Small Carrier Showdown: Switch and Save Up to $1,500

Virgin Mobile

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.

Small Carrier Showdown

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  1. Dave Miller Says:


    Thanks for the post on Cellular South. We actually are the largest privately owned wireless carrier in the U.S. – a super regional carrier according to industry definitions.

    As you pointed out, we are aggressively promoting Android-powered touchscreen smartphone handsets along with BlackBerry devices. We currently have six (6) Android smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S Showcase, the HTC Desire, the HTC Wildfire, the LG Axis and the HTC Hero (this is an end-of-life unit that is being replaced shortly by the Samsung Gem in mid-February). We also carry the Blackberry Curve II and the Blackberry Bold, which remain two very popular smartphones.

    We have the best smartphone unlimited plan in the industry – $79.99 for unlimited nationwide voice, text, e-mail and mobile web. A second line costs $39.99 under the smartphone unlimited plan. So for two lines, you can pay $60 a month for unlimited everything. That’s almost half of what the same plans cost for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

    We also have the most affordable unlimited nationwide talk plan – besting AT&T, Verizon and Sprint by $10 a month or more for unlimited nationwalk voice with our 60/30 plan. We give you unlimited nationwide voice for $45 a month with two lines – and you’ll pay at least $10 to $15 more a month with the big guys.

    Keep us on your radar. We’re also moving aggressively into 4G LTE with plans to deploy by the end of 2011.


  2. James Says:

    To Brian, or Dave:

    I have a used htc hero from sprint that my sister gave me when she upgraded to another phone, but I can’t get service from Virgin even though they are owned by sprint and use the same network. So it looks like I’m stuck w/a phone that I can’t use because there’s no prepaid service available. Virgin’s is the only price range that I could afford, but you have to buy one of their phones in order to get service. Are there any prepaid service providers that offer service w/out you having to buy their phones.

    Please help. Thanks.


  3. aaron Says:

    DONT BUY THE ZIO its a waste of money and it will never update it from 1.6 dont listen to the lies from cricket or sanyo they are not working on it and will never give you a upgrade for the phone.

  4. josh tannenba Says:

    That roaming comment is a bit misleading. Cricket does not automatically put roaming charges on to your bill like other carriers. If you are out of crickets network as well as the expanded network(cricket uses sprints network to get nationwide coverage. do your research and you’ll know how this was achieved) what happens is the phone will not work. however, the account holder can put money into a side bucket that does not go onto the monthly bill in order to use the phone out of network at that point regular roaming fees would apply.

    The Zio is a very reliable phone and the update has actually been giving a timeframe if you look at an article from pc magazine on crickets new muve music service.

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