Earlier this morning, Virgin Mobile announced new prepaid plans that are being billed as a way to give parents more control over their children’s mobile activities, and for other customers to “build personally tailored rate plans.” In reality, these plans are another chip away at net neutrality, by making customers pay more to get unlimited usage of certain apps and services (i.e. certain types of data).
Here’s how Virgin’s new “Custom” plans will work:
Customers will have the ability to activate up to five lines for as little as $6.98 per line per month. The customer must purchase a designated “Custom” phone and activate that device on the base plan, which comes with twenty texts and twenty voice minutes. There is also an unlimited talk and text plan for $35.
Next customers can add features to their base plan. This could include:
- Unlimited text for $10
- Unlimited voice for $18.10
- Thirty minutes of international calling to specific countries
- Special data add-ons that provide unlimited access to such apps as Facebook or Pandora
The special add-ons can be added on a recurring or a non-recurring basis, and the plans can be adjusted anytime during the month – even daily. The primary user will have control over all of the lines, although individual users could also control their individual plans from their devices, too. Pricing information will be displayed in real-time.
While some may view a plan like this as innovative and interesting, it’s a slap in the face of net neutrality. It essentially turns individual data services into line items on your cell phone bill. This ultimately results in certain services being prioritized over others, which is exactly the opposite of net neutrality standards.
In any case, this will be available at least initially only to Walamrt customers at select stores on Saturday, August 9. What do you think of this plan?[Virgin Mobile]