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MacRumors
Jun 28, 2012, 02:11 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/28/virgin-mobile-usa-opening-retail-stores-in-chicago-to-support-iphone-launch/)


As announced earlier this month (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/07/virgin-mobile-usa-launching-iphone-on-june-29-with-plans-starting-at-30/), Sprint prepaid subsidiary Virgin Mobile USA is launching the iPhone tomorrow, and the carrier has begun taking orders (http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/iPhone4S-16GB-phone.jsp) ahead of the official launch.

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2012/06/virgin_mobile_iphone_banner.jpg


As noted by Bloomberg Businessweek (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-28/virgin-mobile-will-open-retail-stores-to-capitalize-on-iphone), Virgin Mobile is seeking to capitalize on the publicity generated by the iPhone to remake itself as a major player in the market, in part by opening its first ten retail stores in Chicago to coincide with the iPhone launch. Should the stores prove successful, the carrier would seek to expand the initiative nationwide.The new stores also mark a strategy shift for Virgin, which has previously relied on retailers such as RadioShack Corp. and Best Buy Co. to market its service, said Jeff Auman, a vice president at the carrier.

Pay-as-you-go companies, which let customers get mobile- phone service without credit checks and long-term contracts, are trying to reinvigorate the market by offering the iPhone and other popular smartphones. The industry has seen its growth slow in recent years, hurt by major carriers rolling out better phones and more flexible payment plans.Sprint CEO Dan Hesse indicates that he expects "the iPhone will do very well on Virgin" based on pre-orders of the device so far, and giving customers dedicated retail stores for purchase and support could help extend the brand that has already found a loyal following among prepaid phone users.

Virgin is the second U.S. prepaid carrier to launch the iPhone, following Leap Wireless, which launched the device through its Cricket brand (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/05/31/iphone-coming-to-u-s-prepaid-carrier-cricket-on-june-22/) last weekend. Leap has declined to disclose iPhone sales so far, but its move to add the iPhone has certainly brought the carrier significant publicity.

According to today's report, MetroPCS may also add the iPhone to its lineup once Apple launches an LTE-compatible model, which is expected later this year. MetroPCS carrier Tom Keys acknowledge that the carrier has had talks with Apple about the iPhone and would "certainly be interested" once LTE is included.

Article Link: Virgin Mobile USA Opening Retail Stores in Chicago to Support iPhone Launch (http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/28/virgin-mobile-usa-opening-retail-stores-in-chicago-to-support-iphone-launch/)



iMikeT
Jun 28, 2012, 02:20 PM
More carriers in the US, the better. I can't wait to get my iPhone off AT&T.

Mirrorlure7m
Jun 28, 2012, 02:36 PM
Very nice to see the additional carriers being added.

aajeev
Jun 28, 2012, 02:37 PM
My major concer is network coverage. I'm on Verizon right now and I can't complain about that. But their new share everything plan is not looking good for me. Might be time to give Virgin Mobile some thoughts. I assume when iPhone 5 comes out Virgin mobile is going to have it as well, since there is no way I will switch for an iPhone 4S and pay that much.

LaWally
Jun 28, 2012, 02:44 PM
Here's hoping T-Mobile will have its network iPhone-ready by the end of 2012 as planned.

mcrawley
Jun 28, 2012, 02:44 PM
According to the Q&A's being on their website, the phones Virgin is selling will be locked to their network. No BYOD either in case anyone is wondering.

But for $65 you can have Unlimited Calling and Data* and even use it as a mobile hotspot.

*Albeit throttled after a certain point.

snebes
Jun 28, 2012, 02:50 PM
I saw this earlier. The iPhone on Virgin is also available today (instead of tomorrow) with free overnight shipping.

Too bad there is not a single list of of these stores that I could find, I would gladly pick one up tomorrow. I ended up just ordering online....

bhop123
Jun 28, 2012, 03:03 PM
My contract with ATT just ended, but I am going to hold out and see if Virgin sells 6th gen iPhone when it comes out. If so - I'm jumping. I am sick of paying the 'big boys' for services that should be a lot cheaper.

I recently was in the UK and bought a sim card for my unlocked iP4, $30 for unlimited talk, text, and data for 30 days - plus hotspot! Amazing!!

