Surprise! I'm posting from Boy Scout SUmmer Camp. Hope this helps everyone...
Well, Virgin Mobile has made iself somewhat more competitive, but followed the rat pack in other areas.
1. Text is now 5 cents both ways. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! It was expected, yes, but it's sad to see everyone charging for incoming text now...except for Boost and Nextel's text system isn't worth the 10 cents to send a message. Yes, sending and receiving a message apiece (10\free vs. 5\5) costs the same but quite a few people (me included) have various alerts and such that boost the incoming text count to much higher than the outgoing count. Of course, T-Mobile To Go is doing even worse by not lowering their outgoing text fee (it will still be 10 cents) but this is still moderate insanity. I thought prices were supposed to go down!
Virgin now has text message bundles (sound like a regular carrier?) that are pay-by-the-month. $2 buys 50 texts (4 cents apiece), $5 buys 200 texts (2.5 cents apiece) and $10 buys 1000 texts (a penny apiece). The last package roughly approximates, from my point of view at least, the bandwidth cost for text messages, but only if you use almost all of the messages...and there's no unlimited option...
2. The new Virgin Mobile rate plans are in effect. They generally seem to be better than the previous rates, but they still aren't overly competitive. They are as follows:
Minute2Minute is now 18 cents a minute flat. Those already on the 25/10 scheme are grandfathered in for the time being, but they can opt for the new plan if they don't talk a lot on any given day that they do talk. For low-minute users this is a step in the right direction.
Day2Day is now no longer Day2Day. It is a monthly payment plan at $6.99 except that it comes with no minutes. Minutes are still 10 cents. This is a noticeable drop from the previous Day2Day plan in that on a normal month you would have to pay $10.50, not $7. The price, true, is dropped by a whopping third, which is nice, but it still isn't anything totally out-of-this-world. And there's a monthly fee.
The monthly plans have changed. $15 buys 100 minutes (not a good deal), $25 buys 200 (not a great deal), $35 buys 300 with 1000 night\weekend minutes (7 pm to 7 am), $45 buys 400 minutes with unlimited nights and weekends, and $60 gets 600 minutes. If you use that many minutes a month, a contract will give you oodles more coverage, a free, better phone, more minutes, and in the case of Virgin Mobile's parent carrier Sprint, more forgiving overages.You see, overages are 18 cents a minute...paid in chunks of $4.50! Junk fees are, to my memory, not included in this price. So you pay for 25 minutes at a time, at nearly double the cost per minute of Sprint's postpaid arm. Gross.
3. Looking through Virgin's newly redesigned psite I find the same phones, except a little cheaper. The K10 Royale, which I mentioned to be $20 at Wal-Mart, is now $20 online. No extra airtime, but here's a low entry price for a phone. The Nokia Shorty is $40...with $40 in airtime! Yes ladies and gentlemen, a free phone. I just may have to pick this one up, but then again the phone doesn't even doe web and the rates for everything are wierd\high. The new Kyocera Butt_Ugly...er...Switch_Back is still $150. The Vox 8610, which again doesn't have web but does have a color screen, is $50, plus you get $20 when you top up or make a monthly payment. Ha ha, a contract-style catch on a not-so-great phone. The Audiovox Snapper has settled at $100, and teh Kyocera Slider Sonic is $150.
So that's what's new on Virgin Mobile's website. If I missed anything, please post a comment. Yes, comments are enabled now; enjoy.