Virgin Mobile to end SuperTab, will increase price plans and launch 2-year agreements on August 1st

Ian Hardy

July 16, 2013 8:01pm

virgin-canada-2-year
TELUS is the first carrier to come out and announce plans to shed 3-year contract terms and shift towards a 2-year. The official go live date is on July 30th and will see a change in hardware pricing and monthly rate plans – see the full details here.

Bell and Rogers have not revealed their plans yet. We posted news that Bell plans on going live on Wednesday, July 17th, and also Rogers will unveil their strategy ‘shortly.’ We’ve now been informed that Virgin Mobile is also going to move towards a 2-year strategy in the coming weeks. According to an internal doc we received it states that Virgin will be “Saying goodbye to our old pal, Virgin Mobile SuperTab” on August 1st, 2013. In addition, Virgin plans on “Increasing the price on all our plans by $5.” This includes their Silver, Gold and Platinum.

All the plans will have the same features, just a different pricing structure. From what I can tell the Silver Plans will start off at $30 and increase to $55/month, plus offer up “Up to $200 off the retail price of your phone” (which is an increase of $50). The Gold Plans begin at $44 and go upward to $60/month, then give “Up to $300 off the retail price of your phone.” Finally, the Platinum Plans give a whopping “Up to $700 off the retail price of your phone” and range from $60 to $100/month.

Virgin notes that “Dearly Beloved Team Member…do not despair! We’re still the same Virgin Mobile you, and our Members fell in love with. As you know, our industry is as exciting as it is ever-evolving! We know price increases aren’t easy, but we’ll continue to bring the heat! Moving to 2 Year Agreements will allow us to provide Members with the flexibility to upgrade to a hotter smartphone when the time is right! (Who doesn’t love a hot, shiny new phone?) Meanwhile, nothing else changes to how we do business!”

Looks for this in a couple weeks… we’ll update you once we receive more info.
(Thanks tipster!)

  • Rich

    There’s a surprise, all the carriers are continuing to match one another by raising prices by roughly $5 on every plan.

    • SrslyGuys

      If Wal-Mart sells a TV for $599, is it collusion if Target matches the price?
      Give it up with the conspiracy theories.

    • alphs22

      Mobilesyrup is where people go to whine, not to actually discuss anything meaningful.

    • Guest

      matching and rising prices are two different avenues bud

  • Aiden

    Wow I used to like Virgin, and now I don’t. They’re becoming just as bas as their parent company.

  • Husk

    The whole point of using Virgin was for the SuperTab, good luck retaining your customers now…

    • Salinger

      The Supertab was the biggest ripoff in wireless. …and in Canada, that’s saying something. You realize that under normal circumstances, it’d take you over 7 years to fully pay off a high-end smartphone on the Supertab?!

    • Kyle Edwards

      It doesn’t, the platinum plans are organized to end after 3 years of paying your plan. So that is false. Also, the supertab is way better than anything we had up to this point so stop acting like you know stuff like this.

    • God

      You cannot supertab and platinum plan… you used to be able to, but it has been all three year for a long time. That would be a 500 dollar supertab with no three year pay off guarantee. 500 supertab with an average 70 dollar plan… 500 divided by 7 is 71 months dude.

      You have it all wrong.

      This coming from someone who sells virgin.

    • God

      The supertab was OK if you kept it below 150, though even then, it takes a long time to pay it off (40/mo equals about 36mo to pay off). End of the day, it was good for people who were going to pay full price for a phone and use a 30day because it meant they would save overall, but that’s it.

  • jessica hogan

    well, this is very interesting where koodo is doing small, medium, and large tabs. Good move virgin.

    • Mika Turcotte-Talbot

      Virgin came with the 3 “tab” system before Koodo.

    • CoolGuyConnor

      That are cleared out after 2 years anyways. It’d be smart for Virgin to keep the same idea

  • ns.dev

    I wish mobile carriers would eliminate phone subsidies completely, drastically lower plans, and offer no/low interest phone financing.

    Since people aren’t seeing it: “OFFER NO/LOW INTEREST PHONE FINANCING”. Final bill pricing would be similar to today for those that constantly get new phones.