Had I not experienced that - I'd probably just keep paying out my a$$ to att.

I'm sick of it. My $ is gonna do the talking now. Go Virgin...now if Sprint would improve their coverage, I'd finally feel like I was winning.

lifeinhd
Jun 28, 2012, 03:18 PM
10 stores, all in the same city? I mean, Chicago's big, but even Apple only has 5 stores in Manhattan :rolleyes:

EDIT: More direct comparison, Apple has 2 stores in Chicago.

Codyak
Jun 28, 2012, 03:28 PM
My major concer is network coverage. I'm on Verizon right now and I can't complain about that. But their new share everything plan is not looking good for me. Might be time to giveVirgin Mobile some thoughts. I assume when iPhone 5 comes out Virgin mobile is going to have it as well, since there is no way I will switch for an iPhone 4S and pay that much.

I just saw that with Verizon, if I were to switch my GF and I, we would go from unlimited, unthrottled data on both devices (LTE on mine and 3g on hers) to 1GB, assuming you are doing the cheapest plan, AND we would be paying 20 bucks more a month. :rolleyes:

BobCollins
Jun 28, 2012, 03:34 PM
My major concer is network coverage.

My experience with Virgin Mobile for the past year has been very good on coverage. I was previously with Verizon and I have not noticed any difference.

Good Luck!

aristobrat
Jun 28, 2012, 03:36 PM
Go Virgin...now if Sprint would improve their coverage, I'd finally feel like I was winning.
You may already know this, but for folks that don't, Sprint coverage and Virgin Mobile coverage are not even close to the same footprint!

When you pay for the more expensive Sprint service, Sprint ponies up and lets you roam (for free) in areas where they don't have their own towers.

With Virgin, you only get coverage from towers that Sprint owns. There is no roaming on other networks.

Left = Sprint's coverage. Right = Virgin's coverage.

aajeev
Jun 28, 2012, 03:41 PM
You may already know this, but for folks that don't, Sprint coverage and Virgin Mobile coverage are not even close to the same footprint!

When you pay for the more expensive Sprint service, Sprint ponies up and lets you roam (for free) in areas where they don't have their own towers.

With Virgin, you only get coverage from towers that Sprint owns. There is no roaming on other networks.

Left = Sprint's coverage. Right = Virgin's coverage.

Thanks, this is really good to know. I was always under the impression that Virgin's coverage =(somewhat) Sprint's coverage. But I guess not.

donniedarko
Jun 28, 2012, 04:24 PM
I bet the 6th gen 5 iPhone will not available to pre paid vendors, or will be surprised if so...

floatingspirit
Jun 28, 2012, 04:30 PM
You may already know this, but for folks that don't, Sprint coverage and Virgin Mobile coverage are not even close to the same footprint!

When you pay for the more expensive Sprint service, Sprint ponies up and lets you roam (for free) in areas where they don't have their own towers.

With Virgin, you only get coverage from towers that Sprint owns. There is no roaming on other networks.

Left = Sprint's coverage. Right = Virgin's coverage.

Hmmm....I had assumed they were the same. I don't recall seeing any asterisks!

nolem
Jun 28, 2012, 04:40 PM
I've used virgin for a little over a year now(was on att with iphone4 prior). They are most definitely not the same quality as the contract companies, and there have been several times over the past year where I have been seriously tempted to switch back. At that point I calmly remind myself that I'm only paying $25/month on a grandfathered plan.
Lack of good phones was a big problem, so hopefully the iPhone helps that.
I had the Optimus V, and now have the Optimus elite which is decent and only $150. On both phones it's been fairly common to have SMS issues. It will say I sent a text but it never actually sends, or days will go by with no received texts than I will get them all at once. but voice quality has been good overall(dependent of signal of course). I'm interested to see how the iPhone performs.

Codyak
Jun 28, 2012, 04:41 PM
Hmmm....I had assumed they were the same. I don't recall seeing any asterisks!

I think it's that if you have Sprint, they can piggy-back off of Verizon which obviously has pretty good coverage, but Virgin can only use Sprint's own towers.

Zen Cow
Jun 28, 2012, 04:41 PM
I'm a long-time Virgin Mobile customer and have been generally satisfied with their 300 minute service (grandfathered in at the unbeatable $25/mo).

