Virgin Mobile USA
|Fate||Merged November 24, 2009:75|
|Founded||October 18, 2001
San Francisco, California, United States
|Headquarters||Kansas City, KS, United States|
Number of locations
Number of employees
|500 (2009)|
|Footnotes / references
Virgin Mobile USA is a prepaid wireless voice, messaging, and mobile broadband service provider in the contiguous United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico under the Virgin Mobile, sub brands payLo and Assurance Wireless. Virgin Mobile USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint Corporation.
Founded in 2001 as a joint venture between Virgin Group, and original Sprint Corporation, Virgin Mobile USA commenced operations in June, 2002 as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) providing services via the Sprint 1900 MHz CDMA network. In 2008, Virgin Mobile USA acquired post-paid services provider Helio, Inc. then in 2009, Sprint Nextel bought out joint venture partner Virgin Group, becoming the sole owner of Virgin Mobile USA.
On May 31, 2012, Virgin Mobile USA began offering products and services compatible with the Sprint's 2500 MHz 4G WiMAX network, and on February 25, 2013, Virgin Mobile USA began offering its first 4G LTE device, the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE made available for $299.99 without contract.
Virgin Mobile-branded handsets and broadband access devices are available online and at more than 40,000 retail partner locations including Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, Walmart and independent dealers nationwide. Virgin Mobile branded top-up cards are available online and in 150,000 retail locations nationwide.
Sprint Corporation licenses the right to use the Virgin Mobile brand in the United States from United Kingdom-based Virgin Group. Virgin Mobile USA is headquartered in Warren, New Jersey, United States and provides service to approximately 6 million customers.
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 3 Coverage
- 4 Distribution
- 5 Current devices
- 6 Service plans
- 7 Account security
- 8 Lack of SIM support
- 9 Marketing
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Virgin Mobile USA was formed in 2000 by a small team of wireless experts in San Francisco. In July of 2000, John Tantum and Dave Whetstone pitched Richard Branson on entering the US market after Virgin had successfully launched Virgin Mobile in the UK in the Fall of 1999. "Sounds great, let's give it a go!" was Branson's answer. At that point, the US team began pitching the US mobile operators on the concept of an MVNO, which at the time was not well understood. There had been many resellers that had come and gone (MCI was one of the highest profile examples). The MVNO concept Virgin Mobile was pitching to mobile operators was a joint venture, where both parties would have aligned incentives to create a valuable business. This was very different than the often contentious relationship that mobile operators had with resellers. Sprint had tried and failed twice with a prepaid product, and decided that maybe a partner could do it better. Once Sprint stepped up the mobile network in September of 2001, a joint venture was created between Virgin Group and Sprint Corporation, and a CEO Dan Schulman was brought in to run the business. Virgin Mobile USA began operating in the summer of 2002 and was the first mobile virtual network operator in the United States. Because prepay had a downmarket perception at the time, Virgin Mobile USA called it's service "pay as you go." It was a prepaid-only provider.
Initial public offering
In May 2007, Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. initiated an initial public offering (IPO) by filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. On October 10, 2007, Virgin Mobile's sold 27.5 million shares at US$15 per share, at the low end of the original $15–$17 prediction.
On November 15, 2007, approximately one month after the IPO, Virgin Mobile USA announced earnings for the three-month period ended September 30, 2007. The company reported that its third-quarter loss widened to $7.3 million, compared with a loss of $5.1 million in the year-ago quarter. The company also reported a pro-forma loss of 15¢ per share, compared with a loss of 10¢ per share in the year-ago period. As of November 16, 2007, shares of the company's common stock had declined to $9.19 per share.
The company reported in 2007 that it held an exclusive license for the Virgin Mobile brand in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico until the end of 2027. In exchange, Virgin Mobile USA agreed to pay 0.25% of gross revenues up to an annual limit of $4 million, adjusted annually for inflation.
Acquisition of Helio
In 2008, Virgin Mobile USA acquired Helio, Inc., a competing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) also hosted on the Sprint network, aimed at post-paid, contract users. By late 2009, Virgin Mobile USA ceased selling new Helio phones or service, dropping the Helio name.
Full acquisition by Sprint Nextel
On July 28, 2009, Sprint Nextel Corporation agreed to acquire the outstanding shares of Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. in return for Sprint Nextel stock valued at approximately US$5.50 per share of Virgin Mobile USA common stock. Prior to the purchase, Sprint Nextel owned 13.1% of Virgin Mobile USA.
