Virgin Mobile stopped selling Android smartphone as it has signed an exclusivity deal with Apple and will only retail iPhones for an unspecified amount of time. The new phones come with a plan known as "Inner Circle" which includes unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as 100MB of roaming data and 800 roaming talk minutes. The plan also comes with discounts and perks with a lot of Virgin Group services, such as Virgin Airlines, so long as customers sign up by September 31. The Inner Circle plan normally costs $50 per month but will be available for a whole year for only $1 as part of this promotion until July 31. The promotion does require the purchase of a new qualifying iPhone, which can be bought through Apple or Virgin. As expected, many caveats apply; if a customer exceeds those roaming limits, they can be terminated at Virgin's discretion. Likewise, if a customer exceeds 23GB of data in a given month, they will be deprioritized.
Current Virgin customers will not be forced to upgrade or change devices, and new customers can still bring a compatible Android device if they're looking to sign up for one of older plans. Until Virgin's deal with Apple ends, customers who want to buy a new Android phone to use on Virgin Mobile will have to get a compatible unlocked device from somewhere else. Virgin Mobile uses Sprint's network, so any phone that would work on Sprint should also work on Virgin, so long as it's unlocked.
The move stands to differentiate Virgin Mobile from the rest of the prepaid carrier pack, and comes after a recent relaunch which, according to Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, was supposed to include a major strategy change. According to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, the exclusivity deal with Apple is a way for Virgin Mobile to "shake things up" in the wireless industry. Since Virgin will no longer have to pay for retail space or developer man-hours for carrier customizations to Android phones, the company stands to save a substantial amount of money with the deal. It's currently unclear when the company is planning to start selling Android smartphones and tablets again, provided that ever happens.