Their iphone is a poor deal.

You're paying full retail price for the iphone, but from what I understand from Virgin's reps, they're locking the 4S's sim card. Unlike Sprint, which at least unlocks it for international use.

If this is truly the case, it's a severe case of "why bother". Buy a factory unlocked 4S for the same price and put it on straight talk's "unlimited" plan, which is cheaper than Virgin's "unlimited" plan and get faster internet too.

Plus, your virgin-only iphone will have almost no resale value. Unlike a factory unlocked iphone.

As much as I would love to replace my crappy Optimus V with an iphone, this doesn't make much financial sense on Virgin.

Wilson1313
Jun 28, 2012, 04:42 PM
I doubt there is not going to be the iPhone 5 on any of the prepaid carriers, especially Virgin Mobile, which is owned by Sprint (they will reserve the iPhone 5 to their high-paying customers). Nevertheless, I have Virgin Mobile and am very satisfied, especially since I am paying only $25 (taxes included!) for unlimited 3G, texting, and 300 minutes compared to entry plans from the big three starting around $70/month for a comparable plan. It may not be quite as good coverage, but I hardly have issues. I plan on getting off my lousy android and heading to buy the iPhone tomorrow though :D

cadillac1234
Jun 28, 2012, 04:48 PM
I bet the 6th gen 5 iPhone will not available to pre paid vendors, or will be surprised if so...

That's what I'm thinking as well.

I'm sure the top tier carriers will push to get the newest models exclusively and the others get the older models.

It will be interesting to see if Apple buy into it or not.

It will also be an interesting choice for the consumer. Pay for it all up front with a discount or pay for it in installments at a very high price.

I hope it does force AT&T and Verizon to fix their very consumer unfriendly data plans

hexor
Jun 28, 2012, 04:51 PM
If this is truly the case, it's a severe case of "why bother". Buy a factory unlocked 4S for the same price and put it on straight talk's "unlimited" plan, which is cheaper than Virgin's "unlimited" plan and get faster internet too.


Can you use the unlocked factory phone on virgin then? Or must you use straight talk?

Zen Cow
Jun 28, 2012, 04:56 PM
I think it's that if you have Sprint, they can piggy-back off of Verizon which obviously has pretty good coverage, but Virgin can only use Sprint's own towers.

Virgin doesn't roam (unlike Sprint), but I've not come across any coverage issues in my two years on Virgin. I've had better luck with signal than friends currently on AT&T.

That said, I do live in a major metropolitan area, and don't go off major highways or into the country.

----------

Can you use the unlocked factory phone on virgin then? Or must you use straight talk?

Nope, the unlocked factory phone is GSM only. So you can use it on Tmobile (edge only until next year), straight talk, one of the other prepaid GSM carriers (not as good a deal as straight talk), or (*shudder*) AT&T.

So if you *insist* on a 300/min $30 plan, I guess the virgin iphone is is an ok deal, since you can't get a prepaid GSM deal that low, but there are a lot of drawbacks when compared to an identically-priced unlocked GSM iphone. Especially that you just paid $650 for a phone that you can't take on vacation or use on any other provider if you decide to change carriers.

mrjosh
Jun 28, 2012, 04:56 PM
If this is truly the case, it's a severe case of "why bother". Buy a factory unlocked 4S for the same price and put it on straight talk's "unlimited" plan, which is cheaper than Virgin's "unlimited" plan and get faster internet too.


Is there still an issue with Straight Talk's "mobile web" not being a true data plan (i.e. no streaming of pretty much anything)?

aristobrat
Jun 28, 2012, 05:01 PM
I bet the 6th gen 5 iPhone will not available to pre paid vendors, or will be surprised if so...
Same here. It sort of makes "business sense" for Apple to give the current iPhone to the pre-paid folks during its last quarter on the market. I think that makes its sales numbers look more impressive, as most of the post-paid customers know the cycle and are holding off until the new one drops!

Zen Cow
Jun 28, 2012, 05:02 PM
Is there still an issue with Straight Talk's "mobile web" not being a true data plan (i.e. no streaming of pretty much anything)?