After the acquisition, Sprint Nextel formed the Sprint Prepaid Group an organizational division which included Sprint's other prepaid offerings, Boost Mobile and Common Cents Mobile.
Initial smartphones and Beyond Talk plans introduction
Discontinuation of Helio
Sprint Nextel announced in March 2010 that Virgin Mobile USA would stop providing service to Helio post-paid customers on May 25, 2010. Sprint Nextel offered Helio customers incentives to switch to Sprint-branded service plans.
Integration of Common Cents Mobile
On May 18, 2011, Sprint Nextel discontinued operating its Common Cents Mobile pre-paid brand. Common Cents Mobile customers were transitioned to a Virgin Mobile USA payLo service plan that allowed the former Common Cents Mobile customers to keep their existing $.07 per minute rate.
Initial 4G devices
In May 2012, Virgin Mobile USA began offering 4G products and services using Sprint's WiMAX network. The HTC EVO V 4G, which was also previously released by Sprint as the HTC EVO 3D was the first 4G smartphone.
On February 25, 2013, Virgin Mobile USA released the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE, its first 4G device using Sprint's 4G LTE network. On June 28, 2013, Virgin Mobile USA released the Apple iPhone 5, its second device taking advantage of Sprint's LTE network. On April 1, 2014, Virgin Mobile USA released the NETGEAR Mingle mobile hotspot, its first tri-band device which is capable of using all three of Sprint's LTE bands.
Virgin Mobile USA offers wireless products and services through Virgin Mobile, payLo by Virgin Mobile, and Assurance Wireless Brought to You by Virgin Mobile.
Virgin Mobile-branded service is available to all wireless customers within the Sprint nationwide network's in the contiguous United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico coverage areas.
Virgin Mobile USA offers lifeline telephone service subsidized by the United States Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund under the Assurance Wireless Brought to You by Virgin Mobile brand. The program offers a free wireless phone, 250 free local and domestic long distance voice minutes and unlimited text messages per month to people who meet eligibility requirements and live in a participating state. In addition to the standard services users receive, users may add additional voice minutes, text messages and international long distance via pre-payment using a credit card, debit card, Virgin Mobile top up card or PayPal.
Assurance Wireless users do not receive a bill, are not required to sign a contract and do not pay activation fees or recurring fees.
As of January 2013[update], Assurance Wireless service is available to qualifying residents of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
- Alcatel ONETOUCH SPEAKEASY (payLo)
- Alcatel ONETOUCH RETRO (payLo)
- Kyocera Kona (payLo)
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy J7
- Samsung Galaxy J3
- LG G STYLO
- LG STYLO 2
- LG Volt 2
- LG Tribute 4G LTE
- LG Tribute 5
- Virgin Mobile Lumia 635
- HTC Desire 626s
- Kyocera Hydro Reach
- Moto G
- Alcatel ONETOUCH ELEVATE
- Huawei Union 4G LTE
- iPhone 5S
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone SE
Virgin Mobile USA offers services under four branded service plan types: payLo voice, text messaging and mobile web access plans, Unlimited Plans + More Data voice, text messaging and mobile web access plans, Broadband2Go data plans, and Data Done Right talk, text, and mobile web access plans. Virgin Mobile USA service plans for phones do not allow roaming. Virgin Mobile maintains the text content of text messages for three months and records of to whom and when text messages were sent for two to three months.
Virgin Mobile USA offers talk, text messaging and mobile web access plans for feature phones and smartphones under the payLo by Virgin Mobile brand. Virgin Mobile USA offers both monthly and pay-per-use payLo-branded service plans. There is no minimum monthly fee but any unused balance does not roll over from month to month. Customers must purchase at least $20 every 90 days to keep an account active.
- $20 Per Month - 400 Minutes, 15¢/Text, $1.50/MB for Web Access.
- $30 Per Month - 1500 Minutes, 1500 Text, 30MB of Web Access.
- $40 Per Month - Unlimited Minutes, Unlimited Text, 50MB of Web Access.
Unlimited Plans + More Data
Virgin Mobile USA offers unlimited talk, text messaging and mobile web access plans for feature phones and smartphones under the Unlimited Plans + More Data brand. Service plan prices begin at $25 per month for 500 voice minutes, unlimited texts, and WI-FI access only. A mid-range service plan includes unlimited minutes per month for $35 and $45, and the highest price plan includes unlimited minutes per month for $55. There is no minimum monthly fee but any unused portion of your unlimited minutes or talk & text minutes do not roll over from month to month. Once plan's 3G/4G data threshold is reached, speeds are reduced (including video) to 2G speeds for remainder of plan cycle.
