Virgin Mobile has been a popular pre-paid wireless carrier in the United States for a while now, using Sprint's network as a backend. As with most carriers in the US, both iPhones and Android devices were available to customers. However, Virgin has now partnered with Apple and will only offer iPhones moving forward.
The move is part of Virgin's new "Inner Circle" program, which will give you 12 months of unlimted (with some limitations) calling, texting, and data for $1. After that, the usual $50/month fee takes effect. However, your only choice is to buy an iPhone - the store page now only lists a handful of Apple devices. Virgin's home page now says, "we're teaming with Apple to offer you nothing but the world's most popular phone." Essentially, Virgin Mobile USA is the closest thing to an Apple carrier.
This calls into question what kind of support Virgin will give to existing non-Apple users in the future, and Android fans will have to switch carriers or switch platforms.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BUSINESS WIRE), June 21, 2017 - Virgin Mobile® USA announced today it will be the first iPhone-exclusive carrier and launched a game-changing offer: Buy an iPhone and get six months of unlimited talk, text and data on Virgin Mobile’s nationwide network for only $1 when you join the “Inner Circle.” Additionally, customers who sign up by Monday, July 31 will receive a promotional offer of 12 months of service for just $1. And because Virgin Mobile wants people to experience all the Virgin brand offers, the company will feature these perks from the Virgin family to Inner Circle members for a limited time*:
This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170621005904/en/
- A round-trip companion ticket to the United Kingdom on Virgin Atlantic
- One night’s stay at Virgin Hotels
- $170 savings on an introductory offer to Virgin Wines club
- Up to 20-percent off flights on Virgin America
- 20-percent off on the Virgin Sport San Francisco Festival of Fitness (Oct. 13-15)
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and Dow Draper, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA, surprised the mobile industry when they announced the new offer that’s available exclusively on iPhone during a news conference in San Francisco today.
“Virgin has always looked to shake things up and challenge the status quo in any sector we go into,” said Branson. “Mobile is no exception and with Virgin Mobile USA, we’ve now worked with Apple to create a compelling offer for our new Inner Circle plan. Simply put, when you buy an iPhone you will get the highest quality device and service plus access to an array of Virgin experiences and offers with our group of companies. I’m excited to share that we are changing the way you experience mobile.”
Virgin Mobile worked with Apple to become the newest mobile carrier to sell its service in Apple stores. It will also be the first-ever, iPhone-only mobile carrier in the United States.
“We’re thrilled Virgin Mobile is becoming the first iPhone-only carrier, and we’re excited to be able to offer Virgin Mobile services directly to our customers in Apple stores,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new Inner Circle offer is a fun idea, and Virgin Mobile customers are going to love having the best, most advanced iPhones ever.”
iPhone and the Inner Circle offer are available to pre-order now at VirginMobileUSA.com.Customers who pre-order will receive their iPhone on Tuesday, June 27. The Inner Circle offer will also be available for purchase in Apple stores beginning that same day.
The Inner Circle offer is open to customers who purchase an iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus or iPhone SE. In addition, the Inner Circle will offer “pre-loved” iPhones in the fall with a one-year, Apple-limited warranty on VirginMobileUSA.com. That means customers can purchase the iPhones that work for them and enjoy simple wireless service and Virgin perks for $1.
“Virgin Mobile just put the fun back into wireless and created a special way for people to experience the Virgin brand,” said Dow Draper, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA. “While $1 for a year of wireless service and cool Virgin perks might sound too good to be true, it’s not. We upended everything so customers can fall in love with our service and access the Virgin world without gimmicks, catches or contracts. This way, customers are 100-percent in control of their phones and service, not mobile carriers.”
After the promotional $1 service period of six or 12 months, Inner Circle customers will transition to one of the mobile industry’s best values: $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and data at up to 4G LTE speeds.**
Finally, Virgin Mobile will help fight hunger in the United States by donating the monetary value of 10 meals to Feeding America® for every person who joins the Inner Circle plan, and one meal for everyone who posts a photo of their food on Twitter or Instagram and uses the hashtag #DonateMyPlate. Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food and groceries to more than 46 million people through a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.
About Virgin Mobile USA
Renowned for providing unique and exceptional customer experience in diverse industries, Virgin is one of the most desirable brands in the world. At Virgin Mobile USA, we connect people to the things that matter in life. That’s why we created the Inner Circle, changing the way that our members experience mobile and, in the Virgin spirit, changing our business for good. For more information, please visit VirginMobileUSA.com.
*Perks available until Sept. 30, 2017. Terms and conditions apply.**Prices exclude taxes. $1 service offer requires iPhone purchase and AutoPay when you upgrade as an existing Virgin Mobile customer or join Virgin Mobile and transfer your number.