Virgin’s unlimited data phone plan: only $25/month

February 4, 2011, 3:54 PM UTC

Virgin has done it again. They are offering up a better Android smartphone and keeping the same incredibly low rates.

How much is your typical feature phone plan?  At Verizon(VZ), 450 minutes is $40/month with an additional charge for texts and no data.  Pre-paid plans start at $65/month for 450 minutes.  AT&T (T) has a similar post paid plan: $40 for 450 minutes.  No text, no data.

Smartphone plans are obviously more expensive.  PED posted a comparison chart of the major carriers smartphone plans here, which was put together by Billshrink.

With that in mind, have a look at Virgin’s plans, above, right.  Compare.

As I’ve stated before (and I still can’t understand how they do this) Virgin, who use Sprint’s(S) very solid nationwide 3G network, blow them all away by a long shot.  For $25 a month (that’s AFTER tax) unlimited data and text, 300 anytime minutes.  $40/month bumps you up to 1200 anytime minutes and $60 is unlimited minutes.

There are two downsides to Virgin’s plans however:

1. You must pay for the phone up front (no subsidies).

2. They have a very limited selection of smartphones.

The good news is that both of those limitations got slashed this week with the introduction of the $149 LG Optimus V…

I got my demo unit Optimus V after posting the story that they had gone on sale early at Radioshack earlier this week.  The V is a very solid mid-range phone running Android 2.2 Froyo.  Until now, Virgin’s only Android phone was a Samsung slider that ran Android 2.1 and cost $250 retail.

The Optimus V runs Android 2.2, has a much bigger 3.2 inch 320×480 display (similar to iPhone 3GS) and amazingly, costs $100 less at a $150 starting price.  It also feels very solid in your hand and runs a mostly unencumbered no frills OS.


So let’s do a little math: The unlimited data plans with the major carriers start out at about $80/month compared to Virgin’s $25.  Over the course of a two year plan, that $55/month/phone difference is over $1300 in savings.

The network works great.  It is the same as Sprint.

Again, I don’t know how Virgin does it, but if you aren’t ready to spend the type of money that the top 10-20% of phones cost (iPhones, EVOs, Droids, etc.), then Virgin’s Optimus is likely the best value phone you are going to find.  And that includes feature phones.

Engadget had a glowing review of the Sprint Optimus S, a hardware and network twin of the Virgin Optimus V.  I’m inclined to agree with their conclusion:

I’ll be hard to imagine ever spending a cent on a regular ol’ featurephone again.