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Virgin Mobile....

Last response: in Network Providers
February 10, 2013 11:36:08 PM

This is just a post about my experience switching from Verizon to Virgin Mobile (Sprint). Not really asking any questions... just posting some thoughts...

Anywaste, the reason why I switched from Verizon to Virgin Mobile is because my Motorola Droid basically flatlined recently at the beginning of February 2013. I had thoughts about switching over to Virgin Mobile basically due to the difference in the price plan. I bought my Droid back in January 2010 when Verizon still had the $30 per month mandatory unlimited plan. With my company's corporate discount the total bill was about $72.26 per month. That's with $40 voice plan (450 minutes) and $5 for text. As everyone knows Verizon changed their price since then and there is no more Unlimited Plan. The move to Virgin Mobile was just to cut down on my phone bill since I opted for the $35 plan ($38.07 with tax) which comes with 300 minutes. Yeah, yeah, I know for $45 I would get 1,200 minutes, but based on my usage with Verizon it's rare that I would use more than 200 minutes per month. That basically means I am saving $34.20 per month.

I was hoping to stick with Verizon just little while longer since Sprint is going to release new Android phones that supports 4G LTE rather than the abandoned 4G WiMAX which Sprint has stopped building any new WiMax towers. Also test reports have stated that LTE provides up to 22mbps while WiMax tops out at 16mbps. Unfortunately, the death of my Droid forced my hand. I ended up buying the HTC EVO V 4G phone for $150 + tax ($163.13). Since I am currently saving $34.20 per month, after 5 month I would breakeven on the phone compared to if I was still paying $72.26 for Verizon.

I won't say too much about the phone itself other than the 4.3" screen is bigger than the 3.7" screen on my Droid. It lacks a keyboard (which I kinda miss) but it is slightly lighter than Droid. The 3D camera is a gimmicky feature, yes it does take 3D pictures, but you can only look at it in 3D on this or any other "3D smartphone". You need to look at the screen at the proper angle in order to see the 3D effect without any distortion. The 3D camera basically takes two photos side-by-side (left eye / right eye) and they are merged together when you look at it on the screen. Interesting but not really useful. The screen is pretty sharp and clear. I viewed an e-book version of a textbook that I have. Like all textbooks the print is rather small to pack in a lot of text per page. I sized the page so that I so that I could read the textbook in portrait mode and zoomed out so that I could see all the text between the left and right margins. The text was really tiny and I was surprise I could actually read it, but I'm sure it puts a great strain on my eye.

Battery life seems to be okay but I have not truly tested it yet. However, most complaints about the phone was about the relatively short battery life. The good news is that the battery is replaceable. That means you can buy spare batteries from Amazon for this phone and swap out batteries when it is running low. I believe the HTC EVO has a 1800mah battery. There are also extended batteries for this phone which can be bought from Amazon with capacities that basically rounds up to 3000mah, 3500mah and 4000mah. These batteries are physically bigger so most of them come with an extended casing for the HTC.

The two things I don't like about the HTC EVO V 4G are the mushy buttons and the fact that the camera sticks out from the back of the phone. The mushy button means that some times when I try to turn on/off the phone nothing happens and I just need to try again. The same could be said about the volume buttons, but they are more responsive. Because the camera stick out a little further from the back of the phone it means it can be more easily scratched. Not really a big deal for me since I don't really take pictures. The mushy buttons are part of the HTC's casing so replacing the case should hopefully cure the mushy buttons (unless it is a poorly designed casing). However, that still leaves the camera exposed, but that can be fixed with an extended battery and casing which basically means the camera would be recessing in the case give it some protection again potential scratches.

Call quality is decent, but I only made a few short calls so far.

