Prepaid Wireless: Roaming Policy at Virgin Mobile

Does Virgin Mobile Offer Wireless Roaming in the US? Answer: No

Virgin Mobile
Virgin/Wikimedia Commons

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, we made a discovery that its current and prospective customers need to know but might not.

Roaming

The term roaming means that a traveling wireless device (typically a cell phone) is kept connected to a network without breaking the connection, even when outside their primary carrier's network.

Thus, a wireless customer can automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, including home data services, when traveling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network, by hooking onto a visited network.

For example; should a subscriber travel beyond their cell phone company's transmitter range, their cell phone would automatically hop onto another phone company's service, as available.

There is Policy, But There is No Roaming with Virgin Mobile Prepaid Wireless Plans

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 for prepaid wireless plans. There’s a distinction there that should be made by Virgin Mobile and understood by its customers - clarity and transparency vs "go find it yourself".

No Signal From Virgin, No Call

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, and you have a prepaid wireless plan, 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 in the US for prepaid wireless plans. Roaming service appears to be available for other plans, from Virgin Mobile in Canada, and elsewhere.

Other Carriers Have a Policy, and Have Roaming

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.

Caveat Emptor

This information has been confirmed as 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 for prepaid wireless 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 for prepaid wireless plans.

In addition, Virgin Mobile does charge fees to call international destinations from the United States.

Roaming Policies by Carrier

Check out our roaming policies by carrier.