Cheapest iPhone Plan with Unlimited Data? Virgin Mobile $30 a Month

Price drop! You can now buy an 8GB iPhone 4 for only $199.99 from Virgin Mobile. Even after learning about the new iPhone 5S, in my opinion the iPhone 4 is still not that outdated and still works fine with nearly every app out there.

Their Beyond Talk plans at just $30 a month will get you 300 voice minutes, unlimited text messages, and unlimited data (throttled after 2.5 GB each month). To get the $5 discount, you must sign up for automatic monthly payment with a credit card, debit card or PayPal account. No contract.

Virgin Mobile is a Sprint MVNO which means your coverage is coming from Sprint towers. Compared to a regular Sprint plan, paying $200 + $30 a month can save you more than $500 dollars over a 2-year contract when compared with paying even $0 for the phone and $60+ a month for service.

For $50 a month, you can get unlimited minutes. Here are all the plans:

The site also suggests that you don’t have to pay those government taxes and fees that amount to ~$5 a month on most postpaid plans, although you may be subject to sales tax:

All of the Beyond Talk Plans are inclusive of taxes and surcharges. However, we collect sales taxes on all Top-Up transactions for all services that we process directly and, in certain states, we collect regulatory fees. Retailers are responsible for collecting sales taxes and, in some states, regulatory fees for Top-Up transactions that they process.

Unlimited Minutes + Data for $45/month from Straight Talk Prepaid

Have a used or out-of-contract iPhone? Check out the Straight Talk SIM with iPhone plan, where you switch SIM cards and bring over your AT&T iPhone and get on their $45 a month prepaid plan which includes unlimited minutes, text, and data. Since it’s prepaid, government taxes and fees are already included as well.

Still in an iPhone contract (any carrier)? Check if you are eligible for a student or employee discount, including possible savings just for being a credit union member. You can apply these for a discount on your current plan, even in the middle of a contract.

Comments

  1. I am a Virgin Mobile customer with an Android phone. Very happy with my “grandfathered” $25 Beyond Talk plan with unlimited data. HOWEVER, one must be aware that while Virgin Mobile uses Sprint Towers, there is NO ROAMING whatsoever. There are a lot of mom-and-pop cell companies in rural areas that Sprint customers use, but Virgin Mobile does not. So Virgin Mobile coverage is not nearly as widespread. You will notice this when “off the beaten path”. Compare the Virgin Mobile coverage map:

    http://www.virginmobileusa.com.....e-coverage

    with the Sprint coverage map:

    http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.jsp

    As a example (this happened to me) … If you are using your Smartphone navigation app, the GPS signal is available everywhere but the app relies on the cell phone data network for the maps. So the app quits working if you are out of the data coverage area. Unfortunately at this point you may be lost, and you are also out of cell phone coverage area. In my case, my wife has a cheap ATT go-phone that we can use for backup voice coverage.

  2. Very interesting deal. Unfortunately for me, they just changed their policy so that current plan members who buy a new phone (released after May 1st), have to also upgrade their plans to the latest pricing. I’m grandfathered into the $25 a month plan for 300 minutes + data + text, and would have a hard time giving that up–even for the iPhone. :)

    Also something to note is that Virgin Mobile has no roaming. So anywhere where Sprint doesn’t have service, Virgin won’t have service. That’s never been a problem for me, but it could be for some.

  3. I noticed this Virgin Mobile plan a year or so ago but did not act on it because the phones offered seemed to be not very good, compared to an iPhone. With the iPhone, this is now very enticing. However, I took a look at the other phones that Virgin Mobile is offering currently and the HTC EVO looked like it compared reasonably well to an iPhone 4, but for just over have the price ($299 vs. $549). The iPhone, like all Apple products, commands premium pricing. I would be interested in buying an iPhone 3GS for less money (say $299) to use on Virgin’s network, though I know the 3GS was only ever offered on AT&T’s GSM network. Perhaps when the iPhone 5 comes out Virgin will cut the price on the iPhone 4 to an amount that is more approachable than the $550/$650 being asked for the 4/4S. Overall, I very much like the idea of paying more up-front for an unsubsidized phone with a much smaller monthly fee.

  4. Jonathan, an iPhone with Sprint on the old SERO premium would cost roughly $1400 over 24 months, right? $50 x 24 + $199?

