Virgin Mobile USA becomes first Apple iPhone-only carrier; launches game-changing offer

Virgin Mobile USA this week announced it will be the first iPhone-exclusive carrier and launched a game-changing offer: Buy an iPhone and get six months of unlimited talk, text and data on Virgin Mobile’s nationwide network for only $1 when you join the “Inner Circle.” Additionally, customers who sign up by Monday, July 31 will receive a promotional offer of 12 months of service for just $1. And because Virgin Mobile wants people to experience all the Virgin brand offers, the company will feature these perks from the Virgin family to Inner Circle members for a limited time*:

• A round-trip companion ticket to the United Kingdom on Virgin Atlantic
• One night’s stay at Virgin Hotels
• $170 savings on an introductory offer to Virgin Wines club
• Up to 20-percent off flights on Virgin America
• 20-percent off on the Virgin Sport San Francisco Festival of Fitness (Oct. 13-15)

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and Dow Draper, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA, surprised the mobile industry when they announced the new offer that’s available exclusively on iPhone during a news conference in San Francisco today.

“Virgin has always looked to shake things up and challenge the status quo in any sector we go into,” said Branson, in a statement “Mobile is no exception and with Virgin Mobile USA, we’ve now worked with Apple to create a compelling offer for our new Inner Circle plan. Simply put, when you buy an iPhone you will get the highest quality device and service plus access to an array of Virgin experiences and offers with our group of companies. I’m excited to share that we are changing the way you experience mobile.”

Virgin Mobile worked with Apple to become the newest mobile carrier to sell its service in Apple stores. It will also be the first-ever, iPhone-only mobile carrier in the United States.

“We’re thrilled Virgin Mobile is becoming the first iPhone-only carrier, and we’re excited to be able to offer Virgin Mobile services directly to our customers in Apple stores,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in a statement. “The new Inner Circle offer is a fun idea, and Virgin Mobile customers are going to love having the best, most advanced iPhones ever.”

iPhone and the Inner Circle offer are available to pre-order now at Customers who pre-order will receive their iPhone on Tuesday, June 27. The Inner Circle offer will also be available for purchase in Apple stores beginning that same day.

iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black
iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black

The Inner Circle offer is open to customers who purchase an iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus or iPhone SE. In addition, the Inner Circle will offer “pre-loved” iPhones in the fall with a one-year, Apple-limited warranty on That means customers can purchase the iPhones that work for them and enjoy simple wireless service and Virgin perks for $1.

“Virgin Mobile just put the fun back into wireless and created a special way for people to experience the Virgin brand,” said Dow Draper, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA. “While $1 for a year of wireless service and cool Virgin perks might sound too good to be true, it’s not. We upended everything so customers can fall in love with our service and access the Virgin world without gimmicks, catches or contracts. This way, customers are 100-percent in control of their phones and service, not mobile carriers.”

After the promotional $1 service period of six or 12 months, Inner Circle customers will transition to one of the mobile industry’s best values: $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and data at up to 4G LTE speeds.**

Finally, Virgin Mobile will help fight hunger in the United States by donating the monetary value of 10 meals to Feeding America® for every person who joins the Inner Circle plan, and one meal for everyone who posts a photo of their food on Twitter or Instagram and uses the hashtag #DonateMyPlate. Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, providing food and groceries to more than 46 million people through a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.

Source: Virgin Mobile USA

MacDailyNews Take: Because there is only one true smartphone.


  1. 10 years ago: iPhone, available exclusively through a single carrier, AT&T.

    Today: Virgin Mobile USA, service via iPhone exclusively through a single manufacturer (of course), Apple.


  2. Hmmmm, sounds enticing😃.
    My monthly bill in AT&T, for some reason jumped from about 82$ a month to mid 90s$. Sad to say we gotta constantly keep an eye on these slick f***ks when they take liberties. My loyalty to them(since 2005) is diminishing at a breakneck speed.

    1. I was with att for 12 years…T-Mobile had a promotion of getting a free iPhone if I joined them….

      Did that and saved money….never looked back.

      Then att wanted to know why I switched carriers….

      I told them because they had a lame CEO who doesn’t understand that people don’t like getting ripped off every month.

    2. @ CC:
      Don’t know why you are paying that much. I have an iP6 with ATT GoPhone for $40/mo (=$43 wi tax). I don’t watch movies, but I do watch YouTube & browse & email most of the day. Occasionally I have used it as a hot spot when Spectum is down.

