My Prepaid Cellular 2011 Solution (Virgin Mobile USA, T-Mobile)

I recently moved my wife and her mother from T-Mobile cellular plans to Virgin Mobile USA. Everybody’s needs are different, but Virgin Mobile’s plans and phones suited them very well. Nice phones at reasonable prices, no contracts, incredible service rates.

Virgin Mobile is now owned by Sprint and uses the Sprint network. Certainly check coverage maps to be sure the phones will be suitable for you.

The plans for Virgin Mobile’s smartphones are

$25/month: Unlimited texting, unlimited internet, 300 voice minutes
$40/month: Unlimited texting, unlimited internet, 1200 voice minutes
$60/month: Unlimited texting, unlimited internet, unlimited voice minutes

My wife bought a BlackBerry Curve 8530 (after returning the buggy Samsung Intercept smartphone to Best Buy). No touch screen on her BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) costs an extra $10/month over the fees above, but it’s still worth it for her. I was told BIS is mandatory on Virgin if I want data on the BlackBerry. My wife is a big BlackBerry fan. My wife’s BlackBerry:

Her mom got the LG Optimus V for $150 from Radio Shack. It’s a small Android phone. I used it for a while, testing it for her. I’m happy with it. Unlike the loser Samsung Intercept my wife had for a few weeks, the LG Optimus is a good little Android phone. No hard keys, just on-screen keyboard.

They have other phones at the first link above you might like better, but I like to stick to mainstream operating system phones (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone OS). But your needs may vary.

If you want a non-smartphone, Virgin also has those in spades:

And here are their non-smartphone plans:

I have different cell phone needs from them so I have a T-Mobile prepaid plan. For $30/month, I get a combination of 1500 voice minutes or text messages (any combination) and 30MB of cellular internet. I bought this phone and it was pretty nice, albeit tiny:
Don’t buy it from, I got a better deal from T-Mobile, but I didn’t find a direct T-Mobile link. I used it a little bit and found it to be fast and non-buggy. But it’s small. I use my iPhone and keep this phone as a backup or for, say, trips to the beach where I don’t want to damage my iPhone.

I don’t need a lot of internet or minutes, but I wanted to keep my GSM iPhone, so I like the T-Mobile plan. My wife and her mom, however, love their Virgin Mobile phones and service. If the combination of minutes/texting/internet suit you, their prices can’t be beat. You be the judge about whether the cellular coverage is good. For my wife and her mom, it’s been fine.

You can port your phone numbers from Verizon to Virgin Mobile or T-Mobile phones. It’s easy, we all did it. (Well, since I was going from T-Mobile (postpaid, monthly, with contract) to T-Mobile (prepaid, monthly, no contracts) it was a bit of a nightmare until I reached someone who knew how to do this in a way that actually worked.)

You can buy the phones at Best Buy and you have 30 days to return them if you don’t like the phones or the service, no questions asked. If you decide to do this, do check with Verizon to see if they’ll take you back. =)

Oh! Previously, my wife and I had a shared unlimited minutes two-line family plan that cost us $165/month. Now we pay $65/month. Any month she’s going to want more minutes, she just switches online to the $40/mont (+$10 BlackBerry) plan for that month and she gets 1200 minutes for that month. It’s not hard to do.

There are no hidden taxes.