Purchased by Sprint in 2009, Virgin Mobile offers the most aggressive pricing around and uses Sprint’s nationwide network for voice and data. Virgin deliberately targets its plans at younger customers who keep voice chats to a minimum and use e-mail, social networking, and text as their primary forms of communication. The provider’s least expensive Beyond Talk plan provides unlimited data, e-mail, text, and 300 voice minutes for a rock bottom $25 per month. $40 gives you 1,200 of voice minutes, while $60 ups it to unlimited.
As of this writing, Virgin’s current flagship handset is the Samsung Intercept. Costing $249, the Intercept is an Android 2.1 device. BlackBerry users are covered by the Curve 8500 ($199). While by no means a state-of-the-art smart phone, it’s a good choice for e-mail and accessing RIM’s growing selection of apps. Even though you’ll pay more up front for the hardware, over time you’ll save a lot.
Pros: Very low $25 plan for unlimited data. Samsung Intercept lets you jump into the Android game. Nationwide coverage on Sprint’s 3G network. No contracts.
Cons: Limited handset selection. BlackBerry service costs an additional $10 per month.
4G Coverage: No announced plans.