    • shinek

      Then half of Canada wont afford to buy a phone unless they do what T Mobile did in the states and offer finance options.. You need to think in terms of Demand and supply and peoples income level why on earth would a person spend 700 on a device when they can spend nothing? Most people dont mind contracts they just didnt want 3 year terms

    • ns.dev

      I see you’ve read the first part of my comment, there is a last past as well.

    • shinek

      LOL yes my bad but yea if they do that its fine but i dont see that happening soon but Rogers did apply to become a bank so its possible they will do it that way… its a hard thing to do for the providers unless they apply for their licence like Rogers did or do what best buy does and have come kind of finance card

    • ns.dev

      LOW interest. If Rogers became a bank.
      “Ok, so you’ll pay the same plan price as though you were subsidised, but we’ll finance your phone as a separate charge at only 10%/month interest. How could you say no?”

    • skullan

      What’s funny is that you think they would lower their plans drastically.

    • ns.dev

      If the CRTC worked for the people, things would be different.

    • Delphus

      Right, let’s see same subsidy, shorter period to pay it off AND a lower MSF… makes total sense, if you want to lose money…

    • CC

      People in Canada are too cheap to pay full price for phones. However, everyone wants the greatest and most expensive phones on the market. Parents want to spoil their kids with iPhone 5 and Samsung S4 but don’t have the cash. Some always lost their phones and try to get new one for free. The list goes on and on forever.

    • Darth Paton

      I agree with the latter part of your comment. Parents are mentally inept when it comes to giving phones to their children. You gave a $700 device to an eight year old with three people to talk to, and you were surprised when it was lost/broken? Then they complain that phone prices are too high so carriers “subsidize” the cost. Then they complain that the contracts are too long so they raise the prices of plans. All the while the parents are pissing themselves when they see their monthly bills, for phones that their dopey eight year olds shouldn’t even have!

    • Deciare

      Canadians are already paying full price for phones.

      As an example, about $20 out of a $60 monthly plan goes toward paying off a flagship device each month. But with so-called “subsidies”, you continue paying that extra $20 even after youre device is fully paid off. Worse yet, people who buy cheap, entry-level devices are stuck with the same bill even though their phones cost less. Not to mention people who bring their own device…

      The plan should be priced at $40, and the additional cost of financing a device should be added to that until the device is paid off. Cheaper device, cheaper plan. Paid off device, cheaper plan. BYOD, cheaper plan.

  • Richard Xing

    “The official go live date is on June 30th and will see a change in hardware pricing and monthly rate plans…” typo its supposed to be July 30th

  • power_pizza

    It doesn’t matter what the CRTC does, the big 3 carries are scummy con artists and will continue to be scummy con artists.

    • alphs22

      What is this whiny nonsense?

      Were you expecting lower prices with less commitment?

      Corporations aren’t charities, they’re out to make money.

  • God

    Bell hasn’t revealed their plans? I assume by that you only mean they didn’t make an announcement, right?

    • dandoozled

      Bell goes live with 24 month pricing tomorrow

    • God

      I know, but in the article: “Bell and Rogers have not revealed their plans yet.”

  • Thurnis

    This, might not actually be devilishly horrible. If you can have a $60 platinum plan and get a $700 subsidy (basically a $0 16GB iPhone 5 or SGS4).

    Something seems off though. Thats only $1440 over 24 months.

    • marv

      that’s cause it will only give you 150MB

    • God

      You can get up to 700, doesn’t mean they are going to give you 700. As of right now, we are being told that you will pay 250 on a two year platinum for an S4.

  • Olivier

    Humm they changed the tab for 2 year contract.. Say Hello to cancellation fees if you change your plan !! Same thing for Bell, Rogers, Telus..

    • buhflykissez

      Isn’t that fair? You got more of a discount on the phone because you went with a more expensive plan. Wouldn’t it be fair to pay back the difference if you change to a less expensive plan?

    • Olivier

      Yeah its fair to pay the difference I agree… For the moment, it’s full penalty :(

    • ToniCipriani

      You only get charged if you change between tiers no? Always been the case.

  • beyond

    I don’t understand why they are raising prices, if your paying more for the phone upfront doesn’t that already make up for the lack of third year of contract? Please someone explain

    • mistermystery

      The explanation is that the Big 3 are double dipping. Like they’ve always done. And always will do. The scummy corporation will always win.

