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Last updated on November 12, 2015

Virgin Mobile Review

Virgin Mobile does not offer a pay-as-you-go option, but they stand out for their wide selection of prepaid monthly plans and access to the latest phones. Note the use of old phones aren't permitted.

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The Good

Phones for almost any taste

Virgin Mobile has everything from your most basic flip phone to the latest Android and iPhones and everything in between. Plus, if you purchase from their website, you can get a discount. Virgin Mobile also makes it easy to find the phone you’re looking for by enabling you to compare several phones based on your needs and budget. Their powerful filtering tools help you sift through all the available phones as well, narrowing down your options by brand, features, condition, among others.

Monthly plans for all types of users

Virgin Mobile has two different types of prepaid phone plans: the Beyond Talk Unlimited plans and the payLo Talk and Text plans. The payLo plans are smart choices for those on a budget who don’t intend to spend as much time on their phone or who aren’t looking for a smartphone. The Beyond Talk Unlimited plans are slightly more expensive, but all plans come with unlimited text and data and are compatible with Android and other smartphones. Both types of prepaid plans have three different levels that come with different amounts of anytime minutes, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Earn money toward a new phone

If you have an old phone you’d like to get rid of, you can trade it in with Virgin Mobile for an account credit of up to $300. It doesn’t matter which carrier you got the phone from, and you can recycle up to five devices per year. Then, you can use this money to purchase a new phone from Virgin Mobile or use it toward your monthly fee for your prepaid plan. Most prepaid phone companies require you to pay full price for your new phone, putting certain phones out of reach for some. By having the option to earn money for recycling old phones, Virgin Mobile makes their products a little more accessible to their customers.

The Bad

Can't use your old phone

In order to sign up for one of Virgin Mobile’s prepaid plans, you must purchase a new phone because Virgin Mobile doesn’t allow you to keep your old one. Virgin isn’t the only company that does this, but there are many more that allow you to keep the phone you have as long as it’s compatible and you purchase a SIM card from the company. Requiring a new phone may put Virgin Mobile a little out of some people’s price range. However, they do offer a phone buyback program where you can trade in your old phone for account credit toward a new one, alleviating some of the burden.

Must pay by month

Virgin Mobile has six different prepaid plans to choose from, but all of them require you to pay for service a month at a time. This works well for frequent cell phone users but, if you only use your phone occasionally or for emergencies, a pay-as-you-go plan is a better fit. These plans can be found with companies like Verizon Wireless where you just pay for what you use.

No video messaging

Although you can send text and picture messages from your Virgin Mobile prepaid phone, there’s no way to send video messages. While the phone itself may be capable of doing so, it’s just not possible on one of these prepaid plans. This isn’t true of all prepaid plans; some other companies enable you to send video messages as well as regular text messages. However, video messaging is more of an extra and not a core component of a prepaid cell phone plan, so this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for most people.

The Details

Monthly Plans

  • Activation Fee: None
  • Data: $1.50/MB or 30MB - Unlimited
  • Minutes Included: 300 - Unlimited
  • Monthly Rate: $20 - $55
  • Texts Included: $0.15 per message or 1,500 - Unlimited


  • Access Fee: N/A
  • Activation Fee: N/A
  • Cost Per Minute: N/A
  • Cost Per Text (MMS): N/A
  • Cost Per Text (SMS): N/A
  • Data: N/A