouldn’t collect enough stars to beat the game.

The customer service ratings don’t look so great for Virgin Mobile8—but we’ll caution you that most cell phone companies are in the same boat. That’s right, wireless providers are pretty notorious for poor customer service.

We agree that’s no excuse, but it does mean you’ll want to take a deep breath and focus on remaining patient when you do need to reach out to a representative.

If you hate phone trees and waiting on hold, you could send a few hashtags Virgin’s way on social media. (We even saw a couple shoutouts praising Virgin’s customer service team on Twitter, so it must be doing something right.)

Recap—how good is Virgin Mobile?

Is Virgin Mobile the one for you? Here are our thoughts.

  • Plans: Both Virgin’s postpaid and prepaid plans come loaded with limitations: you get only one line per account, and your video streaming is stuck in standard definition (480p). (Not to mention your music and gaming speeds are limited too.) You’ll also need to pay extra for international calling and a mobile hotspot.
  • Performance: Virgin runs on Sprint’s not-so-highly-rated network, so your service may drop and your speed may stutter if you don’t live solidly within a Sprint coverage area.
  • Customer service: Customers don’t have high praise for Virgin’s service team, but Twitter seems to work. We recommend reaching out on social media so you can at least play a game of Heroes of the Storm while you wait.
  • Overall: If you’re single or just looking for a one-line phone plan, Virgin does offer low prices. But otherwise, the limitations outweigh the benefits.