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Setting Up a Prepaid Virgin Mobile Cell Phone Account

by The Happy Rock on October 4, 2007

virgin-mobile-cell-phone-prepaid.jpgAfter my research into prepaid cell phones, I decided to add a small amount to our monthly budget and sign up for a Virgin Mobile cell phone for myself. I figured I would use about $10 a month in minutes. Once we can cancel our Verizon contract, and The Rockette gets a pre paid Virgin phone or monthly cell phone costs should drop from about $45 dollars a month to $20. After a week I am right on pace with about 14 minutes used.

The process and experience of signing up was so simple it was amazing. It was a two step process :

  1. Go to the appropriate Virgin Mobile site and pick out a phone. Here is the link to the Virgin USA site. As with most prepaid plans the selection of phones is usually slim. Virgin offers 11 phones that do a good job of providing a wide variety of features. They have a nice cell phone comparison feature that should help the process along. I picked out the Nokia Shorty, checked my coverage area, and ordered it. The cost was $21.70 with tax, but was essentially free with a $20 airtime rebate that is applied when you add minutes. I could care less about the particular phone as long as the battery lasts a while and the call quality is good. The reviews on that phone were solid, and so far I am quite happy with it. It has been a week, and I still almost have full battery life left and I haven’t had any call quality complaints.
  2. The phone arrived in three days. I cracked the plastic and quickly glanced at the manual. I then went onto the website to activate the phone. After entering the serial number, you pick a minute plan and add your first minutes. I went with the flat 18 cents a minute plan(5c text messages) with no roaming charges and ‘topped up’ for $20 dollars. It was at this point that the free $20 of airtime was applied, and the first top up was essentially free. If you sign up for one of their automatic top up plan by supplying a credit/debit card, they will give you a free $5 on your next top up. Next you type a code into you phone, and you are ready to go. The whole process took about 5 minutes and I was able to start making calls instantly.

Simple as that, no contracts, no hassle. Just add $20 every 90 days, and your account stays active. Service in my area has been perfect, and the call quality is great. So far I couldn’t ask for anything better.

(Virgin Mobile does have a kickback program that will give me free airtime for each sign up.  If you are interested, send me an email for the code) 

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed B October 4, 2007 at 4:11 pm

I guess that you got a new number. Is there anyway to keep the number from your past Verizon contract?

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Carol October 4, 2007 at 4:41 pm

My husband and I have done the same and have gone from about $100 a month to $40 every three months. It works for us. We are looking for all kinds of ways to lower costs. We just gave up HBO because the Sopranos are no longer on HBO. If there is anything else we would like to watch we will wait until it comes out on DVD and either rent it from netflixs or borrow it from the library

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Bebe October 4, 2007 at 10:45 pm

Go to virgin’s website and sign up for Sugar Mama. I have been able to stretch a $20 top up to last 90 days by earning free minutes. I have earned over 500 free minutes (up to 75/month) since I signed up with Sugar Mama.

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The Happy Rock October 5, 2007 at 9:35 am

@Ed – I didn’t have a number to port over, but according to the virgin mobile Help :

“Once you have a Virgin Mobile phone, call us at 1-888-322-1122 and ask for a live advisor. They’ll walk you through the process of programming your old phone number into your new phone. “

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melissa November 8, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Ive got a not-too-old phone (motorola camera phone)that I havent been using. Id like my young teenager to have it for emergencies. Can I do a pre-paid plan using this phone?

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The Happy Rock November 9, 2007 at 9:13 am

Melissa,

As far as I can remember, I think most of the pre paid plans need you to buy their special pre paid enabled phones.

Another option would be to sell you old phone

I know Virgin Mobile offers free phones and some of the best prepaid plans, so the cost would be minimal.

Thanks for visiting, I hoped this helped.

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Ed B November 9, 2007 at 1:13 pm

I wonder if you “unlock” your phone it would work with the prepaid companies. Perhaps if you call the Prepaid company and ask them, they might be able to help.
I used to have a phone plan with Cingular. After they were bought by AT&T they wanted me to get a new phone when I wanted to get a new plan. Someone in customer service told me that I could either unlock the phone or buy a new AT&T one.

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miranda December 3, 2007 at 12:36 pm

thankyou

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cooper February 20, 2008 at 11:58 am

First time that I read that Virgin Mobile is offering free phones in combination with prepaid plans. Will check this out. Thank you very much.

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Lisa February 28, 2008 at 1:14 am

My husband and I did a similar thing to save money. We signed up for Cingular’s (now AT&T) GoPhone. We were paying close to $60 a month beforehand for two phones with the usual type of cell phone contract plan.

We got our Gophones free because we waited for a special promotion and then signed up. So we each got a free phone and then each bought a $100 prepaid card. The cards last us all year (we don’t use our phones all that much–more for traveling or in case of an emergency.) So we ended up going from $60 a month to only $200 for the whole year. The money we saved by switching plans we now save by making auto contributions to a mutual fund account.