  5. Thanks for the comments about no roaming whatsoever, that’s definitely a good factor to consider.

    Since VM doesn’t have night/weekend/mobile-to-mobile talk minutes, 300 minutes is too little for the typical user, I think 1200 min plan is more realistic.

    I’m an Android user, so I would consider the $45/month plan with $300 HTC EVO

  6. I’ve used Virgin for years, and have previously written good things about them on MyMoneyBlog. However, I’m getting sick of the spotty coverage. As others have noted, the voice coverage is straight out of the 90s (stand on the roof; make your calls near a city, etc.). You MUST put the phone in ‘airplane’ mode or turn it off when out in the countryside, otherwise it’ll drain the battery dry in a couple hours.

    The claim of ‘unlimited’ data is technically true, but my data connection just plain disappears every few days and I’ve got to turn the phone off and on to get it working again. And then it can be quite slow when it does work.

    If you really, truly, need your phone (such as for business) look elsewhere. Virgin costs half as much because you do in fact get half the functional value. In the past I was happy with it, but these days I need something better.

    But you will look cool with the iPhone… (I’m actually planning to switch carriers and phones when iPhone 5 is released…and may get an iPhone then).

  7. sad girl says:

    so we cany use the grandfather plan of 25 for an iphone? that sucks i was looking forward to it :(

  8. sad girl says:

    can’t use it right?? grandfathered for 25

  9. No $25 grandfathered plan won’t apply to on iPhone or any new phones released after May 2012 – “Starting 5/27/12, new smartphones will be subject to current plan rates. This will apply if you switch phones.”

    But $30 is not too bad. :)

  10. Can you buy the phone via ebay or someplace else and take it to virgin? Or does it have to be bought from them?

  11. We’re on a Sprint family 1500 minute + unlimited data plan; previously on Virgin Mobile with really cheapo/junky Samsung Android phones.

    On our Sprint plan, the first 2 iPhones are about $75/mo each. Each incremental iPhone is $30 + taxes (up to 5 phones max). Key benefits:

    – supposedly no data throttling
    – roaming works!
    – VM does not provide bill summaries (not convenient if you need to expense items)
    – lots of local Sprint stores if you need help

    Love seeing these options … maybe we’ll see additional price erosion soon.

  12. sad girl says:

    Well even though 30 is good my dad won’t pay 30 for my phone that sucks!! i wanted the 25 grandfathered plan!!

  13. Can I buy the phone somewhere else and get virgin mobiles services on it?

  14. I have the $25.00 plan. If i switch to the Optimus Elite will I have to change to the 35 plan?

  15. I’m on the same plan as art and i get a corp. discount.

    Sprint eroded the saving by giving the discount 25% on the ($150-30-30)again for the two other phones in the plan). I dropped the detailed phone bill as they want to start charging me for something that use to be free.

    I believe my service is being throttled as the internet is just unusable most the the time, where is won’t even open a google search page. Works ok on sunday mornings and weekdays like 2am. Maybe I just found the open time, don’t rely on it.

    The voice quality is so bad I look for a land line phone. I think it is called simplexing. where only one voice is heard at a time, so I when I do talk I keep talking until I get my message across. It’s hard to keep a two way conversation.

    Art’s
    We’re on a Sprint family 1500 minute + unlimited data plan; On our Sprint plan, the first 2 iPhones are about $75/mo each.

  16. Sounds good, but will they be offering the iPhone 5 this fall (just 3 months away)? SERO will, likely at $199 with contract, which perhaps makes SERO still the better deal. What do you think?

  17. It will be $549 for the 8gb and $649 for the 16gb.

  18. Do not switch over to Virgin Mobile if you plan to use the data plan specifically for web surfing. I am a Virgin Mobile customer and I find the data plan to be useless even though I am only paying $25 a month. The plan is cheap for a reason. The phone for voice works fine but the data plan is very bad. I use a Motorola Triumph phone which is their best pay as you go phone until they recently offered the HTC EVO. Whenever I surf the web, it is extremely slow. It drops to 1X connection with one bar. Sometimes, it can’t even search at all and hangs 85% of the time.