I've heard conflicting reports -- either as soon as you stream anything they cancel you or that people stream all the time and don't have any issues. I don't know what to believe.

andyx3x
Jun 28, 2012, 05:09 PM
I bet the 6th gen 5 iPhone will not available to pre paid vendors, or will be surprised if so...

It will be but probably not until next summer at the earliest. I doubt they will ever give it to prepaid carriers at the exact same time as Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.

malman89
Jun 28, 2012, 05:14 PM
10 stores, all in the same city? I mean, Chicago's big, but even Apple only has 5 stores in Manhattan :rolleyes:

EDIT: More direct comparison, Apple has 2 stores in Chicago.

And going to have a third shortly.

Virgin Mobile store != Apple store. Now if you compared to to more like RadioShack or Cricket, 10 wouldn't be a bad number.

----

I've had VM since April 2011, on the 1200 minutes, unlimited data/text for $40/month. I lived in Chicago for the past 5 years until a few weeks ago and am now back in the Detroit area. Looking at the maps - if you're in a spot who has coverage, VM is pretty much unbeatable dollar to dollar comparing their service and phone offerings.

Probably 100x more intriguing is the HTC One V announced for $200 today. So much cheaper than the iPhone and a solid phone as well. Might have to upgrade the Optimus V.

blackhand1001
Jun 28, 2012, 05:27 PM
I'm a long-time Virgin Mobile customer and have been generally satisfied with their 300 minute service (grandfathered in at the unbeatable $25/mo).

Their iphone is a poor deal.

You're paying full retail price for the iphone, but from what I understand from Virgin's reps, they're locking the 4S's sim card. Unlike Sprint, which at least unlocks it for international use.

If this is truly the case, it's a severe case of "why bother". Buy a factory unlocked 4S for the same price and put it on straight talk's "unlimited" plan, which is cheaper than Virgin's "unlimited" plan and get faster internet too.

Plus, your virgin-only iphone will have almost no resale value. Unlike a factory unlocked iphone.

As much as I would love to replace my crappy Optimus V with an iphone, this doesn't make much financial sense on Virgin.

get that htc evo v thing for 299. Its the best deal on virgin and is a high end phone. Android 4.0 and 1.2ghz dual core with a 3d screen and camera (gimicky i know). The rest of it is very nice.

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/htc-evo-v-phone.jsp

If you wanna spend a little bit less, theres the htc one v with a single core for 199. It also has android 4.0

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/htc-one-v-phone.jsp

snebes
Jun 28, 2012, 05:33 PM
I've heard conflicting reports -- either as soon as you stream anything they cancel you or that people stream all the time and don't have any issues. I don't know what to believe.

I haven't seen solid information either. This is why I went with the VM deal. My prepaid usage has kicked up to $30/month (on AT&T PAYG), so getting the internet free on top of the $30 is a no brainer for me. Plus I am not walking the thin line using the straightalk/tmobile deal.

And hopefully, I am part of the people sending a message to the cell phone industry, that getting the phone I want on a dumb pipe is what people really want.

adeedew
Jun 28, 2012, 06:51 PM
So if the 4s is a world phone, couldn't virgin or cricket or any other CDMA carrier let you use your factory unlocked 4s with them technically?
I understand them wanting to sell the hardware, but in my case I see no upside in buying a full price phone (that will be old in a few months when the 5 comes out) to have locked to virgin or cricket lowering the resell value. Straight talk sounds interesting thanks will look into that. If only tmobile would at least get to support 3G I'd jump over in a second.

lordofthereef
Jun 28, 2012, 06:54 PM
My contract with ATT just ended, but I am going to hold out and see if Virgin sells 6th gen iPhone when it comes out. If so - I'm jumping. I am sick of paying the 'big boys' for services that should be a lot cheaper.

I recently was in the UK and bought a sim card for my unlocked iP4, $30 for unlimited talk, text, and data for 30 days - plus hotspot! Amazing!!

Had I not experienced that - I'd probably just keep paying out my a$$ to att.

I'm sick of it. My $ is gonna do the talking now. Go Virgin...now if Sprint would improve their coverage, I'd finally feel like I was winning.

You basically just answered why "the big boys" charge you more ROFL.

