In the latest round of competition between Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile in the United States, Virgin has announced that it will offer existing T-Mobile customers a $100 incentive to switch carriers. This strategic move is said to have been a response to T-Mobile’s “no contract” service plan.
Virgin stipulates that if T-Mobile customers change providers by May 31, they will receive $100 free credit with their new plan. Nevertheless, there are some stipulations that should be noted. Customers will also need to activate a new phone and make a preliminary payment in order to be able to qualify for the credit.
The only drawback that T-Mobile converts may need to address is the fact that current hotspot functions are automatically included in T-Mobile’s plan while Virgin customers will need to pay an extra $15 per month. However, Virgin notes that this extra surcharge also includes an additional 1 gigabytes of data usage. Thus, many customers may be enticed to switched based on increased data sharing and download capabilities.
One of the main reasons that Virgin has taken this unprecedented step is their desire to counter the effect of the pronounced “no contract” service that T-Mobile has been providing for a number of years. Although Virgin Mobile contests this claim and states that they have offered similar pay-as-you-go monthly phone services, the subject is still hotly contested. Regardless of which carrier may have been truly the first to offer no-contract options, this popular alternative may put further pressure on other providers to offer a wider variety of plans to choose from.
One cannot ignore the stated benefits a customer receives when switching from T-Mobile to Virgin. Virgin offers plans starting at $55 a month, which is five dollars cheaper than T-Mobile. This flat rate includes unlimited data, messaging and talk (though we must remember that hotspot services are not included). Both offer 4G data speeds and have a relatively comparable two-year cost. One difference is that the popular Samsung Galaxy is notably less when if purchased through Virgin; a savings of more than $100 when compared to T-Mobile.
For many, the deciding factor may be the extra $15 a month that will need to be paid to Virgin for the hotspot availability (increasing the cost of a basic plan to $70). For freelancers and others who rely heavily on public WiFi, such access is pivotal. It seems that only time will tell as to whether Virgin’s offer will become a viable solution for some T-Mobile customers.