Review of Virgin Mobile phone plans
One of the most successful companies founded by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile has quickly become one of the major brands in the Aussie mobile communications space. Using the Optus 4G network to provide its services, Virgin Mobile offers some attractive benefits such as data rollover on all its plans, data-free music streaming, unlimited calls and texts to other Virgin Mobile customers, and Velocity Frequent Flyer points for use with sister company Virgin Airlines.
Virgin Mobile offers more than 20 different plans (arguably too many) in the shape of prepaid, SIM Only postpaid and handset bundles, giving customers a wide variety of options should they choose the ‘Big V’ for their mobile service. And even though it’s a Mobile Virtual Network Operator piggybacking off the Optus network, Virgin Mobile is often put in the same basket as big telcos Telstra, Vodafone and indeed Optus as the most comprehensive mobile providers in Australia.
So, let’s see exactly what Virgin Mobile has to offer and how it stacks up against the competition. It’s all well and good having lots of phone plans to pick from, but is there a good deal for you?
Virgin Mobile Phone Plans
|Plan Type||What’s Included||Price|
|Bundled postpaid plans (24 months)||$300 value, 500MB data||$30|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 2GB data, $50 int’l credit||$40|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 4GB data, $100 int’l credit||$50|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 8GB data, $300 int’l credit||$70|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 11GB data, $300 int’l credit||$80|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 20GB data, $500 int’l credit||$100|
|Postpaid SIM Only (12 months)||Unlimited calls and texts, 3GB data, $50 int’l credit||$30|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 11GB data, $200 int’l credit||$40|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 15GB data, $300 int’l credit||$50|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 18GB data, $500 int’l credit||$60|
|Postpaid SIM Only (No contract)||Unlimited calls and texts, 1GB data, $50 int’l credit||$30|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 4GB data, $200 int’l credit||$40|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 8GB data, $300 int’l credit||$50|
|Unlimited calls and texts, 11GB data, $500 int’l credit||$60|
|Prepaid (28 day expiry)||$100 credit, 500MB data||$19|
|$450 credit, 2GB data||$29|
|$900 credit, 5GB data||$49|
|$1500 credit, 8GB data||$79|
|$1800 credit, 10GB data||$99|
Source: Virgin Mobile website
All of the plans above feature data rollover, meaning that if you don’t use all your data in one expiry period, then it will be added onto your data allowance for the next expiry period. This is still relatively unusual in Australia, making it one of the biggest selling points of Virgin Mobile. Also, most plans include unlimited Virgin to Virgin texts and calls, while 1GB of extra data is generally billed at an automatic $10 for all postpaid plans.
A number of plans also include international credit. As for how many calls you can actually make, it varies form plan to plan and is calculated here. Canada, for example, costs 80c a minute on a postpaid SIM Only 12-month plan, and they are billed per 30 seconds. Texts are 35c each, and it pays to have a look at your desired country as these rates aren’t much more expensive than texting and calling domestically.
Data-free music streaming
Another big draw to Virgin Mobile is data-free music streaming on the majority of plans. Customers who spend $40 or more on a postpaid SIM Only or bundled handset plan can stream as much music as they want from Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music and iHeartRadio, all without using any of their monthly data allowance.
With telcos like Virgin Mobile, you will often find the best value comes with your loyalty if you sign up for either 12 or 24 months. Let’s dig into the detail.
Virgin Mobile Handset Plans
These plans are for people who like to commit and lock-in a hot new handset with their phone plan. There are six bundled plans in total, with a selection of smartphones including the iPhone 7. They range in price from $30 all the way up to $100 a month. Of course, your total price of ‘plan plus phone’ could differ depending on the plan you get. The more expensive plans generally don’t charge extra to bundle with a handset. You’ll also get data-free music streaming, which is a nice extra perk. Let’s get a quick rundown below, bundling the plans with a 32GB iPhone 7:
Virgin Mobile 12 Month SIM Only Plans
These SIM Only plans come on a 12 month contract and range in price from $30 to $60. These are the most straightforward plans – what you see is what you get. They are pretty easy to follow, as all have unlimited calls and texts, with data and international inclusions the only point of difference. Expect big data inclusions, data-free music streaming, plus periodical discounts for Velocity Frequent Flyer members, which simply add to the value.
Virgin Mobile Postpaid Monthly Plans
By far and away the easiest and simplest plans in the whole suite of what Virgin Mobile has to offer, these no contract monthly plans pack quite a lot in. These plans, like those above, entice you to spend more per month to get a lot more value added. For example, with the $50 plan, you’ll get a hefty 8GB data in total. All plans except the cheapest one get data-free music streaming. If you’re after a fuss-free, simple plan with flexibility then these plans may be for you.
Virgin Mobile Prepaid Plans
Last but not least come Virgin Mobile’s prepaid plans, and the telco is no slouch at the ‘cheap’ end of the market either. Virgin Mobile offers three types of prepaid recharges – Plus, Long Expiry and Simple, with the included value for each getting better and better the more you pay.
Plus prepaid plans are the prepaid options with the most value added. They range in price from just $19 per 28 day recharge all the way up to $99. For $19, you’ll get a relatively modest $100 value and 500MB of data. At the other end of the spectrum, the $99 plan packs in $1,800 of included value, plus 10GB of data. The important thing to note here is that none of the plans have unlimited calls and texts – instead, all have dollar values attached. A bonus, though, is that you’ll get data rollover of up to 12GB on all plans.
