While we’ve heard a lot about municipalities using public telephones as locations for Wi-Fi hotspots, Virgin has come up with a way to deliver public Wi-Fi in a way that most of us will never see. Virgin on Thursday announced its first deployment of “Smart Wi-Fi Pavement,” which is really just a clever marketing term for the company’s new Wi-Fi hotspots that are embedded inside of manholes. More →
Today, Virgin Mobile USA quietly added a 1GB prepaid data-plan to its Broadband2Go offerings; the plan will retail for $20 per month. The 1GB plan, which will be a Walmart exclusive, fills the gap between the company’s $10, 100MB and $40, unlimited monthly data options. Here is an official statement from a Virgin Mobile representative:
Today Virgin Mobile launched an exclusive $20 Broadband2Go mobile broadband plan available only at Walmart stores and online at http://www.Walmart.com. This new offer, available only to consumers who have purchased or will purchase a Novatel Wireless MiFi® 2200 device or Ovation™ MC760 USB device from a Walmart store or from http://www.Walmart.com, provides 1 GB of data for an affordable $20/month price point.
The company noted that the plan is aimed at “budget-conscious consumers who are looking for a mid-tier plan falling somewhere between heavy and light usage.” Not a bad option for those in need of both mobile connectivity and contract flexibility.
If you prefer your smartphone service to be void of contracts, Virgin Mobile has some news for you. Today, the prepaid wireless carrier officially announced that it was adding the Samsung Intercept to its smartphone lineup. The Intercept, which will be available in mid-October, packs an 800 MHz processor, 3.2-inch touchscreen display, full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 megapixel camera, and Android 2.1. The device will retail for $249.99 contract-free and can be added to one of Virgin Mobile’s very reasonable plans ($25, $40, $60). More →
Today, Virgin Mobile USA announced that it would do away with its currently tiered $20, $40, and $60 prepaid mobile broadband plans and replace them with a prepaid, unlimited, $40 per month offering. Via a press release, Virgin wrote: “A recent study from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that the self-employed and independent workers represent approximately 30% of the nation’s workforce. The study determined that this segment of the self-employed population, consisting mainly of small business owners and freelancers, represents a large market of consumers who need to stay connected, mainly with email and internet browsing, without the constraints of a contract.” Virgin also noted it would offer a $10 per month, 100 MB plan for those users who need connectivity infrequently. Virgin currently offers an Ovation USB data-stick priced at $79.99 and a MiFi 2200 device priced at $149.99. What do you think? Prepaid, as you need it, mobile broadband. Any takers? More →
We assure you that we’re not trying to stir up rumors with this one, but we’re starting to get the feeling that the Canadian launch of the iPhone 4 might have been pushed back. While checking out Apple’s Canadian website earlier on in the day, we couldn’t help but notice that “Coming in July” had been replaced with “Coming Soon.” There’s no way that Apple would change that unless something was up, and when you take into consideration the insane amount of pre-orders Apple received in the US alone, one’s mind does start to put one and two together. Keep in mind that Canada wasn’t deemed worthy to share a June 24th launch with the US, UK, Germany, France, and Japan. If you were Apple and your product was selling faster than you could make it, would you piss off everyone who put in a pre-order to sell a few units in a market that hasn’t been told a specific release date or been given the opportunity to buy the thing, or would you do your best to fulfill every outstanding order? It’s also interesting to note that the exact same thing happened to the iPad, and we all know how that turned out.
We’ve reached out to Apple Canada for comment. More →
It looks like the Canadian BlackBerry faithful won’t have to wait too much longer to get their hands on the BlackBerry Pearl 3G, as one of our Virgin Mobile connects just sent us in a bunch of pictures of a newly arrived dummy model. We have been told to expected the actual devices to arrive in stores very, very shortly, and that the 3-year price will be $49.99, with the option for a 30-day contract at $349.99. One more pic after the jump.
Thanks, T! More →
Virgin Mobile fired shots across the bow of its pre-paid competition this morning as it officially launched the Beyond Talk plans that we told you about just under a week ago. Starting at $25, the main selling point of the Beyond Talk service offerings is that they all feature unlimited text, email, data and web. The reason for the difference in price between the plans is the number of minutes you get. The $25 and $40 plans are good for 300 and 1,200 minutes respectively, while the $60 plan offers unlimited voice. For an extra $10, you can add BlackBerry data. Of course you won’t be able to use a BlackBerry on Virgin until the end of this month when it launches the Curve 8530 for $299.99, but the prospect of a pre-paid BlackBerry plan for $35 is worth waiting a few weeks for, right? More →
Some huge news this evening in the world of prepaid mobiles as Sprint has announced its new strategies for Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. With some 60 million Americans using prepaid mobiles, Sprint feels the time is right to make an all-out assault on the market. Said Sprint’s Dan Schulman: “This is the year that prepaid moves to the forefront of the wireless industry. In the first quarter of 2010, more than half of the mobile gross additions in the U.S. selected prepaid, and we predict that approximately 70% of the net adds in 2010 will choose plans without a contract,” adding that “the no-contract market has clearly moved beyond the credit-challenged and lower income segments.” Here’s what’s in the pipeline.
