Pre-paid phone provider Virgin Mobile—now owned by Sprint—is going after mobile Internet users, announcing a new pre-paid, contract-free, unlimited mobile broadband plan priced at $40 per month.
“Many unlimited broadband offerings require a contract or are on networks with limited range, so they don’t meet the need for flexibility or true mobility,” said Virgin Mobile USA’s chief marketing officer Neil Lindsay, in a statement. “The introduction of Virgin Mobile’s prepaid unlimited broadband for $40 a month will provide the access you need on a nationwide network without a contract.”
The plan is part of Virgin Mobile’s revised new Broadband2Go offerings. Virgin Mobile formerly offered $20, $40, and $60 price points; those plans have been slimmed down to two offerings priced at $40 for one month of unlimited usage, or $10 for 10 days of usage limited to 100 MB, five hours of Web browsing, 25 minutes of video, and 10,000 email messages. Virgin Mobile’s service runs on Sprint’s network.
Existing Broadband2Go customers will be able to use up their data or time on their current plans, but then will have to switch to the $10 or $40 unlimited plan. Top-ups can still be handled online with Virgin Mobile Top-Up cards, credit cards, or debit cards.
Virgin Mobile offers two devices to go along with the plan: the Ovation MC760 USB stick for notebook computers ($79.99 retail), and the MiFi 2200 ($149), which Virgin says represents the nation’s first prepaid mobile hotspot, and enables Wi-Fi devices to tap into the Internet.
Rather than pitching the service to Virgin Mobile’s typical demographic—teenagers with their first phones—the company is positioning the unlimited prepaid data plan as a good solution for the self-employed and independent workers who need to stay connected on the go, but don’t need the burden of data service contracts, perhaps because they only travel occasionally.