Digipimp
Jun 28, 2012, 07:45 PM
too bad anyone with $649 to put out on a phone wouldn't want to be on virginmobile with a locked phone

piecloud
Jun 28, 2012, 08:04 PM
I'm a long-time Virgin Mobile customer and have been generally satisfied with their 300 minute service (grandfathered in at the unbeatable $25/mo).

Their iphone is a poor deal.

You're paying full retail price for the iphone, but from what I understand from Virgin's reps, they're locking the 4S's sim card. Unlike Sprint, which at least unlocks it for international use.

If this is truly the case, it's a severe case of "why bother". Buy a factory unlocked 4S for the same price and put it on straight talk's "unlimited" plan, which is cheaper than Virgin's "unlimited" plan and get faster internet too.

Plus, your virgin-only iphone will have almost no resale value. Unlike a factory unlocked iphone.

As much as I would love to replace my crappy Optimus V with an iphone, this doesn't make much financial sense on Virgin.


This is a serious limitation, considering the fact that they are not subsidizing the device. There is no point of getting a prepaid plan. If I don't like it, I cannot take my $650+ device to another prepaid provider. I hope people who are getting suckered into this plan, understand it.

snebes
Jun 28, 2012, 08:50 PM
This is a serious limitation, considering the fact that they are not subsidizing the device. There is no point of getting a prepaid plan. If I don't like it, I cannot take my $650+ device to another prepaid provider. I hope people who are getting suckered into this plan, understand it.

I doubt most people will be educated about that, but this is the case with almost all CDMA phones. Think of all the people with bad phones on Verizon and Sprint? They can be stuck with some pieces of crap for nearly 2 years before being able to upgrade. Especially if the phone seems great within the first month (to the user).

With the iPhone, I know what I am getting phone-wise. If I don't find the service acceptable within 30 days with VM, I will return the phone.

piecloud
Jun 28, 2012, 09:20 PM
I doubt most people will be educated about that, but this is the case with almost all CDMA phones. Think of all the people with bad phones on Verizon and Sprint? They can be stuck with some pieces of crap for nearly 2 years before being able to upgrade. Especially if the phone seems great within the first month (to the user).

With the iPhone, I know what I am getting phone-wise. If I don't find the service acceptable within 30 days with VM, I will return the phone.

Yes, but most of those phones are CDMA only. Even if it's a global phone, it's under contract and subsidized by Verizon or Sprint. I think you are better off buying the phone out of contract from apple directly and use it with a $30 T-mobile plan (after they get their 1900MHZ 3g) or use an AT&T mvno like pageplus.

Wilson1313
Jun 28, 2012, 09:50 PM
Are you able to use an unlocked iPhone 4S on Virgin Mobile or do you have to get the phone specifically through Virgin?

NoCleverSNForMe
Jun 28, 2012, 10:11 PM
Are you able to use an unlocked iPhone 4S on Virgin Mobile or do you have to get the phone specifically through Virgin?

Hey there! Yes, just like any other Virgin Mobile phone, you have to get the device directly from Virgin.

There are some people who "flash" their phones successfully, but I'm just going to go ahead and buy one direct so I don't have to worry about any missing features.

Wilson1313
Jun 28, 2012, 10:17 PM
Hey there! Yes, just like any other Virgin Mobile phone, you have to get the device directly from Virgin.

There are some people who "flash" their phones successfully, but I'm just going to go ahead and buy one direct so I don't have to worry about any missing features.

Yep, same. I'm getting mine bright and early tomorrow. The thing people don 't realize is that if the coverage is good where you are, this is a better deal by far. Even if you went with Straight Talk for $40, that is still $240 more after two years. So even if you have to sell the iPhone tethered to Virgin, I can guarantee you that someone will buy it (assuming nothing dramatic changes in the phone markets) and even if you have to sell it a bit less, will it really be $240 less? There is only so low an iPhone can go... as a soon-to-be-college student, I'll be on wifi most of the time on campus (and I know I have good reception there anyway at over 1mbps 3G) and I will use my google voice number if I run low on minutes. Virgin is by far the best!

dbo789
Jun 28, 2012, 10:51 PM
Virgin mobile stores aren't new outside of the US. Canada has had kiosks for years, and launched their first walk-in store (http://hometechmtl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/IMG_20110610_141849.jpg) last year. They've also had the iPhone for at least a year or two.