Lastly, there is the data plan. I have to admit that coming from Verizon's "truly" Unlimited Plan to this is quite a bit of a change. I will say that I did not really bother conserving my data plan usage. Therefore, it is not much of a surprise that I exhausted my 2.0GB data limit in less than 4 days, I actually did not even switch on 4G, I had the phone in 3G mode so I need to wait until the beginning of March to check out the 4G WiMax bandwidth. Sprint (Boost Moible, Virgin Mobile) throttles down the speed once you are past your 2.0GB monthly limit. When say "throttle" I mean THROTTLED. I am currently downloading a large file (200MB) and my download speed ranges between 9.8KB/sec and has peaked up to 35KB/sec. It has mostly hovered around 18KB/sec to 25KB/sec during that past 2 hours of downloading. Ahh.. the things I do to test something...

Compared to Verizon Unlimited Data Plan which no longer exists for anyone existing or new customers, I was generally able to download between 35KB/sec all the way up to 175KB/sec. I think I even notice it peaking at 200KB/sec from time to time. Since this was with my Motorola Droid I was getting this using 3G. And I say "Unlimited" I mean UNLIMITED. I was "abusing" my data plan every now and then during the last year. I typically use less than 1GB of data per month, but there have been times where I used 8GB or 10GB per month. I peaked at just over 15GB in a single month. I noticed not even the tiniest bit of throttling. I guess Verizon is happy that i decided to switch carriers.

More about : virgin mobile

February 11, 2013 3:52:18 AM

Just be grateful you even get "unlimited" plans in the US lol. Up here in Canada the best data plan is with Bell Mobility, it's 5gb of data with unlimited calling across Canada and unlimited text/vid/voice message. Costs $100 a month.

There is Wind mobile who offers a truly unlimited data plan, but they're only available in Edmonton and Toronto right now. Also their plans only give you coverage if you're inside the "Wind Zone" which is pretty much a big circle around the city you registered the phone in. Basically if you step outside of the city you're instantly open to roaming charges.
February 11, 2013 10:44:46 PM

Wireless contracts are the biggest scam in the world. :cry: 
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February 11, 2013 10:55:41 PM

No roaming charges are, lol.

For example to call someone in Canada from a Canadian cell phone from Europe, it would cost you almost 5$ a minute. Texts are outrageous as well.

When in reality the cost to the carriers is mere cents.

YouTube "Canada's Worst Cell Phone Bill" and watch some of those clips. There was one guy who went to Italy for a month and didn't use his phone at all, except as a camera, but forgot to turn his data off. The automatic updates from his email and Facebook alone put his phone bill to over $10,000 by the end of the month.

He sued Bell mobility for failing to inform him and they dropped it by more than half, but he was still stuck paying out a couple thousand bucks.
February 11, 2013 11:00:45 PM

I have to stay with verizon because it's the only one that reaches my daughters college campus.
February 11, 2013 11:05:40 PM

We don't have Verizon here, we also have horrible data plan options. I mean, $100 a month for 5gb? It's outrageous. Then again, you can set those plans up as a "share" plan, which means you can register more than one phone and the data would be pooled and each person could use their own share. So if you were to have two or three phones on that $100 plan, that's pretty reasonable considering most people won't use more than 2gb a month doing typical things like Facebook etc etc.
February 12, 2013 12:55:36 AM

Monkey With a Mouse said:
I have to stay with verizon because it's the only one that reaches my daughters college campus.

There's Straight Talk as a possible option. They use AT&T, Sprint and Verizon towers. There was a post in the Cellphone & Smartphone sub-forum back in January regarding which of Straight Talk's phones uses Verizon. I believe they are the models that ends with a "c".

The major complaint about Straight Talk is their customer support is pretty much horrible. Then again "horrible" might be too nice of a word for them.
February 14, 2013 6:49:31 AM

The HTC EVO V 4G has hotspot capabilities, but it costs money to actually use it. I think it's another $10 - $15 per month and it increases the "Full Speed Unlimited" 4G service by 1GB. That brings the total up to 3GB before throttling kicks in. Wow......

There are some apps that "claims" they can be used to bypass the purchasing the hotspot plan. I tried several, and I could not get them to work. Boooo... It seems Virgin Mobile has definitely locked down this feature so no hotspot functionality without paying for it.... oh well...

