updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu May 6, 2010
Virgin shakes up smartphones with data-first plan
Sprint's prepaid wing, Virgin Mobile, promised a major change to the smartphone arena today by launching new plans and a new phone to match. The carrier's new Beyond Talk plans trade voice for data and start at $25 per month with just 300 minutes of calls but unlimited regular phone data and text messaging. Subscribers can add on $10 extra to get BlackBerry data through BIS, making a true smartphone plan about $35; the price is half that at most other US carriers.
Higher base tiers of $40 and $60 bump the number of voice minutes to 1,200 and unlimited respectively, making its $70 BlackBerry plan the least expensive completely unlimited smartphone plan in the US. Most such plans usually cost $100.
To match the BlackBerry service, Virgin is adding the BlackBerry Curve 8530. It remains the same entry-level but 3G-capable smartphone as before but will be available for just $300 contract-free when it ships at the end of May.
Other conventional phones are coming to brace the lineup and include the LG Rumor Touch, a $150 touchscreen messaging slider already on sale at Sprint, and the Kyocera Loft, a basic $70 QWERTY phone. Neither of the new entries has been given an exact ship date.
All of the new plans become available on May 12th.