- $25 Per Month Talk & Text - 500 Minutes, Unlimited Text, WI-FI Access only. Mobile data not available with this plan.
- $35 Per Month - Unlimited Minutes, Unlimited Text, 1GB of combined 3G/4G Web Access.
- $45 Per Month - Unlimited Minutes, Unlimited Text, 3GB of combined 3G/4G Web Access.
- $55 Per Month - Unlimited Minutes, Unlimited Text, 8GB of combined 3G/4G Web Access.
Virgin Mobile offers data-only Broadband2Go plans that are compatible with Virgin Mobile USA's mobile broadband modems. Users may purchase access to Broadband2Go services by the day or by the month. There's a daily plan offered with 250 MB of combined 3G/4G access and two different monthly plans: one with 1.5 GB of combined 3G/4G access or one with 6 GB of combined 3G/4G access. There is no minimum monthly fee but data access is cut off once the pre-established daily or monthly download limit is reached. Virgin Mobile discontinued certain 3G plans, including a weekly plan with a 100 MB allowance and monthly plans with an allowance of either 500 MB or 2.5 GB.
- $5/day - 250MB of combined 3G/4G access.
- $25/mo. - 1.5GB of combined 3G/4G access.
- $55/mo. - 6GB of combined 3G/4G access.
Data Done Right
Virgin Mobile offers talk, text, and mobile web access plans for feature phones and smartphones under the Data Done Right brand. Data Done Right service plans. These plans can only be purchased at Walmart.
- $30/mo. - 300 Talk Minutes, Unlimited Text, 3GB of 3G/4G access.
- $40/mo. - Unlimited Talk and Text, 3GB of 3G/4G access.
(Add a line for just $25/mo. per line)
- 2 Lines - $65/mo. - Unlimited Talk & Text, 6GB 3G/4G Data to share.
- 3 Lines - $90/mo. - Unlimited Talk & Text, 10GB 3G/4G Data to share.
- 4 Lines - $115/mo. - Unlimited Talk & Text, 14GB 3G/4G Data to share.
(Mobile Hotspot included on Multi-line Data Sharing Plans.)
Add more 3G/4G Data: One-Touch Data buy-ups make it easy!
- 1GB - $10/mo.
- 2GB - $15/mo.
- 4GB - $25/mo.
- 6GB - $35/mo.
Note : Unlimited voice and data services are while on-network (non-roaming) only. Plans include unlimited domestic text messaging (SMS only) and 100 minutes of domestic voice roaming a month. Additional roaming minutes and data roaming access may be purchased separately. Video streaming may be limited to 3G speeds. 3G/4G speeds subject to coverage/device availability. Once multi-line plan's applicable 3G/4G data threshold reached, data access ends. Once single line plan's 3G/4G data threshold is reached, speeds are reduced (including video) to 2G speeds for remainder of plan cycle. Additional domestic minutes 10¢ each. International and domestic roaming services, and other add-ons or Special Offers may be available for purchase separately. Prohibited network use rules apply.
In September, 2012, media outlets began reporting on the findings of Kevin Burke, a software developer and Virgin Mobile USA customer. Burke's experimentation led him to claim that Virgin Mobile USA's account security practices do not adequately protect customer account information.
To access their account via the Virgin Mobile USA website, customers must enter their ten-digit telephone number and a six-digit password. The maximum possible number of six-digit passwords is one million, a relatively small number. According to Burke, Virgin Mobile USA did not employ security techniques that would prevent an attacker from rapidly cycling through all possible password permutations, allowing a brute force attack to succeed in twelve days or less.
In response to the wide media coverage, Virgin Mobile updated its online account access system, limiting users to 20 attempts from one IP address.
Lack of SIM support
As of November 2015[update], most of the Virgin Mobile USA phones are capable of connecting to Sprint's LTE network, where all phone provisioning can effectively be accomplished through the SIM cards alone. Nonetheless, Virgin Mobile USA not only does not sell any SIM cards by themselves, but even specifically disallows any third-party phones (like the unlocked Nexus 5 or Nexus 6) to be brought onto their network, even if the customer does acquire a SIM card from an MVNO like Ting on their own (since, as of November 2015, Sprint themselves does not sell any SIM cards, either), and has their CDMA ESN (electronic serial number) ready (the traditional way by which provisioning of the phones takes place, still disallowed by Virgin Mobile USA for third-party phones).