February 14, 2013 10:04:00 PM

I fail to see why they would charge you to use the hotspot? No carriers here in Canada charge for tethering whether it's wired or wireless. If you're already paying for a data plan, you should be able to use it on any device you want to.

Do you mean the hotspot option is locked in preferences unless you buy another add-on?
February 15, 2013 12:42:19 AM

Hotspot is an extra plan option. Of course if you want to use hotspot, then your phone needs to have that capability.

I've tried various hotspot apps and every one of them attempts to activate the hotspot I get a "data call failure". I gather that whenever hotspot is activated it logs into Virgin Mobile's (Sprint) server to check my account status. Once it finds out that I do not have the hotspot plan, the hotspot service shuts down.

I can brief detect my phone's hotspot with my Nexus 7, but that only lasts a few seconds.
February 15, 2013 12:53:23 AM

Weird, even Virgin Mobile up here doesn't charge you to use the hotspot. It's part of the phone not part of the contract; you should be able to use the data you have any way you want to. Seems kinda ridiculous tbh, I'd call them and throw a fit til they gave it to me for free or just change carriers. Lol.
February 15, 2013 1:47:44 AM

Well, having / not having hotspot is not a deal breaker. I just wanted to see if I can simply set it up and use it in an "emergency" for my Nexus 7. I didn't even know the HTC EVO had hotspot capabilities. I bought it 'cause the only other 4G smartphone was the Samsung Galaxy S2 for $130 more.
February 15, 2013 9:41:10 PM

You could always buy out your contract and check out the XDA forums for how to unlock the device, then change carriers. I don't know a whole lot about the US carriers so I can't make any recommendations unfortunately.

Buying out your contract usually costs $40 per month left of the term, or $400 flat. Whichever is more. Say you only have 5 months left, it would be $400. But say you had 14, it would be $560 as you would be paying $40 for each month.

As an alternative to buying it out, you could downsize your plan to the bare minimum which would likely be around $10 a month, and unlock the device after purchasing a SIM card for the carrier of your choice.

That way you could use a different carrier, and it would only cost you $10 a month until your contract was over with Virgin. As long as you continue to pay your contracted carrier it's not illegal to unlock it and get another SIM. It IS however illegal to flat out cut them off.

Doing the $10 a month plan (or less, I don't know what their US rates are) would save you at least 75% on buying out the contract.
February 18, 2013 1:55:10 AM

My Droid basically died. No point in bringing it over to Sprint's network. Besides it might not work on Sprint's network anyway. Both Verizon and Sprint have CDMA networks, but I read somewhere that unlocked phones are not guaranteed to work on both networks. Not sure how valid or not that is since I never looked into researching it further.

I got the cheapest plan available on Virgin Mobile which is $35 + tax; $38.03 total per month. That's for 300 minutes and unlimited text and unlimited data. Though as mentioned previously, after 2.0GB of data you are throttled down.

May 14, 2013 11:59:45 AM

I tried Virgin Mobile for about 4 months, then lucked upon Page Plus Cellular. I have 3 old Verizon phones, 2 of them smartphones, just sitting around. $12 gets you 250 talk, 250 text and a smidgen of data. You can't overrun your data because once you reach the limit, you can just keep using wireless to download, etc. 9 mb of data and using internet wireless PLUS getting the value of Verizon's wireless at a fraction of Verizon's cost. My daughter uses that one. I have her on my old Droid X2. Saved me from having to buy her an iphone. I sold her Kyocera Rise on Ebay and bought myself an iPhone 5 on Tmobile. Sweet deal. Pay Tmobile $60 month for unlim talk/Text and 2.5 gb of data. For $10 more, I can get TRULY unlimd data. They even throw in 500 mb of hotspot. Tmobile rocks. If they ever kick in the Wireless talk thru the iphone, it will be even sweeter. I liked the Page Plus deal so well for my daughter that my mom now uses it also, with my old LG Chocolat blue slider phone. It's all she needs and $12 a month to have good service is great