Sprint confirmed that its prepaid brand Virgin will no longer offer its “Inner Circle” service plan. The plan launched roughly a year ago and offered a year of unlimited data for $1 to users who bought an iPhone and ported their number to the new plan, or current Virgin users who upgraded to an iPhone. The deal will be available exclusively through Virgin’s website and at Apple retail stores.
The offer essentially represented an attempt by Sprint's Virgin to expand into the iPhone market from its existing base of Android phones.
Like most of Sprint's promotional plans, the carrier initially said the plan would only be available for a month but continued to extend the offer throughout much of this year. However, the carrier confirmed that it has officially discontinued the “Inner Circle” option.
“Virgin is committed to providing the best experience for our customers. Virgin Android customers have asked for Androids, so we are bringing them back into our device lineup to meet this popular demand,” the carrier wrote in response to questions from FierceWireless. “Current Virgin iPhone customers on an Inner Circle plan can stay on their Inner Circle plan. Because we are bringing back Android devices and Inner Circle is an iPhone-only plan, we now offer Unlimited Data with benefits plans starting at $35/month. Any new Virgin Mobile iPhone or Android customer will pair their smartphone with one of Virgin’s Unlimited Data with benefits plans. The Inner Circle Plan will no longer be available to new customers.”
Sprint's Virgin currently offers a handful of pricing options ranging from $35 per month for 5 GB of high-speed data to $60 per month for unlimited high-speed data.
Sprint's Virgin prepaid brand appears to continue to suffer. The company said that much of its momentum in prepaid in its most recent quarter—3,000 net customer additions—was due to the success of its Boost brand.
“Boost continued to have strong momentum with nearly 200,000 net adds before migrations to postpaid, driven by growth in gross additions for the fourth consecutive quarter and continued year-over-year improvement in churn,” CEO Michel Combes said during Sprint's latest quarterly earnings conference call with investors, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the event. “This strength in Boost was partially offset by losses from other prepaid brands.”