Walmart has an exclusive double-data offering on the Virgin Mobile MiFi. MiFi units sold from Walmart.com and Walmart retail stores have a different serial number range, which grants them 1 GB of data for $20/month, in addition to the $50/month unlimited plan. That’s double the data (500 MB) that Virgin Mobile offers on the standard plan.
OfficeMax this week is selling the Virgin Mobile MiFi for $99, down from the suggested retail of $129.
To get the best of both worlds, print out the product page from OfficeMax, and take it to Walmart. Price match down Walmart’s MiFi to $99. Finally, enjoy the 1 GB $20/month data, instead of only having 500 MB.
For more details about the current MiFi offering, and how Walmart fits into it, read more after the break.
The MiFi 2200 is Virgin Mobile’s first MiFi device. As a Wi-Fi hotspot, it supplies EV-DO Rev A. Virgin Mobile recently however began to throttle all mobile broadband plans on unlimited usage, to 2.5 GB per month of full 3G speeds. After that, speeds are throttled to 250kbps, which Virgin Mobile claims is still 3G speed. However, the throttled speed rivals EDGE, a network commonly considered to be sub-3G.
Hence, the 1 GB plan exclusive to Walmart may be the sweet spot. At $20, it’s less than half the unlimited plan, but completely unthrottled. At $40/month for two reloads, you get 2 GB of unthrottled data, which is where it starts to become economical to switch to the unlimited plan.
Virgin Mobile service can be cancelled at any time, but it is not clear how long the 1 GB Walmart plan will remain. The 1 GB plan pre-dates the 500 MB offering on the standard $20 tier, as such, you may want to hold onto the 1 GB plan and not either cancel or go to unlimited. It is quite possible that the 1 GB plan could disappear without notice.
Both Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile have thus far grandfathered prepaid customers into their existing monthly plan tiers, for example, customers on the $25 Beyond Talk plan have not been forced to upgrade to the $35 tier, despite the $25 tier no longer being offered.
The 1 GB plan at Walmart remains an oddball, as Walmart has never touted the plan in any external marketing, and in many stores it’s not even clear that Walmart has an exclusive or enhanced MiFi offering. Virgin Mobile has not documented the plan anywhere online, except during signup, and in the My Account functions of customers who have selected the plan during activation.