  19. I’ve had the Virgin Mobile Smartphone Unlimited plan before it was upped to $35 (got grandfathered in at $25) and even though I don’t mind the phone (got an excellent deal on a Triumph) the service is incredibly spotty. In my home, I get 1 bar or no reception. Even when I walk outside I MIGHT get 2, and at very highest reception 3 bars (happens once in a blue moon). Texts, missed calls, and voice mails will pop up randomly that I should have received hours or even days ago. According to their voice and data maps, I should have no problems, but I get them all the time. The GPS function works good once it takes a few minutes to find a reception, but surfing the web is slow to non existent unless you have connection to back it up.

    I’m seriously considering switching back over to Verzion because of these problems, but tripling the monthly cost is.. well, unnerving.

  20. I agree with John and Matt. I’ve been using Virgin for about a year. Have been taking advantage of their low monthly prices for unlimited text and data. However, coverage is very spotty. According to their coverage map, I shouldn’t have any problems. But lately, I can’t even get one bar while inside my home. I’ve been missing phone calls and can’t send out MMS to anyone since the data connection is slow to non-existent. I’ve decided the savings isn’t worth it, if I don’t have reliable voice/text/data usage and am currently looking to switch to a different provider.

  21. I was a VM customer for 4 years, started with a basic phone and moved up to an Optimus to try the Smartphone. All the phones had spotty service. If you drive the spine of the Interstate Highway you get great service, but 10 miles off and you get 1 bar or no bars. Maybe if you live in a big city you get good service. I finally switched to a national carrier and have great service. The VM pricing is wonderful if you live near a Sprint tower go with VM, if not forget it.

  22. I have a verizon droid and I have the same problems as Matt, so I wouldn’t switch to version pay more, and have the same issues.

  23. Michele H. says:

    I’m looking at both the iPhone and Android but am stumped over which I want or need. My requirements are few. Very Few.

    I want conventional voice phone, texting,
    access to the web. Period. I don’t want or need video, I don’t want or need
    music downloading, don’t want to play games on it.

    Also, I took the little quiz on one of the sites and estimate that I’d send and receive 5 emails a day and check the web maybe twice a day. I didn’t even reach the first marker bar for measurement!

    Which device would be best and which plan would be best?

  24. Michele it doesn’t really look like you require too much. I’d go with an Adroid if I were you. Maybe the HTC One V. It doesn’t look like you’ll need the features of the iPhone too much. Therefore, paying the 549 dollars for it would just be unnecessary. The One V should have everything you need. As for a plan i’d be okay with the 35/M plan.

  25. I wish the Straight talk plan didn’t includes taxes but it does in CT.

  26. guillermo says:

    motorola triumph was an epic fail!!! I was going to buy it but then read took many bad reviews on it…I got the lg optimus v nd it works everywhere!!! literally…..nd I got the grandfather plan…I wana switch to the htc one v tho…I also read reviews on the evo 4g nd it sounds like another fail…don’t read the reviews on vm.com…google reviews on the phone yu want…trust me

  27. Jonathan or anyone else know,if sprint is giving any account credit recently if one voluntarily extends contract by one year or two years?

  28. Don’t use Virgin Mobile. I purchased their Broadbank 2 Go card and it didn’t work during one of my vacations (same location always worked before). After calling them 4 times still never worked and they wouldn’t refund my money (I even sent two letters to them). Was going to take them to small claims court but I work and did not want to take the time off work. Also their service was really really slow even if I had a lot of bands.

  29. I have five iphones on my att plan. We share only 700 minutes but never use them all and they roll over. We have two of the lines that are unlimited (will probably lose sometime in the future) and three on the 25 dollar data plan. I get a 20 pc discount (was on everything, but they may have changed that to just the main line, I have to look into it yet) and our bill is 254 a month (includes one parental control account, unlimited family text, free nights weekends, mobil to mobil). That is roughly 51 bucks for each iphone and I find even that too expensive.

  30. My iphone3gs has a severely delinquent AT&T account. Until I can save enough to settle my AT&T bill. I need a downrite dirt cheapest phone service possible but maps are necessary for my job. I suspect its best to NOT jailbreak my iPhone as apple will have nothing to do with jailbroke iPhones. I’ve read that virgin mobile is cheap but the reception is really poor which could cause me problems in maps and nationwide directions related to my time sensitive job. Is there another carrier as cheap as virgin ($45/month) but good with maps. Should I jailbreak my 3GS? Or should just get a simple prepaid “dumb-phone” maybe has maps on a “dumb-phone” and only use my iPhone for wifi s like I’m doing now?
    Help! Nachum needs options for cheap phone service.

