Virgin Mobile plan overhaul reduces data limits

Summary:Optus subsidiary Virgin Mobile is following in Optus' footsteps of overhauling plans and offering less data than before.

New Virgin Mobile branding and plans aim to overhaul the brand to move away from the youth market, but have also followed the industry trend of charging more money per month for less data.

Virgin Mobile's Australian head David Scribner said that the overhaul of the brand and plans reflect the growing "sophistication" of the company and the customer base growing up beyond just the youth market. The company is aiming to leverage the global brand for Virgin more than the company does today by offering a range of benefits with other Virgin properties, including Virgin Money and airline Virgin Australia.

"We want to be more than mobile; we want Virgin Mobile to be the window to the Virgin world, and that's why the Virgin Family comes in," he said.

In words that echoed comments by Optus CEO Kevin Russell earlier this year about getting Optus to be Australia's most-loved brand, Scribner said that his aim was to get Virgin Mobile to be the "most-loved, irresistible mobile brand in Australia".

For a reseller like Virgin, Scribner said that the market had now shifted from offering the lowest prices for the most amount of data to offering the value-added services, such as what Virgin announced today. This trend is reflected in the company's new pricing plans, with data allowances reduced on the lowest plan by 50MB, while the company charges an extra AU$1 per month. On the oldest highest plan for AU$80, which came with 4GB of data per month; the closest comparable plan now costs AU$90 per month for 3GB of data.

virginpricessmall
Old plans vs. new plans. Click to see a larger version.
(Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

The company has also introduced a high-end premium plan, which costs AU$140 per month and includes unlimited calls and texts nationally and AU$200 worth of credit for international calls, as well as 6GB of data per month. On this plan, customers will also have the option of upgrading their phone after 12 months, provided they sign back up with Virgin for another 24 months.

This plan also comes with a return flight on Virgin Australia from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra to New Zealand, Fiji, and Vanuatu.

Virgin Mobile has also overhauled its My Account system for customers to keep track of their usage, and from Monday, the company will implement its usage alerts system, which will automatically notify customers when they reach 50 percent, 85 percent, and 100 percent of their monthly limits as per the Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) code requirements.

Scribner told ZDNet that customers would also be able to set their own customised limit notifications.

Topics: Telcos, Australia

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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