Virgin Mobile USA announced today that it will offer an iPhone-exclusive cellular plan that offers unlimited data, text, and calls for $50 a month. This also means Virgin will stop selling Android devices, making the company the first and only iPhone-only carrier in the US.
Called Inner Circle, Virgin is offering the plan for $1 for the first year (which only slightly follows its parent company’s offer of a free year of service to switch). To qualify, customers need to purchase an iPhone from either Virgin or Apple. After the first year, the plan reverts to being $50 monthly, then back down to $1 for six months if they purchase a new iPhone again after two years of service. Currently, Virgin offers iPhones SE, 6, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, and 7 Plus.
The “unlimited” plan does come with some restrictions, naturally
The “unlimited,” contract-less plan does come with some restrictions, naturally. Some data will be “mobile-optimized,” capping video streams at 480p resolution and music at 500 kilobits per second. Data speeds will also be throttled after 23 gigabytes are used in a month. Customers can add on extras like $5 a month for unlimited calls to Canada and Mexico and global texting, or $10 for the aforementioned services plus 200 minutes of voice calls to “select mobile” phones in 50 countries.
Since earlier this spring, US carriers have been competing to offer the cheapest possible unlimited mobile plan. While carriers like T-Mobile have been focused on flat rates and giving customers freebies every Tuesday, AT&T mostly played catch-up with lowering prices while bundling the plan with its DirecTV product. Virgin instead went for the partnership route, adding Apple to its roster of luxe products.
The Virgin subscription also signs users up for perks from other Virgin properties, such as a free companion ticket to the UK via Virgin Atlantic, a free night at a Virgin Hotel, or discounts on wines and Virgin America flights. The $1-a-year offer will go live on June 27th and go until July 31st.