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No Contract: $149 Android phone, $25 unlimited data and 300 min (marketwire.com)
25 points by dave1619 2452 days ago | hide | past | web | 30 comments | favorite

I had actually considered getting this a few months ago. I was also looking at tmobile prepaid which also has an android phone. Initially they both looked like too good to be true deals and then i learned the reason for that. The phones they both offer are terrible. Small and very underpowered. With i think the Virgin Mobile phone running android 1.6. Which is like buying a computer with Windows 95 or 2000 on it. Sure its running "windows" but no software will actually work on it so whats the point.

Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile prepaid also get terrible reviews.

In the end i spent the extra money and got a Droid X on contract with Verizon. Its a great phone with good coverage.

Does anyone know of a website or means with which I can reliably determine whether there's good coverage from a service (in this case Virgin) in my area? I'd love to switch, these AT&T rates are killing me.

Here's Virgin's coverage map for voice-usage: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/check-cell-phone-coverage

It looks like Virgin uses Sprint's 3G network. Here's their coverage map: http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.jsp?ECID=vanity:coverage

Finally, here is a CNET review of the LG Optimus V (the phone featured in this particular plan): http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/lg-optimus-v-virgin/4505...

VM USA is owned by Sprint, so you get the same coverage as a Sprint customer minus the ability to roam off Sprint's network.

My mother got this phone with this plan, it's not the best thing in the world (the screen is a bit too low-res) but for $25 I think it's a fantastic deal for a device/service which really isn't that noticeably different than what the 'high end' android phones offer.

I currently have a Droid Incredible with a $70 plan on Verizon ($75 after bullshit fees) and I felt like a schmuck for paying so much when I saw her phone.

I previously had a prepaid phone on Virgin and it worked fine. Ended up switching carriers just to get a data plan. I think I'll be switching back once my contract is up.

I have the Samsung Intercept, which is also offered by Virgin Mobile for the same plan. It's about $100 more expensive, and while I can't vouch for whether it's $100 better since I've never used the LG phone, I can say that you get what you pay for. Still, it's very encouraging to see this trend, and really when you compare how much you're saving on the contract then the phone essentially pays for itself within the year even if you get the more expensive Intercept.

They deduct minutes to every call to voice mail. Google Voice and Skype seem to take out from the 300 too. You really can't talk with this plan. This is for data-centric use.

The other big limitation compared to a traditional plan is that nights and weekends are full price. So it is hard to compare a 450 minute AT&T plan to this 300 minute one.

But the texting rates are much, much better than a traditional carrier.

Like every other operator. Att here evens deduct s my minutes for received g voice calls.

But Android has sip clients. who needs voice?

Also there are plenty of skype apk patched to behave the same in wifi and 3g, meaning it will go via data no matter what

In 2.3 (Gingerbread), SIP is baked right into OS and integrates seamlessly into Google Voice & the regular phone UI, so you don't even have to run an external client.

I call that a SIP client too :)

This has got to be the best deal for a prepaid Android phone ever. The $25 month unlimited data and 300 minutes is the best voice/data plan out there as well.

When something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Alternately, everything you're used to is just a really bad deal.

Speaking of, does HN know of a cheap android phone available internationally?

A friend recently bought a ZTE Blade. I haven't tried it personally but he's very exited with it, and looking at the specs it seems to be a good, cheap android phone.

It's available in a few countries other than the US like the UK, France and Switzerland. Depending on where you buy it, an unlocked phone will cost about $150 to $250.

In the UK Orange sell a rebranded version of the Blade on Pay As You Go, called the Orange San Francisco. Several people in my office have bought one, since they're only £100 here and can be trivially unlocked to run on any network. It's a little slower than high-end Android phones, but appears to be very usable.

If you buy this phone, can you use it as a wifi only and never actually activate it with VM? Or can you pay for a month, cancel and still use it on wifi? Might be a good tester device option.

Yes, you can use WiFi only without ever activating it or paying VM. I did it myself: http://blog.gerundinganimal.com/2011/01/cheap-wifi-only-andr...

Thanks! I am on Sprint with the SERO plan now - its $30 a month - but i have a very old windows mobile phone - I could upgrade my device but then i also get $20 extra tacked on a month on the SERO plan. Maybe this is a better option.

If there's no contract, there's nothing to cancel. What you can't do with this is put it on a different cellular network (as you could do with an unlocked GSM phone), but wifi should be fine...

How's their service in the US (specifically CA)? My contract with T-Mobile is up in April and I'm paying $70 for 300minutes + 5 unlimited contacts + unlimited web and 400 incl. text messages.

Virgin Mobile USA uses Sprint PCS Network.

Bonus: while it does not ship configured to do so by default, the phone can be used as a "mobile hotspot" (tethered) after a simple modification.

I think I'll go pick one up.

I have a BlackBerry on Virgin and while the device is pretty atrocious, the coverage is great in SF. (The customer service is not quite up to par, however.)

Can you buy a phone somewhere else and sign up for their plan?

You can buy the device from a third party but they only allow Virgin-branded devices on the network.

no virgin mobile here.but if they are anything like pcs, which advertise unlimited web and calls for 40, then data for them means some proxied sites only

It's not like that for VMU, you can reach any site on the net afaik. The "unlimited" is 5gigs/mo, after that they will throttle you. I've read complaints that they add extra jitter to SIP protocol traffic, though.

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