updated 10:00 am EDT, Tue June 24, 2008
Virgin Mobile Unlimited
Virgin Mobile today is next up in the US to offer an unlimited calling plan that it promises should beat other, larger carriers. The Totally Unlimited service removes the caps on the number of minutes but also eliminates some of the restrictions that affect rival plans. Subscribers don't need to sign a contract locking them into service or to pay roaming fees when they venture outside of Virgin's official coverage area. Virgin users also don't require a credit or debit card and can pay the bill using the carrier's own Top-Up cards.
The plan will be available at the start of July and costs $80 per month, or $20 less than other plans promising completely unlimited calling; an extra $10 per month adds unlimited e-mail, IM, MMS and SMS messaging to the plan.
Virgin's plan addition closely shadows similar strategies by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon in recent months and is meant in part to stem a loss of customers at Virgin, which like most mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the US has struggled to compete with larger, already richer existing providers. Virgin is allegedly close to buying Helio, who itself has offered unlimited access but has primarily focused on data over calls.