    • ToniCipriani

      And here’s the kicker: considering Fido already aligned a while back with all their phones (except iPhone of course) with a 2-year agreement, they are already compliant with the new wireless code. But watch them jack prices up soon too along with the others. Just watch.

      If that isn’t collusion, I don’t know what is.

    • alphs22

      You’re getting upset at your own baseless speculation.

      Also you don’t know what collusion means.

    • ToniCipriani

      OK fine, price fixing, which is a practice associated with colluding parties.

      Perhaps other than just blindly saying “I don’t know what it means”, POINT OUT where I’m wrong.

    • alphs22

      Where you’re wrong?

      Your whole post is based around a speculation – based on nothing – that Fido would raise their prices.

      What’s the point of such a post?

    • ToniCipriani

      No, you said I don’t know what is collusion.

      And yes it’s a speculation, and my opinion. I’m expressing my opinion. That’s the point. And the point of comments.

    • alphs22

      Lol. What did you expect? Lower commitment = higher price.

      Not just with the big 3 and not just with cell phone contracts.

    • alphs22

      Phone subsidy is only a part of the equation.

      With the changes, carriers are only guaranteed 24 months of revenue vs. 36 previously. On a $50 plan, that’s $600 less per contract.

      There are economic implications of losing all that revenue that was previously guaranteed. This is basic economics and is not unique to the mobile industry in any way.

    • beyond

      That argument would be valid if there was a mass exodus at the end of the term contract. Which there isn’t. People need to communicate so they will either stay or switch carriers, If they switch carrier there will always be new customers that sign up to replace them.

    • alphs22

      Lol. You are trying to argue with basic economics, and you’re not gonna win.

      Will people always switch at the end of their contract? Of course not. But that is an extra year of guaranteed revenue per user that the carriers lost. Less guarantee = higher risk. Higher risk = higher prices.

      Like I said, this is not unique to the mobile industry. You can argue all you want, but that’s not gonna change.

    • Aaron Hoyland

      I really need someone to explain this new model to me. I mean, I get that if you’re moving to 2-year contracts instead of 3, you need to make the money up somewhere. People aren’t willing to pay hundreds more for their phone upfront, so the monthly cost has to make up the difference. However, I thought that the new wireless code mandated that the device subsidy be identified as a separate charge on the contract. Thus, the upfront cost remains (roughly) the same, the plan cost stays the same, but the total monthly payment increases due to a higher device subsidy payment per month.

      Is that not the case? It seems like we’re still seeing the device subsidy payback being “hidden” within the total monthly cost of the plans. Does the wireless code not mandate for the subsidy payback to be identified as a separate cost?

  • dbott67

    Anyone know what happens to plans for existing customers on August 1, 2013? Does my current plan go up $5 or does it stay the same until I decide to change plans / upgrade phones, etc?

    • dbott67

      In other words, does the price increase only affect new customers?

    • Shawn T. Nicholson

      It will stay the same until u go to upgrade then it will force u to change the plan cause supertab and 3yr options will become nonexistent on aug 1

    • Martini

      I would imagine (hope) that this applies to new activations only.

  • AppleBerrySandwich

    Looks like the 2 year contract price scam continues.

    Unreal. Virgin – expected better from you!

  • p_lindsay

    So does this mean my tab will disappear? A man can dream can’t he.

  • whnothere

    Isn’t this kind of like fixing price and controlling the market?

  • anonymous

    People wanted 2 year agreements and expected the plans and phone prices to stay the same. Its a business the reason why companies were able to give such high subsidy was because they were guaranteed 3 years of monthly payments. Take that away and guess what phone prices go and rate plans go up slightly. You have to look at the bigger picture and what you get with some of these rate plans ( nation wide calling, texting..etc) these things coat a fortune back in the day.

    I know theres still some work to be done for all carriers but I don’t know what people expected. They wanted 2 years and they got 2 years.

    • Art

      “People wanted 2 year agreements and expected the plans and phone prices to stay the same”

      Do not put words in peoples’ mouths. Everyone expected the upfront cost of phones to go up, but the cost of plans to remain the same. As it stands right now, both went up. As a result the Big3’s ARPU will go up, allowing them to make even more money due to double-dipping.