      1. I still upkeep my initial, unlimited, plan. As I’m retired I do quite a bit of traveling and don’t want to be tethered by restrictions. I know I’m paying a bit more then selecting a data plan, but as, unlimited I’m content for now. A renewal comes up this October, and with a purchase of the latest and greatest that Apple has to offer I will see what’s out there and weigh out my options.

    3. Bought my first mobile phone at an AT&T store in the D.C. area in 1995. 12 years later on day one of the iPhone debut in 2007 paid $600 and continued with AT&T.

      Years ago when they phased out their unlimited plans for new customers I was grandfathered in like flint. Then later I got a call from an AT&T rep warning me that if I used over a couple gigs, don’t remember exact amount, they would down throttle my speed and they fulfilled on the promise.

      My bill rose from the low 70s to the 90s for the same lackluster service. On March 31, 2016 when the SE went on sale bought one loaded and unlocked directly from Apple and tracked the shipping online from China.

      Immediately dumped AT&T for the highly awarded Consumer Cellular. The secret with CC is in addition to no contract (cancel anytime no penalty) and bring your own phone, if you call the day before your payment is due, you can change your plan on a MONTHLY basis.

      Example: It’s winter and have wifi at work and home so I only need a gig of traveling data for 10 bucks. Or, it’s summer and on vacation at my green mountain cabin with spotty cell service and rare wifi hotspots so I may need 4 gigs at 40 bucks. Then next month, reevaluate my needs and adjust again if necessary. Works great.

      All that long-winded post aside, love CC, but why not give Virgin a shot.

      On day one … 😎

    1. For every example where the “free market” appears to benefit the consumer, it is possible to identify several where the consumers was screwed.

      But you only believe what you want to believe, and you apparently get paid by the post on MDN.

      P.S. There is no such thing as a “free market.” It is rigged and will always be rigged.

      1. virgin’s offer was designed to establish a brand new business in a crowded market by offering an unreal deal please tell the rest of the class how this is not the “free market” at work and explain in detail how this is rigged

    2. Hey Botty, just noticed you have 77 star votes at 1.5. Roughly translates to a 30% approval rating. Those FAKE VOTERS are up early and probably unemployed this weekend waiting for the next gubmint check.

      “… we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.”


  3. $1 (+taxes) for the first 12 months on purchasing an iPhone from them is a great deal. Just make sure to read the fine print on the limitations listed at the bottom of their webpage: “Quality of Svc. (QoS): Customers who use more than 23GB of data during billing cycle will be deprioritized during times and places where the network is constrained. See Virgin Mobile Inner Circle Important Service/Product Specific Terms for details. Usage Limitations: To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network. Virgin Mobile may terminate service if off-network roaming use in a month exceeds: (1) 800 mins or a majority of mins.; or (2) 100MB or a majority of KB.”

    1. Virgin is VMNO of Sprint and uses Sprint’s CDMA network. The coverage is similar to Sprints, although it is my understanding it is not quite the same, and in some (congested) markets, Sprint’s phones will have priority over Virgin’s when the tower gets too busy.

      I used them some six years ago (before moving to T-Mobile). They were cheap and, at the time, somewhat slower on 3G than T-Mobile. Back then, the monthly plan rate included all the taxes and fees. This time, it doesn’t seem to be the case.

      $50 per month for unlimited all is not really that spectacular. T-Mobile has unlimited all for $45. However, having a full year for free ($1 plus taxes) can be quite enticing for singles who don’t need a family plan and can switch carriers as needed.

  4. I use Three in th UK, £19.99 a month for unlimited data, texts and 200 minutes to any UK phone. 2,000 minutes for “Three to Three” calls and 12GB of tethering data. It also works in loads of other countries, the list grows all the time.

    But the best thing is their roaming feature. I have a friend from the UK (on Three) currently working in New York, I can call him using my Three to Three minutes and it doesn’t cost me a penny.

    I love it, will have to be an absolutely killer deal to make me switch.

  5. It sounded good, but I’ve gone through two phones and three SIM cards in a month of wholly unsatisfactory service, culminating with no service at all for the past week. Customer service is non-existent and staff appears to have been trained to delay and intimidate customers who present with problems. Good luck to anyone who tries this offer. I think you will be frustrated, waste hours of your work and free time, only in the end to feel thoroughly ripped-off.

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