As of May 12th, Virgin Mobile will begin offering Beyond Talk plans. Ranging from $25 to $60 per month, each plan includes unlimited SMS/MMS, email, data and web. The $25 plan includes 300 minutes, the $40 plan 1,200 minutes and the $60 plan has unlimited minutes. Throw in an extra $10 per month and you’ll be able to hook a BlackBerry up to BIS. Yes, you read that right. $35 for a BlackBerry with unlimited data. If you’re a bit puzzled as to why Virgin is more focused on data and texts over voice minutes, the reason is simple: the amount of voice minutes used by young adults continues to plummet as email, IM and SMS grows at a rate of 150% during the years 2007 to 2009. Factor in 1800% growth in mobile data in this segment and it’s pretty obvious Virgin is one of the few companies that actually caters to the demands of its customers. This brings us to its new handsets. Virgin Mobile will be bringing the LG Rumor Touch and Rumor 2 ($149.99 and $89.99, both only available off contract), and Kyocera Loft ($69.99) into the fold with the BlackBerry Curve 8530 launching at the end of May with a retail price of $299.99.
As for Boost, not much is new in terms of plans (keep in mind it just announced that unlimited calls to 411, email and IM were recently added to its $50 unlimited plan which also includes all the talking, texting and web you wish), but now we know for sure that it will soon be carrying the Samsung Rant and Kyocera Incognito, Mirror and Juno.
Hit up the jump to check out the press release. More →
Didn’t see this one coming… Apparently Branson’s Helio-hawking MVNO Virgin Mobile is about to be gobbled up by the nation’s number three. Sprint has officially announced its intentions to acquire the popular prepaid peddler and according to the release, it’s a done deal. Sprint will cough up $483 million in total for the acquisition, though its current 13.1 percent stake in the company factors into that figure. The carrier will also cover VM’s $250 million in debt at closing. We’re not yet sure how the VM brand will be positioned in Sprint’s arsenal — perhaps it will remain a separate brand or maybe it will be folded into Boost Mobile — but the bottom line is Sprint sees plenty of potential in the prepaid market. You know what they say… There’s no money like up front money.
Internet access and WiFi are becoming ubiquitous these days with coffee shops, libraries, bookstores and even McDonald’s offering some type of access to the net. We have been waiting for an airline to finally offer WiFi and it looks like Virgin America will be the first to offer it fleet-wide. If you subscribe to Virgin’s email notifications, you’ll notice that the airline company will be launching a beta of its Gogo® in-flight Internet service on November 22, coinciding with the first-ever live stream of YouTube. In addition to cash-less ordering of food and drinks, some of the largest behind-the-seat television screens, USB/Electrical/Ethernet ports at every seat and over 3000 MP3s at every seat, this new service is really going to help Virgin America take off. The WiFi will only be a beta at the end of this month but will be 100% live throughout its fleet in the Spring of 2009. Virgin America is now Serving San Francisco (hub), Los Angeles (secondary hub), Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, New York JFK, Washington DC Dulles and soon Chicago.
[Thanks, Roger A!]
Earlier this year, around March, news of the Helio Ocean 2 was flooding the ‘net with diagrams “leaked” by the FCC. Well, the rumors and possibilities were quickly trashed when news of a Virgin Mobile acquisition of Helio came out. ‘Twas a sad day for hardcore Helio fans and mixed emotions were abound in the VM camp. However, it seems that Helio is still maintaining its unique branding of software and equipment even after the VM absorption, which makes the news of this new device all the more legit. The image speaks for itself: It distinctly resembles the original OZ1 and is even branded with the Helio name. It also appears to have touch-sensitive surfaces where the physical buttons used to be, which likely means haptic feedback, too. There’s even an optical joystick for navigation. Seems like it would also feature a QVGA display, Ev-DO, 2 megapixel cam with video, full HTML browser, and A2DP support. The phone should “wow” all the Helions who are still clinging onto their first-generation Oceans, but…
When is this sweet little gadget coming out? According to the folks over at Heliocity, they received an e-mail from a higher-up at Virgin telling them it’s not slated until early 2009! Are they kidding? They’ll have a lot of catching up to do because it’s likely this device might be outdated at that point (since it’s close to being ‘dated before its release). Come on, VM! Helio waited an eternity to update this and look where it got them. For the few die-hards that didn’t leave Helio and refuse to budge, cross those fingers and hope this comes out sooner than later.
After months of speculation and rumors of bankruptcy, Helio finally completed that deal with Virgin Mobile. For the better part of the year, forums, blogs, and news sites were aflame with SK Telekom’s restructuring at Helio, Earthlink’s decreasing role in its mobile venture, and Helio’s shrinking profits and customer base. VM then came along in an attempt to salvage what was left of the dying baby conceived by SKT and Earthlink.
Helio customers weren’t too thrilled, but VM users were excited at the possibility of bringing Helio’s plans over and getting a new post-paid option. Regardless of how they felt, the deal is done and final… Helio always asked, “Don’t call us a phone company,” now we can see why. We’ll miss you Helio. The Ocean 2 looked to be awesome, too…