      Big3 have been laughing at Canadians for decades…

    • Sweet

      “Do not put words in peoples’ mouths. Everyone expected the upfront cost of phones to go up, but the cost of plans to remain the same.”

      Take your own advice. I, and many others, realized that the cost of the plans could go up and even mentioned it in arguments/discussions on the FB page and blog/sites of the Abbott & Costello duo of OpenMedia and Peter Nowak. At least OpenMedia listened and changed their position on banning 3-year contracts.

      Now, having said that, I agree that these increases (not just Virgin’s) will almost certainly be greater than what the Big 3 were making with 3-year contracts, thus resulting in increased ARPUs.

    • alphs22

      “Everyone expected the upfront cost of phones to go up, but the cost of plans to remain the same.”

      What? Who thought that? That’s not even logical.

      With the changes, carriers are only guaranteed 24 months of revenue vs. 36 previously. On a $50 plan, that’s $600 less per contract. I shouldn’t have to point out to you that there are economic implications of losing all that revenue that was previously guaranteed. This is basic economics and is not unique to the mobile industry in any way.

      And you were expecting them to not raise the price of the plans?

      You must be very naive.

    • Deciare

      The Big 3 could have raised prices at any time, at will. They’re merely taking advantage of a moment of confusion to create an illusion that what they are doing is reasonable.

      Neither phone prices nor plan prices would have had to go up if they’d been upfront that phones are financed over a number of years (as a separate cost from the plan price) instead of “subsidised” (phone price included in plan price).

      But it’s so much easier to generate higher ARPUs when they tell people that it’s better to pay something (the price of financing the phone) for nothing (after the device is paid off, or if you BYOD, you shouldn’t have anything left to finance; and if you get a cheaper device, your monthly cost of financing should be lower).

    • alphs22

      The only people confused seems to be Mobilesyrup commenters like you.

      What they’re doing is entirely reasonable.

    • Deciare

      No, what they’re doing is idiocy. Refer to T-Mobile US plans for how to do it right.

      Sorry, should have qualified that: What they’re doing is very smart from their shareholders’ perspective. Higher ARPU at no cost to themselves. What I call “idiocy” is the notion that such a practice is permissible.

    • alphs22

      Okay. So T-Mo is the one doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong, yet they’re stuck at a distant 4th place in the US. Lol.

      I was actually commenting on your claim that the Big 3 are raising the prices to take advantage of a momentary confusion, which is absurd.

      A 2 year contract is significantly less commitment than a 3 year contract. On a $50 plan, that’s $600 in revenue to the carriers. Did you really think that the carriers would take less commitment from consumers and lose the 3rd year in guaranteed revenue without raising prices?

    • Deciare

      I don’t pretend to understand the rationale of mainstream American consumers. Most of my friends in the US use T-Mobile. ;)

      There are better ways to foster customer loyalty than punishing them with long contracts. When a company’s best way of holding onto customers is threatening them with ETFs, I’d say that there’s room for improvement.

      Besides which, the TCO over 3 years now is significantly higher than it used to be. This is less about breaking even and more about profiteering; they have a captive market and they know it.

  • LeafsFanGirl

    Well, I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever go to Vrigin Mobile. All of a sudden the little 3 has joined the big 3. Now we have the big 6! Verizon, please come to Canada!!!

    • Mr_Reliable

      You do know that Verizon is the most expensive/second most expensive carrier in the US? Do you think they wouldn’t charge just as much up here as the rest of the carriers?

    • LeafsFanGirl

      I am aware of that. My brother is with Verizon. However if Verizon buys Wind & Mobilicity, they will only have 1 million customers. In order to get more customers they have to offer much better plans than all these carriers.

  • God

    Hey, at least virgin is back at their two year plans they had when they started. lol

  • Justin

    That’s not a surprise at all… It will be surprise if one of them didn’t follow the suit~

  • gmd

    I have been buying my phones and avoiding contracts. How about some non-subsidizing plans please.

    How do people getting $700 phones for $0 and costly plans buy their cars?

    • Martini

      I’m wondering about this, too. Shouldn’t the rate plans be discounted for those who aren’t paying for a phone subsidy?

