Review of Virgin mobile phone plans

One of the most successful companies founded by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile has fast become one of the major brands in the local mobile communications space. Using the Optus 4G network, Virgin Mobile offers unique benefits such as data rollover on all its plans, unlimited calls and texts to other Virgin mobiles, and the bonus of earning Velocity Frequent Flyer points for use with sister company Virgin Airlines.

What does Virgin Mobile offer?

Virgin Mobile offers several plans on prepaid, SIM-only and mobile phone handset variations, and its competitive plan inclusions make it more than a match for Australia’s other big telcos.

Sim-only plans

Virgin Mobile’s month-to-month SIM plans start off with its $20 SIM plan, which brings $250 of included calls and texts along with 250MB of data. The range then extends through five different deals, culminating in an $80 plan offering unlimited credit and 13GB of data. With the exception of the cheapest plan, all of Virgin’s SIM-only options provide unlimited standard talk and text. It’s a similar story for international calls and texts, with the top three plans providing $300 of international credit – plenty of talk time for any friends or family living overseas.

Handset plans

When it comes to 24-month phone plans, Virgin also has you covered as its handset plan line-up extends to seven different contracts. These start with a $30 per month option with 300MB of data and $300 credit, and go all the way up to a $130 per month behemoth of a plan which brings unlimited standard credit, $500 of international credit and a whopping 21GB of data. Furthermore, you get features like free voicemail and the ability to rollover your unused calls, data and texts, as well as taking your pick of the best smartphones on the market today.

The following shows Virgin Mobile plans with the iPhone 6s (remember, the you also need to pay for the handset, hence the increased costs).

Prepaid plans

Lastly comes Virgin’s prepaid plans, and the company is no slouch at the cheap end of the market either. Virgin 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. The Plus prepaid recharges come in five options, starting at $19 for $100 of call credit plus 500MB of data, and going through to $99 for $1,800 credit and a massive 10GB – all of which lasts for up to a month.

Long Expiry credit, meanwhile, isn’t some pricey extra with Virgin. The addition of a $15 option makes it highly accessible and the first three recharge options last for a massive 180 days (i.e. six months), while the latter three last for an entire year.

Finally, the Simple prepaid offerings are focused on dirt cheap calls and texts, with each of the five recharges from $19 to $99 providing 100MB of data, with included call minutes ranging from 126 to 660. Virgin to Virgin calls and texts are completely unlimited, whilst contacting others with cost you a measly 15¢ per text and 15¢ per call minute. You can also roll over your data up to 5GB when you recharge – how simple’s that?

How does Virgin Mobile compare?

Virgin’s plans stack up well against the competition, with the telco’s data and credit inclusions often on par or even better than its main rivals. Starting with its month-to-month SIM plans, Virgin offers competitive amounts of credit at the rock bottom $20 per month price point. The deal’s data inclusion leaves something to be desired, but Virgin also has the advantage of zero up-front fees.

At the more expensive end of the market, Virgin’s recent discounts have seen its plans shoot up in value, providing far more data than similarly priced competitors. With up to 13GB of data in addition to unlimited credit, there are some tempting reasons to splash out on a more expensive Virgin plan.

A similar story applies for Virgin’s contract plans. At the cheap end, the $30 deal brings similar inclusions to other large carriers, although smaller, more budget focused telcos tend to provide more data at lower prices. As the prices go higher and the credit inclusions get larger, however, the rarefied air at the top sees Virgin competing only with fellow top telcos such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Its competitive $60 and $80 plans contain more data than their competitors at similar prices, and the massive $130 plan blows the others away with over 20GB to use on the go.

Finally, Virgin offers a swathe of prepaid options for the more cost-conscious, with one of the best value packs being its $29 recharge which provides competitive data and call rates.

With the aforementioned alternatives including long expiry and simple PAYG credit recharges, you’ll be hard pressed to find a Virgin plan that doesn’t work for you.

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