Sprint Hangs Up on Virgin Mobile USA
Heads up to Virgin Mobile USA customers: Prepare for a big change to your wireless experience. Sprint announced Tuesday that it’s shuttering its Virgin Mobile prepaid service in favor of its Boost Mobile brand. Beginning the week of February 2, 2020, the major carrier will shift all customers with Virgin Mobile accounts to “comparable or better” Boost plans at “no extra cost,” according to a Sprint spokesperson.
What does all of this mean for Virgin Mobile customers, and what options do you have for your prepaid mobile service? Let’s take a look.
Boost Mobile Service & Plans
Boost Mobile offers prepaid cell phone plans similar to Virgin Mobile USA’s, which should make it relatively easy for Sprint to switch customers to an equivalent plan. You have a single prepaid option with 3 GB for $35 per month, along with three unlimited options ranging from $50 to $80 per month. An added bonus of Boost’s plans is their free music streaming perk, included with all plans, plus a significant multi-line discount.
Pros & Cons of Boost Mobile
- Affordable monthly plans
- Unlimited plans include mobile hotspot
- HD video streaming + unlimited music streaming
- Other carriers offer cheaper plans
- Fourth-best network coverage
- Mexico and Canada calling not included
Compared to equivalent Virgin Mobile USA plans, Boost Mobile is an upgrade in many ways. Its plan prices are roughly comparable, and there are more unlimited plans to choose from. You can stream music without it counting against your plan’s data allotment—especially helpful for its $35/month limited data plan—and mobile hotspot data is included with all unlimited plans.
Also like Virgin Mobile, as a Sprint MVNO, Boost Mobile ranks fourth in coverage behind MVNOs that run on other carrier networks. This could change if Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile is approved, but until then, it’s definitely a factor to consider. Other carriers also offer more options for limited data plans, Mexico and Canada calling options, as well as cheaper plans overall.
Boost vs. Other MVNOs
|Boost Mobile||Cricket Wireless||Straight Talk||Metro by T-Mobile|
|# of Unlimited Plans||3||3||4||2|
|# of Limited Prepaid Plans||1||2||1||2|
|Mobile Hotspot||Included with unlimited plans||Cricket More plan only||N/A||$40 – $60|
|Streaming Quality||SD and HD||SD||SD||SD|
|Mexico & Canada usage||Add-on only||With unlimited plans||Unlimited International plan only||Add-on only|
|Additional Perks||Tidal Music||N/A||N/A||Music Unlimited|
A few best-known alternatives to Boost Mobile are Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk, and Metro by T-Mobile. All are similar in price, though you’ll find the cheapest plans on Cricket and Straight Talk. Both Boost and Metro include a mobile hotspot with their unlimited plans, with Metro offering the most entertainment perks of the bunch—though Boost is the only brand to offer an HD streaming option with some of its prepaid plans.
If you’re looking for included calling to Mexico and Canada, Cricket Wireless is likely your best choice, with Straight Talk offering a single international-specific plan for global callers.
Options for Virgin Mobile Customers
So now that your current cell phone plan is disappearing, what should you do? Don’t worry; you have options. You can either allow Sprint to switch your plan to an equivalent Boost plan, and then decide whether Boost is a good fit; or you can explore other prepaid plans and carriers that may offer features you like and make a change before February 2. The benefit of a no-contract provider is that you can switch whenever you choose without penalties or early termination fees.
Want to explore more prepaid mobile options? Take a look at some of the most popular plans below.