    • beyond

      I agree this may end up to be a total disappointment across all carriers for those who bring their own device. A price increase for everyone regardless.

  • Guest

    So what happens if you’re not paying for a phone subsidy? The rate plans should technically be lower then, no?

    • Humberto Giambrone

      ARPU my friend, ARPU. It’s an oligopoly market, they don’t care how inequitable it is because they don’t have to care.

      Good ole’ CRTC. Way to find a way to make it easier for them to rape us.

      Somebody once told me, if people running the country were actually any good at running entities of that size, they’d be in the private sector. Instead we get private sector failures.

    • Martini

      The CRTC only provided stop-gaps to certain problems. If they did their job properly, they would stop their price gouging. Aren’t the incumbents enjoying record-making profits? But I suppose they want more money. And, with these price increases, they’re going to mock consumers, blaming the CRTC.

  • kroms

    WIND … I LOVE you MAN. :)

  • Mr.CoolBerry

    I’m not on a contract plan but I’m on a month to month plan, does this effect me also? Here my current plan:

    Gold BB Talk 45 – 1 GB $45.00
    Unlimited evenings & weekend from 5 PM
    Call Display Included
    Voice Mail 10 Included
    Canada – Wide Calling
    400 any time minutes
    BlackBerry Data – 1GB
    myPeeps
    Text & PIC to Can , US & Int’l
    Unlimited Incoming Calling

  • Mike

    This is bull!! The point of this bill to remove contracts was supposed to help customers, now it’s just screwing them all over! I don’t even get a phone on a damned contract!!!!!!! WTF is this!? I might just leave Bell and go with whichever company doesn’t raise their prices. (Maybe Fido or Eastlink? I have an unlocked iPhone that works with AWS, should work on both I hope!)

  • Anonymous501

    I agree with him. It’s technically not collusion. Collusion is if they all sit down in the same room and make an agreement to charge the same price. In an oligopoly you don’t need conclusion. There’s high (costs) barriers to entry so it limits the players. If a player drops their prices, the other players will do so immediately to remain competitive. If a player increases their prices, the others will raise them too, because it means the few players in the oligopoly can all make more money.

    You don’t really need collusion in an oligopoly, because the lack of competition will naturally create similar pricing,

  • Anonymous501

    So basically what you’re saying is that bell/rogers/telus have super secret meetings where they come up with their new pricing schemes in the same room. So far you haven’t provided any evidence that this has occurred. I mean aside from your insistence that there is collusion.

    • Anonymous501

      What evidence? That when one of the three adjust there prices, the other two adjust there’s? That’s a classic definition of how oligopolies work, it isn’t proof of collusion.

    • Michael Rankin

      I found this on Wikipedia so it MUST be true! The Internet never lies!

      “An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists).

      ** Oligopolies can result from various forms of collusion which reduce competition and lead to higher costs for consumers. **

      Alternatively, oligopolies can see fierce competition because competitors can realize large gains and losses at each other’s expense. In such oligopolies, outcomes for consumers can often be favorable.

      See that definition used collusion… Science!

  • Jim Bros

    Virgin and the rest of the Canadian cell service providers are just greedy bastards! They KNOW that the CRTC is forcing them to change so they’re increasing their rates so that basically they will continue making as much money off our backs as before! Virgin/Bell, Telus, Rogers and the rest wouldn’t last a single day in the European market–they would go bankrupt in a week because no European would put up with their blatantly unfair and ILLEGAL money-grabbing plans! NON ONE IN EUROPE OR ASIA HAS 2 YEAR CONTRACTS!!! Why are we Canadians such silly sheep that let the big three rip us off like this?! The CRTC finally showed some balls and put Virgin/Bell, Telus, Rogers in their place but they need an a*s-whopping! ANONYMOUS!!! Where are you when we REALLY need you?!

    • isabellamariecullen

      yes nobody in the philippines has cellphone contracts

  • Noah Chalifoux

    I suppose they pushed it back to see how many more people they can con with the supertab…. unfortunate, I’m probably going with them for an htc one or an iphone 5s i’ll just have to wait.

  • ra51dft

    These cartels have been continously ripping off their customers for years and blatantly continued to do so . I dont pity ‘em when verizon join in the fray.there would be a bloodbath in their (robelus) profits in the offing lol.