While prepaid wireless carrier Virgin Mobile excels in its pay-as-you-go pricing and hip marketing to a younger demographic, wireless roaming is not its strong suit.
In researching the wireless roaming policy at Virgin Mobile, About.com made a discovery that its current and prospective customers need to know but might not.
Though Virgin Mobile lists on its Web site that it has “no roaming or long-distance charges,” it in fact offers no roaming service at all. There’s a distinction there that should be made by Virgin Mobile and understood by its customers.
In other words, if you’re in an area where Virgin Mobile can’t provide your handset a signal because one of its towers isn’t nearby, your cell phone can’t receive or place calls. It’s just dead to the world.
Yes, Virgin Mobile has “no roaming charges” because it has no roaming service at all.
Carriers including Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Boost Mobile also offer “no roaming charges,” but that comes along with a roaming feature when outside their network area. This means other networks will fill in their coverage gaps.
At About.com, we have carefully confirmed this information to be true via phone calls with several humans at Virgin Mobile.
While Virgin Mobile might imply to its customers that it doesn’t offer roaming service with a box on its Web site to search for service by zip code, clarity can be lacking for new and current customers. Virgin Mobile could more simply state that it has no roaming fees because it does not offer roaming service.
In addition, Virgin Mobile does charge these fees to call international destinations from the United States. By the way, Helio is now Virgin Mobile and Virgin Mobile runs on the nationwide Sprint Nextel network. Read more roaming policies by carrier here.