Beginning on 2 May 2011, Virgin Mobile USA launched a campaign that revolved around a fictional Hollywood celebrity couple "Sparah". The campaign was expected to last six months, but ran through the end of 2011. Virgin Mobile produced multiple videos and photo galleries that starred the fictional couple and posted them to a dedicated website "sparah.com." Virgin Mobile USA hoped to connect the ability for consumers to enjoy data-intensive web content using a Virgin Mobile USA unlimited data plan.
In March 2012, Virgin Mobile introduced an ad campaign featuring Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and the slogan "We answer to a higher calling".
- "Form 10-K Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 Commission file number 1-04721 Sprint Nextel Corporation" (PDF). Sprint Nextel Corporation. 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- "Jobs At Virgin Mobile". Virgin Mobile USA. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- "Virgin Mobile USA Initial Public Offering". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. May 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
- Zuill, Lilla (2007-10-10). "UPDATE 1-Virgin Mobile USA IPO raises $412.5 mln". Reuters.
- "Virgin Trademark License Agreement for Virgin_Mobile_USA (VM)". Wikinvest.com. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- Reardon, Marguerite (2008-06-27). "Virgin Mobile USA buys Helio for $39 million". CNET.com. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 202-12-01. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
Virgin Mobile USA will pay $39 million in stock to buy operator Helio, the company said Friday.Check date values in:
- "Sprint Nextel To Acquire Virgin Mobile USA". virginmobileusa.com. Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Nickinson, Phil (2009-07-28). "Sprint purchases Virgin Mobile USA". WMExperts. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
- Flatley, Joseph L. (2010-05-06). "Sprint and Virgin Mobile announces Beyond Talk $25 prepaid plan, new prepaid brand". Engadget. AOL. Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- Lee, Nicole (2010-03-02). "Virgin Mobile will end its postpaid plans starting by May 25". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Common Cents Mobile". Common Cents Mobile. Common Cents Mobile. 2011-07-08. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
As of May 18, 2011, Common Cents Mobile has officially become payLo by Virgin Mobile.
- Dano, Mike (2011-04-08). "Sprint discontinues Common Cents Mobile prepaid brand". FierceWireless. FierceMarkets. Archived from the original on 2012-12-22. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) said it will fold its Common Cents Mobile prepaid brand into its Virgin Mobile payLo offering in May, a move that brings to an end a brand Sprint launched less than a year ago.
- "HTC EVO V 4G (Virgin Mobile USA) hands-on". Engadget. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Volpe, Joseph. "iPhone 5 heading to Virgin Mobile on June 28th". Engadget. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- " Virgin Mobile launches Sprint Spark hotspot, Netgear Mingle ", Prepaid Mobile Phone Reviews, 2014-04-01
-  Archived June 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Find a Store". virginmobileusa.com. Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- "Virgin Mobile Current Phones". Retrieved 2016-05-19.
- Svensson, Peter (2011-09-29). "Document Shows How Phone Cos. Treat Private Data". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times Company. Associated Press. ISSN 0745-9696. OCLC 9198928. Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
...Sprint Nextel Corp.'s Virgin Mobile brand keeps the text content of text messages for three months.
- "Virgin Mobile Help for Prepaid Cell Phone and Plans". Virgin Mobile USA. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
- Goodin, Dan. "Millions of Virgin Mobile accounts at risk of password attacks". Ars Techinica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
Millions of cellphone users who subscribe to Virgin Mobile risk having their online accounts compromised because of a draconian password policy enforced by the US wireless provider, a software developer said.
- "Sparah Manufactured by Virgin Mobile". SPARAH Manufactured by Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile USA. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Virgin Mobile USA Launches Ad Campaign with Debut of Pop Culture Social Experiment". Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile USA. 2011-05-02. Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
Virgin Mobile’s newest marketing campaign launches today, inviting customers to “Keep Up With Sparah.”
- Yin, Sara (2011-08-08). "Virgin Mobile Mocks T-Mobile's 'Carly' Spokeswoman". pcmag.com. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2011-08-26.
Sprint's prepaid arm, Virgin Mobile, took aim at T-Mobile spokeswoman "Carly" and an AT&T caricature in its latest advertisement.
- Vega, Tanzina (2012-03-05). "A Friendlier Cellphone Brand". New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
.com Virgin Mobile USA
.com Assurance Wireless
- Virgin Mobile USA Customer Community