The incessant buzz around smartphones
masks the fact that a significant portion of subscribers still use feature
phones – about half, according to the most recent numbers from Nielsen.
Virgin Mobile USA is targeting these
customers with a new monthly prepaid $40 plan that provides all-you-can-eat
voice, text, e-mail and instant messaging, plus 50 MB of Internet access.
“Even with the huge increase in data
usage, there are still millions of people who mainly talk and text … and they
deserve reliable service and phones,” payLo Director Mark Lederman said in
a statement. “Half of our current payLo customers are primarily talking
and texting, and now we’re providing to them unlimited value that suits their
The new payLo plan is only available
with four feature phones – the Samsung M575, the Kyocera S2300, the Kyocera
S2100 and the LG 101 – and there are extra fees for picture messaging and data
exceeding the plan limit. Each picture message costs 25 cents and Virgin Mobile
is charging customers $1.50 per megabyte for data past the plan’s 50 MB cap.
the data limits could be hard to reach on feature phones, which are less
bandwidth intensive than smartphones. If customers do reach the cap before the
end of the monthly plan, they can re-up the service before the end of the
billing cycle instead of paying data overage fees.
Virgin Mobile also offers two other
payLo plans. The $30 monthly rate comes with 1,500 voice minutes, 1,500
messages and 30 MB of data. The $20 plan comes with 400 voice minutes and
charges an extra 15 cents per text message, with $1.50 for each megabyte of
Virgin Mobile is one of Sprint’s prepaid
brands. Sprint bought the company in 2009.