Virgin Mobile customers: You have some reading to do. Sprint has announced that it will be shutting down Virgin Mobile USA on February 2 and existing accounts will be transferred to Boost Mobile. While the process should be painless for most subscribers, there is some fine print to be aware of, like the fact that mobile broadband devices won’t be transferred automatically.
A Boost To Your Service In February (Maybe)
Come February, Virgin Mobile USA accounts will be moved over to Sprint’s sister brand, Boost Mobile. The company says that in most cases, you’ll be moved to a new service plan that is comparable or better than the one you had with Virgin Mobile, and you shouldn’t have to come out of pocket with any extra cash. You can keep the same device and phone number, your full account history will be brought over, and your billing date will remain the same as long as it’s not interrupted during the transition.
Some folks could run into an issue there because support for payment options including PayPal and 45/90 Day Top Up cards won’t be accepted on Boost Mobile. If that’s how you’ve been paying your bill, you should receive a notification with instructions on changing your payment method before the changeover, but it sounds like you’ll have to configure autopay with a standard debit or credit card. If you miss your monthly payment, you’ll have 120 days after that service interruption to get some funds on your account.
Perhaps a bigger deal—as seen at the very bottom of this FAQ about the transition—folks with a mobile broadband (MBB) device will have to manually move your service over to a new provider. In other words, your service won’t be automatically transferred and if you don’t take action, you’ll wake up one day in early February without mobile broadband connectivity. Boost Mobile is an option, but you can also bring your business elsewhere (assuming your device is compatible elsewhere).
Something else to be aware of: Your existing phone insurance will carry over, but if you don’t already have phone insurance when you transfer to Boost Mobile, you won’t be able to add it to your device after making the switch unless you buy a new device from Boost Mobile.
Also, don’t be confused when your Virgin Mobile handset continues showing Virgin Mobile branding on its screen after the transition to Boost Mobile. Consider it a memento of days long gone. Sprint made sure to mention multiple times that you might even save a few bucks when the switch happens since Boost Mobile bundles taxes and other fees in a way that Virgin Mobile doesn’t. Other “benefits” include access to 6,800 Boost Mobile locations around the US, 99% nationwide coverage with voice roaming, and the ability to participate in an exclusive “Boost Perks” reward program. Oh boy.
If you’d rather not wait for that fateful day in February, you can call Boost Mobile Care (see the FAQ for the phone number) and talk with them about transferring your account early.