  31. data plan is too expensive for ATT and Verizon !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. I stll use the VM triumph on $25 plan while my hubby uses a Verison Droid2 through PagePlusCellular.com on their 29.99 plan using the Verizon network because he travels a lot for his job and needs better coverage. Although most prepaid carriers use only a fraction of the towers of the primary carrier, hubby gets far better reception in the sticks when we travel by car than I do. My GPS often won’t work even in a city and using internet sometimes makes my phone restart. PagePlus has 100MB of data, 3000 texts/pictures and 1200 min of talk with $29.99 plan, and for light users they even have a $12 month plan. You can use most Sprint or Verison phones except certain prepaids on PagePlus, and most independent cell phone stores will convert so you don’t have to buy PagePlus cheap phones. But no coverage in Alaska. Only Verizon contract phones get that. There are at least 6 plans, including one not on the website. If you go into a cell phone store they can put on on an $80 for a year of 4cents/minute plan for very light users. You can add minutes if you use them sooner.

  33. Okay so, if I bought a regular iphone 4s from like best buy, could I just put that on the plan instead of buying one through virgin mobile?

  34. Jeremy Gordon says:

    I use virgin phone as a wifi router ad get internet for 30$ a month, which is cheaper than most ISP in our area…he he… thats sounds stupid, but true. I also use two uawifi ua3 adapters to get wifi signals in my house and in my garage/barn which is 120 feet away. UA3 adapters cost me only 99$ each and they are great for outdoor, so the total cost of this whole set up is 420$(thats cost of the ua3 adapters and the phone) and 30$/month.
    I am glad I am not on contract and can switch to any carrier whenever I want to.

  35. MICHAEL ROLLINS says:

    Virgin Mobile, Motorola Triumph running CM7 here. I went from Jacksonville, FL to Macon, GA on all rural routes due to accident on I-10. Had over hour of no signal but Google Navigation had “buffered” all it needed. You could see sections that weren’t “buffered” but those were outside the native path. Even if you cannot roam you would be able to dial 911 is necessary.

  36. @Sheryl – Page Plus is definitely a good option, but they don’t allow iPhones on their service and will kick you off if you try and sneak one on.

    @Jennah – You would need a Sprint iPhone, and you’d need to find a way to unlock it. You can’t use a Verizon or AT&T iPhone.

    @Jeremy – Very creative! Which Android app do you use to make it a hotspot?

    @Michael – Thanks for the data points.

  37. Rahel Marie says:

    I had a question about virgin mobile. There iPhone’s are expensive. If I wanted to get a iPhone from another store because they are cheaper , is there anyway I can still get the 30 dollar plan ?

  38. VM’s network is locked, you can’t use your own phone you have to buy a phone from VM, and if you cancel your VM service, the phone can’t be unlocked and can’t be used on anyone else’s network. So, their claims you can ‘cancel any time’ might be true, but the catch is then you have a very expensive brick in the form of the phone you bought from VM. Check the faq on VM’s website.

  39. Can iPhone 4S be used with 30/mo straight talk?

  40. My head spins sometimes thinking about how technonoly helps us, but makes us depend on it and many, like puppets, follow the latest. Yes, all the cell companies fight for our attention, but they all know e wont live without it. UNTIL WE, THE CUSTOMERS push them to go lower in price and higher in quality THEY will still empty our pockets. WE are a SUPER strong mass of powerfull people who dictate who stays on top or not. ONE company should come out with the bwst and cheapest, but still quality plan. No monopoly and most complete plan with a great phone. IF WE STOP SNIFFING THE ASS OF THOSE BIG COMPANIES with contracts THEY’LL REALIZE they better increase heir quality and change their BS practices. Everything changes for the better when we say no in masses!!! I havent decide which plan/company, but I dont need much. Just 300 a month minutes and unlimitted web/calls at $25, cricket.

  41. I’ve been a virgin mobile customer for over 2 years now and am granfathered in to the $25 a month plan. But I’m going to be switching out from VM in the near future. Here are some of my issues.

    Since a VM phone can only be used on VM it has basically no resale value. The $25 a month has been great, but the $230 I spent on the phone (LG Optimus V, which was the best smartphone they were offering at the time) needs to be factored into the cost since it’s basically worthless. So over a 2 year period I was paying about $35 a month for phone and service. Not too bad.

    except when you consider …

    No roaming. Visiting relatives in different parts of the country meant that at times I had no service because of the no roaming. While in general this isn’t a problem for me, it has been annoying.

