Virgin Mobile Latest to Hang Up on Unlimited Data

Virgin Mobile has become the latest company to say good-bye to unlimited data plans.  Effective February 15th, users on the pre-paid network will find their normal data transfer capped at 5GB with any overages resulting in much slower speeds.  It’s essentially the same model that T-Mobile employs and, really, should be no problem for a majority of users.  The problem comes in how it’s perceived.  There are very few who truly offer an unlimited plan with consistent speeds, regardless of usage.  While we get the whole “principle” argument that unlimited should mean truly unlimited, however $40/month without contract is still a bargain in and of itself.

Virgin Mobile cites the need to “implement network controls to ensure optimal experience” as their reasoning for the shift.  Users with a Samsung Intercept may not notice a difference in their service, however those using Virgin Mobile’s USB modem for a laptop likely will.  It doesn’t take much to burn through 5GB on a notebook when you’re watching streaming shows and movies or listening to music from back home.  Ironically, the Virgin Mobile network belongs to Sprint who still is one of the only players left offering a truly unlimited high-speed connection.

  • Archer Baumann

    Um.. even Sprint’s data plans have limitations.

    I believe the only truly “unlimited” plan is when you use 4G and/or only use your handset and don’t tether. Both the tethering plans and the modem plans have limits on the 3G network.

    • Azure Skyyes

      This is the exact reason I haven’t set up my EVO as a hotspot. I don’t live in a 4G network area and I won’t pay for unlimited data for a network I can’t even use.
      Actually, I went to Pittsburgh for a business trip and tried the 4G network but couldn’t keep on network, so just a battery drain for 3G service.

  • Jay Dub

    Sux for anyone who already bought their MyFi.

  • travis

    Im not sure how everyone gets away with calling their capped plans “unlimited.” Isnt that faulty advertising? Internet lawyers (everyone on the net 😉 weigh in.

  • Daniel

    This BLOWS!!! After all the publicity on websites, billboards & bus kiosks promoting unlimited data for $25/mo, anyone who bought this over the holiday has got to be feeling burned right now. This is just like when the iPad was first introduced & promoted by Steve Jobs as having unlimited data for $30/mo contract free, but the offer was rescinded just two weeks after the blasted iPad actually made it to the stores. At least with the iPad, AT&T said that buyers could stay on the $30 plan as long as they didn’t cancel, but apparently Virgin’s customers don’t get the same courtesy.

    I bought this phone because of the $25 unlimited data deal, after having a Nexus One with T-Mobile for three months. After all, with what I was paying T-Mobile each month for a data-only package, I rationalized the purchase of the Virgin Intercept by depreciating the cost of the phone over a year, and I’d ultimately pay the same amount, get a new phone in the bargain, as well as avoid paying 50 cents per minute on phone calls. This may still be a deal in the end, but it feels like a bait & switch, especially after they sold so many Intercepts during the holidays.

  • BobViper

    No notice!!Just stumbled into this site!!2 Months of FUN and they LIE!!
    Yup!!Sounds like a GROUP LAWSUIT to ME!!Lotsa advertising and then Oops!!
    Change Your Plan!Any Phone Refunds available?!

  • JTray

    Still on my first month right now with two intercepts at $500 bills this will make me angry if it occurs.

  • The Brain

    It would be nice if VMU would actually show you your data usage. Right now on the $40 plan you don’t get a report on how much data you used.

  • deadcell

    I know 1 thing; Virgin sucks, I’ve been with them a little over a week, and i can’t recieve mms messages, or send them. I also can’t get on the web with there service. I can only use the web if I have a wifi connection. I called Virgin several times, and nobody can give you a straight answer. everyone keeps saying it will be fixed A.S.A.P. which is bullshit. To anyone trying to join them, please think long and hard before you do. I’ll give them one more week if it doesn’t get fixed, then i’m leaving there sorry ass.

  • Pus

    virgin mobile network is slow to begin with, there are constant outages,no data signs. i can use it lighting fast in the early morning and late night when everyone is sleep.

  • Jurgensoconnell

    bought a blackberry and then found out that the phone is useless with virgin.what a nr is 0741332322.will be moving to a new network

  • David

    Today is December 3, 2011.  I’m not sure what the writer of this article is talking about, but as of today, the Virgin Mobile data plans still read “unlimited” web, data, messaging, and email.  Take a look:

    • Anonymous

      It says unlimited but what they are actually doing is allowing you a certain amount of data (2.5GB). Once you exceed that limit they slow down your speeds to a measly 256 kbps. Yes you have “unlimited” data, but try using it after you hit their 2.5GB cap and you’ll find it unbearable. It’s like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet but after 2 plates they only allow you to eat one teaspoon of food per 15 minutes. Technically they are still offering you all-you-can-eat or in this case “unlimited” data but it is in fact “limited” by how fast you are allowed to consume it! 

      You can read it for yourself here:

      “Starting early 2012, if you use over 2.5GB of data in a month, your data speeds will be reduced to 256 kbps or below for the rest of your month. During this time, you may experience slower page loads and file downloads and lags in streaming media. Data speeds will return to normal as soon as your next plan month starts. If you’d rather not wait for your new month to start, you can restart your plan immediately through My Account.”