Yesterday, I posted a rumor regarding substantial changes to Boost Mobile’s service plan slate that are supposed to come as soon as next week revolving around matching MetroPCS and Aio Wireless.
The plan changes were said to move away from the Shrinkage model and universal unlimited data and move to tiered data allotments with throttling. But what of Virgin Mobile? Virgin Mobile’s flagship plans revolve around a data and messaging first model with the Beyond Talk slate of plans that start at $35 a month and top out at $55.
At the time that those plans were introduced in 2010, the $25 rate for unlimited data and messaging with 300 minutes of talk time was seen as rather innovative since the brand was going after what was then a small but growing niche of users that primarily used messaging and data to communicate over voice minutes.
Since then, the Beyond Talk slate has undergone changes such as monthly rate increases and the implementation of throttling after a specific amount of data, which is currently set at 2.5GB regardless of monthly rate selected. However, with Boost’s rumored changes, it only feels appropriate that Virgin’s plan slate receive an identical overhaul after four years and this is what I’ve come up with as an example:
|Current Beyond Talk Rates||Proposed Beyond Talk Rates||Messaging/Data Rates||Anytime Minutes|
|$35||$35 ($30 with Smartphone Auto-Pay Discount)||Unlimited messaging and 1GB of data (128Kbps throttle)||Unlimited|
|$45||$45 ($40 with Smartphone Auto-Pay Discount)||Unlimited messaging and 3GB of data (128Kbps throttle)||Unlimited|
|$55||$55 ($50 with Smartphone Auto-Pay Discount)||Unlimited messaging and 5GB of data (128Kbps throttle)||Unlimited|
By adding unlimited voice to the entire Beyond Talk slate and moving to a similar tiered data model, the slate suddenly becomes more compelling to more people and expanding the auto-pay discount to all smartphones outside of the iPhone would make the slate much more competitive against the increasing competition in prepaid that has seen monthly rates fall as low as $25 monthly, in the case of T-Mobile brand GoSmart Mobile and T-Mobile MVNO Simple Mobile which offer unlimited monthly voice and messaging but no data access (GoSmart bundles unlimited Facebook access, but does not include additional data access at the $25 monthly rate).
Also, by moving to the above model instead of a blanket unlimited data offering, customers would get a better idea of how much data they use monthly before being throttled to the much slower speeds, as the current model encourages heavy use and encourages complaints regarding Sprint’s data network performance as many customers seem to ignore warnings about being throttled.
If the goal with the stricter throttling was to reduce heavy usage, the above plans would be a much better way to manage heavy users by making them pay for more data and Virgin Mobile can still tout unlimited data access because the plans aren’t capped, just throttled after a certain speed.
Of course, this is all theoretical and just a suggestion to Virgin Mobile. I don’t expect any changes to be made to Virgin Mobile’s plans next month, at least not to the extent of the still unconfirmed Boost Mobile changes.