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Sprint adds LTE phones to Virgin Mobile (now), Boost Mobile (soon)


iansltx

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This morning Sprint added the Samsung Galaxy Victory to Virgin Mobile's lineup, for $299.99. The significance? It's the first time Sprint has allowed an LTE phone onto one of its wholly-owned prepaid networks.

 

I'm not completely sure about this, but I think that this is the first time you can get an LTE phone on any prepaid provider...outside Ting...that isn't an iPad, and that will get LTE service.

 

Anyway, plan pricing has not changed with the new phone; plans are still $35/$45/$55 depending on how many voice minutes you need. $15 per month extra buys you sanctioned tethering.

 

This puts Virgin Mobile at $15 per month less than Sprint As You Go monthly cost-wise for more or less the same thing; Sprint will potentially throttle VMo users above 2.5GB but my bet is that that won't happen on LTE for awhile. Though you also lose roaming, assuming Sprint As You Go allows roaming. If you can live with these caveats though, Virgin Mobile will save you money pretty quickly over picking up the same phone with a comparable plan on Sprint As You Go.

 

As for Boost, it's getting two phones: the HTC One SV ($300) and the ZTE Force ($200). There's only one plan option, and it doesn't allow tethering, but it starts at the same price as Virgin's unlimited offering and goes down from there every six months, bottoming out at $40/mo after 18 months. So your average monthly bill over 24 months is $47.50.

 

Hopefully the new prepaid unlimited options will allow Sprint to pick up some more customers without having to subsidize phones much/at all. Or maybe just move 3G-only or WiMAX customers to LTE since the LTE network has better capacity.

 

My hope is that Sprint will move enough phones through these secondary channels that the price of a phone with LTE in PCS G will drop to $150 or so, ubsubsidized. It's a bit of a pipe dream, sure, but I'm betting ZTE will make it happen at some point in 2013.

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How odd. The Galaxy Victory is now on Virgin, as well as Sprint As You Go. Virgin is $35 (ish), SAYG is $70. So, for an extra $35 a month, you get

+roaming

+real customer service

+option to additionally purchase Sprint's service and repair programs (and not just insurance)

+your phone is $50 cheaper ($299 on Virgin vs $249 on SAYG), saving you ~$2/month over 24 months

+you don't get throttled for your data

+you don't get relegated to "bottom tier" for capacity

 

hmm. not sure if it's worth $35 a month or not. I'd rather be on a contract plan than SAYG with that.

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You've got to figure this has to do with keeping up with T-Mobile; after all, they're offering 4G with throttling on Monthly4G and their new PAYG plans (can't remember what they're called...). Granted it's HSDPA+, not LTE, but HSDPA+ is a heck of a lot faster than Sprint 3G.

 

SAYG just seems overpriced to me, but my guess it's offered for people who need full service Sprint but can't qualify credit-wise. Or just want to overpay for PAYG to have a Sprint logo on their phone.

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Happy to see LTE devices available on the SPG brands. Personally, I'll probably wait until either high-end phones hit Virgin or until CDMA/LTE-provisioned SIMs happen on Virgin.

 

No roaming and some throttling is already expected from prepaid brands. With that in mind, I don't see why the extra $35 a month for SAYG is worth it(outside of repair services and improved CS, which is debatable since I don't know how SPGs CS is like).

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