April 9, 2009

Virgin Mobile Lowers Price Of Unlimited Plans

Virgin Mobile on Thursday announced it would offer an unlimited wireless calling plan for $50 per month. The company also unveiled a new plan to pay for customers' cell phone bills in the case of job loss.

The new price for its "Totally Unlimited" prepaid calling plan represents a $30 price reduction from the previous $80, and shows the company's determination to rival other services such as those offered by MetroPCS Communications Inc. and Leap Wireless International Inc., both of which provide unlimited calling plans for $35 to $50 per month.

Sprint Nextel Corp's Boost Mobile prepaid firm announced $50 unlimited calling in January.

Virgin's plan is essentially following suit in light of other companies' decision to drop prices for unlimited plans amidst a recession. Virgin Mobile spokeswoman Jayne Wallace told the AP the new plan is "definitely a response to the marketplace."

Virgin Mobile Chief Executive Dan Schulman told Dow Jones Newswires on Wednesday that the new initiatives attempt to "play to the situation our customers find themselves in these economic times."

"What we've done is not only give a great rate, but provide flexibility on it."

Virgin's new "Pink Slip Protection" program offers to pay customers' cell phone bills for up to three months if they lose their job while under contract.

"[Cell phone service] has become a necessity and not a luxury," Schulman said. "We want to afford some piece of mind for people who sign up for these services."

Schulman added that: "[The plans] allow us to move into different segments of the market that we weren't able to target before."

The new plan will take affect April 15. Current customers with the $80 plan will have to contact the company to switch over to the $50 plan, spokeswoman Wallace told the AP.

Virgin mobile has also offered plans that include text messaging only, they vary from $15 per month for 1,000 messages, or the "Unlimited Texter's Delight Plan" for $20.

"We know that a lot of people say 'Why am I paying for minutes? I really don't talk that much,'" Wallace said.


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