Virgin Mobile appears to be experiencing another semi-major data service outage. Just before 3 p.m. EST, both of my Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 devices stopped working. They reported that they were not activated. After several attempts to reactivate the devices, I called the technical support phone line as instructed by the device control panel.
I logged into my Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go account the other day and noticed something new. Previously, I had two plan options: $10 for 100 megabytes (or 10 days, whichever comes first) and $40 for unlimited data (lasts for one month). However, there is now a third option in the list.
It seems, since I bought my MiFi from Wal-Mart, I can get one month of service with 1 gigabyte of data for only $20. Obviously this plan wouldn’t work for me as my sole source of broadband (I know I use a lot more than 1 gig each month), but it is probably a great deal for people that just use the MiFi occasionally or strictly for Web browsing (no downloads).
I initially thought you could get this deal if you simply bought a new top-up card at Wal-Mart, but this article seems to indicate that it is only available to customers that bought (or buy) their MiFi devices at Wal-Mart. Sadly, at this point in time, Wal-Mart seems to be charging $40 more than list price (and Best Buy is charging $50 more; both according to their websites – Radio Shack is still selling the device at the $149 list price) for the MiFi devices, so you’re most likely going to have to decide how much you think you might use this mid-tier plan before you decide whether to buy the device at Wal-Mart.
Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, (just a few hours after I finally cancelled my satellite Internet service), my access to the Internet through my Virgin Mobile MiFi device stopped working. After trying to restart the device a few times and doing some other troubleshooting, I decided to call Virgin Mobile to see if they knew what was happening.
When I finally got through to a technician (around 3:15), they told me that they were aware of the outage and that I should try connecting again in about four hours. We still went ahead and tried it throughout the rest of the day anyway without any luck. By 9 p.m. last night, it still wasn’t working, so I decided to call back and ask for an update. The Virgin Mobile technician told me they were still working on the outage and asked me to try again in about two hours.
It’s been a little over a month since I first started using the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 wifi hotspot. I used it almost exclusively as my Internet provider for most of the month of September, and I have to say I continued to be impressed by it throughout the month.
There were a handful of times that I had to reset the device because it stopped responding; and there were one or two instances when I actually had to reactivate it. Other than that, I very rarely had any issues with it at all.
Since I am still stuck with satellite broadband service at home, I decided to try it out. I’ve been looking into mobile broadband packages for quite a while, but the thought of signing a new two-year contract, paying almost as much as I’m paying now (the satellite package I have is $79.95/month – most mobile broadband packages are around $60/month) and being limited to around 2 gigabytes of downloads each month (my current plan allows 17 gigs on a revolving 30-day basis) really didn’t appeal to me.
This new plan from Virgin, though, had me intrigued. No contracts, apparently no bandwidth limits (I have seen no official word from Virgin as to whether there will be “reasonable use” limits imposed at any point, but, right now, it doesn’t look like it) and a price point half of what I am paying now all really appealed to me.