In the face of recession, market leader Virgin Mobile is appealing to cash-strapped mobile users with a clutch of SIM-only deals. These ‘keep your handset, keep your number’ options also speak to customers thinking of running a second handset, but who are shy of the cost.
SIM-Only Deals for the Cost Conscious
Promoted with the byline, “Love the phone you’ve got?” Virgin is using its flexibility as a mobile virtual network operator to exploit this new pathway to mobile usage. With consumer spending in some areas at record lows, the SIM-only deal provides you with a more affordable alternative to a full phone and contract upgrade.
The payback for Virgin will be long-lasting and stable customer relationships that yield longer term benefits as fortunes improve.
This is also an attractive solution for people who want to open a second mobile account without taking on the expense of a second mobile. In one smart move, Virgin has found a new way to attract cost-conscious new business while building on its existing customer base.
Ease of Transferring Numbers
Entering a SIM-only deal means you can continue using your existing handset. Virgin offers advice on all the steps involved, from asking existing service providers to unlock the handset – this may involve an unlocking charge – to requesting the Port Authorisation Code (PAC) for transferring the number. With the PAC code, Virgin promises to set up the new mobile account with the customer’s existing number in a day.
Monthly and PAYG Plans
So how much will running a SIM-only mobile cost you? The offers cover standard and micro SIM cards, with Pay As You Go plans and Pay Monthly contracts available. Virgin’s Pay Monthly SIM-only tariffs are structured to suit most preferences and are tempting enough to make mobile owners switch network providers. Tariffs start at £12 a month for customers new to Virgin.
Existing Media Customers Benefit Most
For those who already hold a Virgin broadband, TV or landline, SIM-only deals come at £5 a month – for this, they also receive unlimited texts and 100 minutes of talk time.
Blackberry contract holders can come in at £10 a month in a SIM-only deal that includes 500MB and Unlimited texts. The only restriction is a 30-day notice period for customers wanting to change tariffs.
Deals for Texters and Talkers
The SIM-only PAYG deals also offer choice, with Big Data & Text and Big Talk options set up to favour different classes of mobile users. Customers who buy Big Data & Text top ups for £10 or £15 every month will benefit from unlimited data and generous text allowances.
Big Talk top ups of £10 bring you unlimited landline calls and two hours of mobile minutes, while the £15 also includes unlimited texts.
A New Marketing Approach
An issue that the hardware providers may have with these ultra-generous SIM-only deals is the absence of handset sales to new Virgin customers. Android companies such as Samsung, HSC and Nokia fail to benefit from Virgin deals that encourage customers to switch networks without upgrading.
It should be no surprise that this virtual network operator has now embraced the concept of the virtual mobile provider. In the meantime, the prospect of customers opening second mobile accounts with their old handsets could placate the manufacturers.
Virgin is growing its customer base with a view to future sales and upgrades, meaning the new tariff and PAYG deals represent deferred revenue streams.
Written by: Josh Cooke has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. In recent year his focus has been on IT Security which has gained importance as the Internet has grown an avid follower of the latest gadgets and advancements in the technology industry.