The Long Expiry and Simple prepaid plans are pretty self-describing. There are six long-expiry plans in total, ranging from $15 to $99. As the name suggests, they range in expiry periods from 180 up to 365 days. If it’s fuss free, long-term phone use you want, then these plans could be for you.
- Prices are indicative of what you get – $15 gets you $15 value included, and so on, all the way up to $99 for the year
- The Simple plans are also much the same, but come on a 90 day recharge
- They range in price from $19 right up to $99. All come with face value dollar inclusions, and you’ll also get 100MB data with each plan for your troubles
- Both the Long-Expiry and Simple plans offer worry-free, long-term phone use
As for how much value you will actually get for your dollars, on a Long Expiry plan a standard call is 78c a minute (plus a 40c flagfall), texts are 28c and international texts are a flat 36c each. As for the Simple plans, a standard call is 15c a minute with no flagfall and a text is 15c. In terms of value, a Simple plan is a solid option.
If you’re a rare user of your mobile phone, or you’re just looking for a cheap second plan for emergencies, then these plans could be for you. Here’s a snippet of what’s on offer:
How does Virgin Mobile compare to other service providers?
Virgin Mobile’s plans stack up well against the competition, with the telco’s data and credit inclusions often on par or even better than its rivals. And as we’ve mentioned, Virgin is one of the standout service providers when it comes to extra perks. Let’s review Virgin’s plans to those from other providers to see if the Big V has the best offer for you.
24 Month Handset Plans Compared
It goes without saying that this segment is wildly variable based on the handset you choose! If you want the latest and greatest, such as the iPhone 7, you are pretty much stuck with the Big 4 – Virgin, Vodafone, Optus and Telstra. Some of the little players do offer other phones, but are generally cheaper, entry-level smartphones. It’s worth noting that Virgin offers some of the cheapest plans bundled with a 32GB iPhone 7, starting at $62 a month for the bundle. However, if you’re after a much cheaper phone, it could pay to shop around. Keep an eye out for plans from the likes of Woolworths Mobile, which offers some bundled plans with cheaper handset.
Postpaid 12 Month Plans Compared
Virgin’s SIM Only plans compare pretty well against the other major providers – specifically Optus – that all offer pretty much exactly the same features across the board. This mostly holds true with all of the different price points, where the differences are minor, so it’s about what network you prefer.
However, these big players are often outplayed by smaller MVNOs, such as Dodo and TeleChoice. Here, Dodo stands out as one of the cheapest providers in Australia to offer unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of data on a monthly basis. TeleChoice is also pretty competitive, with 2GB for under $20. However, many of these smaller MVNOs don’t offer free music streaming or other bonuses like the big boys do, so be sure to keep this in mind when comparing offers.
Postpaid Monthly Plans Compared
This is the key battleground for most telcos, which means there are some great-value postpaid SIM Only plans around, and Virgin Mobile is no exception. The fact that most plans in this category come with the full works of unlimited calls and texts makes comparing plans nice and easy – it’s just all about how much data you want. Virgin’s postpaid no contract offerings start $30 per month for 1GB of data. You’ll find that with a little bit of hunting around in the MVNO market you can get way more data for your money.
Virgin Mobile’s most data-packed postpaid no contract plan comes with 11GB of data for an incredible $60 a month. This is more competitive in a tough field, but Dodo, Jeenee Mobile and Yomojo all offer similar amounts of data for a fair bit less each month. In this case, if you’re after a SIM Only no-contract plan, the MVNOs are hard to beat.
Prepaid Plans Compared
Virgin’s Long Expiry and Simple plans are hard to compare as the call and text rates are so different for every provider. If you’re gunning for one of these, be sure to read the Critical Information Summaries of a few plans you’ve whittled down.
Virgin’s Prepaid Plus plans do stack up well, but they run into some stiff competition from a swathe of low cost MVNOs with cheaper deals. For example, if you want 10GB of data – a reasonable request these days – you’ll be subject to paying nearly $100 if you go with Virgin. However, if you’re willing to shop around with the smaller MVNOs, then you’ll be in for some savings. Kogan Mobile, for example, offers a massive 10GB for less than $40, as does TPG. If you’re willing to spend around $45, you’ll also get 12GB with the likes of Yomojo and OVO Mobile.
Is Virgin Mobile a good move?
Like the other telco giants, Virgin Mobile has a whole heap of plans at different price points, with a variety of expiry periods. What does this mean? It means there’s likely a plan out there to suit you. This makes Virgin Mobile effectively a ‘one stop shop’ for mobile needs. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Virgin plan that doesn’t work for you, but can you find better value? The answer is Yes – if you look. While Virgin Mobile competes well with Vodafone, Optus and Telstra, it often falls behind smaller MVNOs in terms of basic value, which tend to offer more data for less money.
But it’s Virgin’s added extras that could make the difference. If you like to collect Virgin Frequent Flyer points, appreciate the benefit of rolling over unused data, or simply love streaming music without eating into your data, Virgin Mobile is definitely worth considering.