http://mobilesyrup.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/virgin-kiosk.jpg

chiefpavvy
Jun 28, 2012, 10:58 PM
Yep, same. I'm getting mine bright and early tomorrow. The thing people don 't realize is that if the coverage is good where you are, this is a better deal by far. Even if you went with Straight Talk for $40, that is still $240 more after two years. So even if you have to sell the iPhone tethered to Virgin, I can guarantee you that someone will buy it (assuming nothing dramatic changes in the phone markets) and even if you have to sell it a bit less, will it really be $240 less? There is only so low an iPhone can go... as a soon-to-be-college student, I'll be on wifi most of the time on campus (and I know I have good reception there anyway at over 1mbps 3G) and I will use my google voice number if I run low on minutes. Virgin is by far the best!

By far the best? Please pass that smoke :D

Virgin (SPRINT) has a coverage map that just screams 1996. Outside a major metro you can hang it right up. And data speeds...well, you'll be lucky to get to that 2.3GB or whatever the throttle point is.

Straight Talk provides VASTLY superior coverage (service on both AT&T and T-Mobile towers, plus many smaller regional GSM providers) and VASTLY higher data speeds. No special phone required.

NoCleverSNForMe
Jun 28, 2012, 11:06 PM
By far the best? Please pass that smoke :D

Virgin (SPRINT) has a coverage map that just screams 1996. Outside a major metro you can hang it right up. And data speeds...well, you'll be lucky to get to that 2.3GB or whatever the throttle point is.

Straight Talk provides VASTLY superior coverage (service on both AT&T and T-Mobile towers, plus many smaller regional GSM providers) and VASTLY higher data speeds. No special phone required.

Yeah, but I'd counter that with - Virgin Mobile USA is an official carrier for the iPhone, which means visual voicemail is fully supported, MMS is built right in, etc.

The lack of visual voicemail is where Straight Talk and T-Mobile lose me. And you can't use Google Voice since you can't forward calls on a prepaid phone.

----------

Virgin mobile stores aren't new outside of the US. Canada has had kiosks for years, and launched their first walk-in store (http://hometechmtl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/IMG_20110610_141849.jpg) last year. They've also had the iPhone for at least a year or two.

Image (http://mobilesyrup.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/virgin-kiosk.jpg)

Just a heads up that Virgin Mobile in the USA is completely different.

The "Virgin Mobile" brand is being licensed by Sprint for one of their two prepaid brands. So when you come to the US, you'll find that Virgin Mobile is a CDMA prepaid carrier and nothing more. (Visit their website at www.virginmobileusa.com to confirm)

----------

It will be but probably not until next summer at the earliest. I doubt they will ever give it to prepaid carriers at the exact same time as Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.

Really? I was thinking January. If it comes out in October, I can see it being a 90 or 120 day exclusive to the postpaid carriers...but then making it available to prepaid in the spring.

I'll be in line this spring!

nickn
Jun 28, 2012, 11:17 PM
10 stores, all in the same city? I mean, Chicago's big, but even Apple only has 5 stores in Manhattan :rolleyes:
EDIT: More direct comparison, Apple has 2 stores in Chicago.
There are several million of us here! I think even 10 stores is on the small side.


As much as I would love to replace my crappy Optimus V with an iphone, this doesn't make much financial sense on Virgin.


Probably 100x more intriguing is the HTC One V announced for $200 today. So much cheaper than the iPhone and a solid phone as well. Might have to upgrade the Optimus V.
I would suggest you both look at the HTC EVO V 4G. It is only $300 off contact, and has a long list of very attractive features, even compared to any price point. It has a 1.2ghz dual core CPU, WiMax support, a 4.3in. 3D display, an FM radio, 1GB RAM, etc... I have one and I absolutely love it.

get that htc evo v thing for 299. Its the best deal on virgin and is a high end phone. Android 4.0 and 1.2ghz dual core with a 3d screen and camera (gimicky i know). The rest of it is very nice.
http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/htc-evo-v-phone.jsp

I have one and it is excellent. It is one of the best phones for sale right now on any network, and at only $300 unsubsidized, it is an absolute steal.
And data speeds...well, you'll be lucky to get to that 2.3GB or whatever the throttle point is.