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The Happy Rock March 1, 2008 at 12:09 pm

@Lisa – Great job on cutting costs. Sounds like you good a pretty good deal from AT&T. They were my second choice behind mobile. At Virgin I got a free phone and will pay $80 a year and the unused minutes rollover.

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henry March 30, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Great article, thank you.

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Myby April 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Interesting topic, keep up the good work!

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Aghper Jan May 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm

I use Virgin mobile prepaid option.I am very happy with it.I pay 25$ for 3 months.the good thing is when you keep on toping up your credits never expires.

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Treina August 23, 2008 at 5:30 pm

I have had the worst experience with Virgin mobile prepaid cell phone. They loss my initial $20 Top off card from the system. They charges me $10.00 when I called, emailed or even used my landline to complain that they “took over $40.00 for “xtras”. I was calling about the initial loss of $20.00. Lets see…..$20.00 plus take for the phone,$ 35.00 for hands free and aan auto charger $20.00 for first initial top up.”lost” $80.00 in Top off for 3 months, Lossing 300 minutes because their system did not allow me to top off from my cash account before lossing them. I have lost all respect for this company, I reported them to my credit card company…..All I now have is a a soon to be useless phone by 9/18/08……. Buyers Beware!

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The Happy Rock August 24, 2008 at 7:41 am

@Treina – Sorry you have had such a bad time, it is the first bad report I have personally heard. A few things stand out as odd though. I have emailed and contacted them a few times and never been charged a penny. Also if you top up every 90 days for $20 those minutes never expire. I don’t use all my minutes and they have been piling up for more than a year. Hopefully you can get things worked out.

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Abstractmind September 5, 2008 at 10:45 am

No contract and no hassle is the best! And I think the $20 fee for every 90 days so you stay active is just fair enough.

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Allen October 6, 2008 at 3:01 pm

I currently signed up with Virgin Mobiles Pay as you go.

I bought the 50 Top up card for 1000 minutes.

The only thing is…I see people saying that they only pay 25 dollars every 90 days…But I am told:

If I do not top up within 30 days from when I did, my service along with unused minutes will go away.

What exactly do I need to do? I dont want the monthly contract….I want to pay 25 or so for 90 days, but they say I will lose my number and service if I do not top up within 30 days. Someone help. Thanks

my number is 843 670 6638 if u want to explain or allen.flaherty@comcast.net

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joey November 30, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Great article. I started using Virgin Mobile in 2007 with an $8 Marbl and have now switched all 4 of my phones. By paying as little as $5 per month for a low use acct and $25 per month for a landline replacer Virgin Mobile has allowed me to save well over $1100 per year. I also started using Virgin Mobile as my business line and have seen a significant savings as well.

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TXBug December 11, 2008 at 10:15 pm

I’ve had Virgin mobile for several years now. Pre-paid only. Not interested in contracts or monthly plans. Don’t use my phone much. I don’t even bother with having to buy the cards any more. I registered my CC with them for auto top up and my phone always has minutes. It usually runs $20. every 90 days but if I’m traveling a lot I ocasionally use more than the minimum top up amount and don’t make it the full 90 days. No biggie, they top me up early. I still spend less than $100. a year and have service year round. Have had the same number for years. Love their service and pricing. I also get to control my teenaged sons call volume by limiting his top ups and thereby his minutes. He ran out in a day or two at first and had to live without a phone. Now even he balances his phone time and no longer shares his # with everybody he knows. I get great pricing and teach my son valuable lessons on budgeting, responsibility and the value of money. Thank you Virgin Mobile.

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The Happy Rock December 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm

@Allen – As far as I know it is $20 every 90 days. I am not sure what else you heard, but I would email them again to get a straight answer.

@Joey – Great job. We pay about $140 a year for two phones when we were paying about that every three months for one phone! It is great for us low minute users.

@TXBug – You could also check because occasionally they offer a $60 for the year top up instead of the normal quarterly $20. That can save a little more. Great job with your son, and I will most likely do the same thing when my children are old enough. It is a good lesson in planning and budgeting.

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Cell Phone Registry January 20, 2009 at 9:12 am

I’ve been considering one of these pre-paid cell phones for a while but I am too addicted to my Blackberry.

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Isabelle June 17, 2009 at 11:34 am

I do not have a cell phone, but I want one. I am considering Virgin Mobile. So far, Virgin Mobile has the best deals, and a fair policy. I have a few questions though. What is a “top up”? Also, If I pay $20 every 3 months just to keep my phone activated, does that mean that if I got a, lets just say, Pay-as-you-go plan for $25 (200 minutes $20, 200 texts $5)would that mean that I would be paying roughly $45 every 3 months?????

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