(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Monday, April 1, 2013

My (positive) take on Virgin Mobile & Boost

It seems to me, Sprint is offering better deals on their prepaid service if you want a hotspot feature an an Android or iPhone. I have the Vigin Mobile ("VM") HTC Evo V and I like it well. It's the cheapest device on VM to do hotspot.

Boost is actually better deal if you want unlimited everything and hotspot. It starts out $5 cheaper and goes down $5 more every 3 months for the next 18 months for a total discount of $20/mo over VM.

VM's rate is $55 unlimited + $15 hotspot = $70. You start out on Boost paying $55 unlimited + $10 hotspot = $65. Then it begins going down by $5 every 6 months for a total of discount of $15, bringing the total cost for unlimited everything + hotspot for only $50/mo. After 18 months it ends up costing the same as VM's 300 min/text/data + hotspot.

For me personally, I don't do a great deal of voice usage. VM will run me $50/mo for 300 minutes, unlimited texts and data. In the long term, I would be better off with Boost since I wouldn't have to watch my minutes. Odds are I will be happy with 300 minutes though.

VM sucked me in with their better up front rate of $35+$15 hotspot so I'm going to go with that to start. I will change to Boost if I find that I want or need unlimited calling and sell the Evo V on ebay.

Unlimited data with throttling is acceptable for me considering the cost compared to the $30/mo capped hotspot feature on Sprint postpaid.

People get confused by the wording that VM/Boost use and get made when they find out there's throttling. It doesn't help that they bold face lie in large lettering "Unlimited - Available in 3G and 4G speeds". Then in small 'lawyer sized' print, they point out you get throttled after 2.5GB. It seems to me, 2.5GB of 3G/4G then unlimited throttled speed still beats very restrictive caps that *ALL* carriers seem to have on hotspot plans.

It seems that recently VM has changed their lawyer print some. A few months back, it said that you got 2.5GB full speed normally, or 3.5GB full speed if you had a hotspot plan. They have scaled it back to 2.5GB even with hotspot, BUT now it just says you'll be limited to 3G / 256Kbps (..or below) speeds after 2.5GB. Boost has the same updated policy on their hotspot info page.

256Kbps unlimited hotspot for someone on the road is top notch for the price, even if the coverage area isn't.

Sprint coverage is close to the worst outside of larger cities throughout most of the US (especially the western half) but the customer service is
very good (or was a few years ago anyway when I had Sprint postpaid) . I intend to mostly stick close to major cities when traveling so I should be fine.

I have a lifeline AT&T SIM Tracfone talk/text only phone with 250/mins a month. For times I need to call outside of Sprint areas, I will have it. With Google's SMS search, I can use it to find services nearby if I get desperate through it since it lacks a browser and any sort of data services. WIFI is so common now, even in small towns you can usually find it at a McDonald's or public library.

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