Straight Talk provides VASTLY superior coverage (service on both AT&T and T-Mobile towers, plus many smaller regional GSM providers) and VASTLY higher data speeds. No special phone required.

The only archaic company here is Apple. Their lack of support for newer wireless standards, such as high speed HSDPA+ installations, WiMax, LTE, and LTE Advanced is what is causing "1996" speeds for iOS users. Here are some speed tests from my Virgin Mobile USA HTC EVO V 4G with WiMax support around the Chicagoland area. I still only pay $35 a month, even with the "4G" service. Also, I should note that the "4G" WiMax service is not throttled, and you can transmit as many GB's as you want with no slow down.

chiefpavvy
Jun 28, 2012, 11:19 PM
The lack of visual voicemail is where Straight Talk and T-Mobile lose me. And you can't use Google Voice since you can't forward calls on a prepaid phone.

Actually, you can use Google Voice (Voicemail) with a prepaid phone. At least on the AT&T side of the equation. I believe T-Mobile doesn't support conditional forwarding but it works a charm on AT&T.

I always found Visual Voicemail more of a gimmick than a must have feature and I can certainly live without it (or use Google Voice, which I do, heavily) for the superior coverage and speeds which Straight Talk provides.

And make no mistake, I'm not pimping Straight Talk. I realize it isn't the best choice for every user. There are known caveats (particularly data use) which must be taken in to account. It's just that I see ST as so dramatically superior to these other prepaid options (Cricket, Virgin, et al.)

aziatiklover
Jun 28, 2012, 11:20 PM
Virgin mobile stores aren't new outside of the US. Canada has had kiosks for years, and launched their first walk-in store (http://hometechmtl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/IMG_20110610_141849.jpg) last year. They've also had the iPhone for at least a year or two.

Image (http://mobilesyrup.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/virgin-kiosk.jpg)

True, but virgin usa uses cdma that is why it was late to the game! Most gsm carriers world wide always get the iphone way before any cdma carriers. True story.

chiefpavvy
Jun 28, 2012, 11:22 PM
The only archaic company here is Apple. Their lack of support on the iPhone for newer wireless standards, such as high speed HSDPA+ installations, WiMax, LTE, and LTE Advanced is what is causing "1996" speeds. Here are some speed tests from my Virgin Mobile USA HTC EVO 4G with WiMax support. I still only pay $35 a month, even with the "4G" service. Also, I should note that the "4G" WiMax service is not throttled, and you can transmit as many GB's as you want with no slow down.

And surely, you realize Sprint's WiMax coverage map is even more pathetic than the Virgin Mobile map? You are talking about a VERY small minority of users who will have access to that. LTE is the future across the board, not WiMax.

For every rule, one can find an exception. Just realize you are the exception and not the rule.

nickn
Jun 28, 2012, 11:58 PM
And surely, you realize Sprint's WiMax coverage map is even more pathetic than the Virgin Mobile map? You are talking about a VERY small minority of users who will have access to that. LTE is the future across the board, not WiMax.

For every rule, one can find an exception. Just realize you are the exception and not the rule.

According to Clearwire, who manages the WiMax network for Sprint, their network covers over 130 million people in the U.S. That is more than 1/3 of the entire population, and is not a small number by any stretch of the imagination. Saying I am in the very small minority is ridiculous. Also, one needs to look at how Clearwire is actually representing their build out. For example, they list that they have service in Chicago, as one of their 80 markets, but it is so much more than that. To name a few, in the Chicago market alone the large surrounding towns of Elgin, Schaumburg, Waukegan, Zion, Joliet, Aurora, Naperville, Wheaton, Arlington Heights, Evanston, Crystal Lake, and Gary and Hammond IN also have service. The combined population of the metro area is around 8 million plus. If Clearwire listed every single city as a 4G market they would have thousands of markets, far surpassing any other provider.

http://www.clearwire.com/company/our-network
http://www.clear.com/coverage/

Macman45
Jun 29, 2012, 12:03 AM
This opening is not a surprise, but support for the iPhone is....Here in the UK VM want nothing to do with it (at least they didn't last time I checked) I have BB from them and the service is excellent...Wanted to put my 4S on a plan with them too, but they said no.