    Data speeds are VERY SLOW. At least they have been for me on the Optimus V. Might be the phone, but that would mean going up to the $35 a month plan and getting a new phone that would have no resale value, and therefor the plan wouldn’t be cost effective.

    Not GSM compatible. While this won’t bother most people, I travel outside the country from time to time, and having a GSM phone where you could just pop in a local SIM would be fantastic.

    My wife and I are likely going to be moving to T-mobile and getting a Google Nexus 4 (right now they are just $199). A family plan for 2 with 500 megs of high speed data each (and then slow after that) would be about $88 a month (80 a month plus taxes and fees). I work in a location with Wifi, so I really don’t need that much data. My wife doesn’t use much either. So the price over two years (including the phone which would still have some value) will probably come to $52 a month. Sure, that’s about $15 a month more each than with the current VM setup, but considering that we would like a new phone that actually works well, it’s not that much more than what we’d pay if we bought a new phone and had to go with the new plan.

    We also might consider going into the family plan with a couple of our siblings, which would bring down the monthly cost to around $35 a month (or $45 for someone who wanted more data).

    Alternatively, we might go with the t-mobile $30 a month plan and use Google Voice for phone calls.

    All in all, Virgin Mobile was good at the time, but because it’s such a closed system, in the end I don’t think it’s worth it if you want a decent smartphone and for it to be usable.

  42. Is Sprint’s SERO no longer the best deal these days?

  43. Too bad Virgin Mobile’s service is bad. I had their $25 unlimited data/300 minutes plan and the calls would drop constantly. I am now on the $10 Airvoice plan which uses ATT network and the difference is night and day.

  44. I agree with other comments about Virgin’s service. Even in Boston and NYC the service is extremely slow and unreliable. It has served its purpose for me over the years, but I can’t take it anymore.

  45. How does this compare to Ting?

  46. I’m surprised no one mentioned Republic Wireless. We just got couple of months ago their Motorola Defy phone & $20 everything unlimited plan one for me and one for my wife. We are so far satisfied. Republic uses Sprint network. If you are living near a metro, like we do, should be no problems. Data speed is average. And I don’t need a superfast speed anyway.

    The phone itself is average and since we upgraded from dumb phone it is acceptable for us. I’d definitely recommend Republic Wireless for a not too demanding user who wants to save money.

  47. Screw Iphone and Virgin Mobile. I am getting unlimited data text and 100 voice minutes for $30 from t-mobile. Bought an LG l9 4.5 inch screen android phone (Jelly Bean) from them on a sale when it was $150 (no contract price). 100 minutes are low but I have downloaded the vonage app and use it to make free calls .

  48. Eric Jacobson says:

    mm is exactly right. I too got the “walmart” $30 unlimited data/100 min tmobile plan. Bought a refurb tmobile galaxy s3 on ebay and a new tmobile simcard for the plan, excellent coverage for voice and data. The tmobile s3 has built-in Wi-Fi calling as well.

  49. Don’t do it. Virgin is the absolute worst company I have ever dealt with. I bought an iPhone5 from them which they could not activate. They kept telling me it was apple’s fault, but the apple store told me it was a problem with virgins network. No one in virgins customer service cared or would help. Thier job is to get you off the phone and tell you to wait 24-72 hours for help with your case – then you call back and they act like they’ve never heard of you or your problem before. Finally I decided I would just return the phone before the return period was over… And guess what? They told me thier records said i purchased it from a retailer, not them, so i couldn’t return it to them. How’s that for shady business practices? Thankfully I bought it on my credit card and the credit card company returned my money, but I’m sure I haven’t heard the last from virgin yet. This is a horrendous company, be warned.

  50. The lowest unlimted cell phone plan at $19 is Republic Wireless. Freedompop Mobile is free but not unlimited.

  51. @T – No iPhone available on either Republic Wireless or Freedompop.

  52. I have learned my lesson – never stray away from Verizon. In New York, they have the best coverage hands down and no cheap Sprint plan can replace that. Page Plus is a Verizon MVNO with lower cost plans. Just wish they offered LTE and iPhone 5S.

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