Maybe they will only allow it if you buy the phone from them on an extend contract?

MobileMacNerd
Jun 29, 2012, 04:20 AM
Hmm didn't see this coming but thats cool, apple is just trying to get anyone on board now with iPhones, lol anyone agree?

Wilson1313
Jun 29, 2012, 05:47 AM
By far the best? Please pass that smoke :D

Virgin (SPRINT) has a coverage map that just screams 1996. Outside a major metro you can hang it right up. And data speeds...well, you'll be lucky to get to that 2.3GB or whatever the throttle point is.

Straight Talk provides VASTLY superior coverage (service on both AT&T and T-Mobile towers, plus many smaller regional GSM providers) and VASTLY higher data speeds. No special phone required.

Ok, the end was a little sarcastic... but for many people who stay close to the cities and surrounding areas and who travel to few places around the country (or if they travel just stay near cities) Virgin is totally fine. Sure having a 99% coverage map is cool to say, but the population who actually needs that much is a small minority. Again Straight Talk may be a good deal, but as a college student I don't need their expanded coverage and I will argue that there data speeds are not "VASTLY higher" based on usage with my phone.

aajeev
Jun 29, 2012, 11:21 AM
Well, it's more of an implied that the $650 you pay to secure a phone with Virgin Mobile is in a way a contract (or an investment so to speak). So, if you really think about it, if you go with ATT or Verizon with their $199 iPhone, then break the contract which is going to cost you ETF of around $350 (or less depending on where you are on your contract). That is still less than the Virgin Mobile iPhone cost. And on the plus side, if you early terminate with ATT and pay the fee, you can request it to be unlocked.

Not quite sure what the point is here, but I just thought about that.

pyro008
Jun 29, 2012, 02:25 PM
So if the 4s is a world phone, couldn't virgin or cricket or any other CDMA carrier let you use your factory unlocked 4s with them technically?
I understand them wanting to sell the hardware, but in my case I see no upside in buying a full price phone (that will be old in a few months when the 5 comes out) to have locked to virgin or cricket lowering the resell value. Straight talk sounds interesting thanks will look into that. If only tmobile would at least get to support 3G I'd jump over in a second.

They certainly can, technically. But they won't. Especially since Sprint needs to move tons of phones.

Well, it's more of an implied that the $650 you pay to secure a phone with Virgin Mobile is in a way a contract (or an investment so to speak). So, if you really think about it, if you go with ATT or Verizon with their $199 iPhone, then break the contract which is going to cost you ETF of around $350 (or less depending on where you are on your contract). That is still less than the Virgin Mobile iPhone cost. And on the plus side, if you early terminate with ATT and pay the fee, you can request it to be unlocked.

Not quite sure what the point is here, but I just thought about that.

Not a good idea. Cell companies don't like when you break contracts and it can get you blacklisted. And the whole pont of Virgin is the monthly cost, not phone cost.

Pukey
Jun 30, 2012, 06:43 PM
If anyone has an iPhone on Virgin Mobile, please post your thoughts about it! I'd like to hear how it operates, how snappy the internet is, how good the call connections are, how well Skype works on it, etc...
I've had Virgin Mobile for about a year and have only had issues with slow internet. My calls have been mostly fine though.

thundersteele
Jul 1, 2012, 09:18 AM
Did anyone find one of the stores in Chicago? I've asked Google and the Virgin website, but there is very little information about the actual locations of the stores.

The one I found is located in Andersonville, and judging from pictures, it's not clear whether that one is open yet.

Mr Hill
Jul 1, 2012, 09:30 AM
Seems kind of pointless to get one on Virgin for $650 when that's the same price as the factory unlocked iPhone 4S that you could buy and use Straight Talk which has better coverage and faster data speeds.

Pukey
Jul 3, 2012, 02:44 PM
Has anyone bought an iPhone with Sprint or another contract carrier then broke the contract the next day or soon after to join another network? If so, how did it go? I'd like to get the 64GB iPhone on Virgin Mobile since I'm already with them, but I'd rather pay $399 with Sprint then the early termination fee of $350 which would come to $100 less than $849 for the phone with Virgin.