For the latest, see the 2011 Virgin Mobile 3G Coverage Review
Virgin mobile coverage for 3G mirrors Sprint’s.
The difference is in the roaming coverage. Virgin has none.
Virgin Mobile coverage for 3G data services is an interesting case. As we mentioned before, they resell Sprint’s service. Based on that you’d think they have the same coverage as Sprint right?
Allow me to explain.
If you take a look at coverage at Virgin’s site, you’ll only find a map remarkably similar to Sprint’s map…as a matter of fact, it IS Sprint’s coverage map (just without the 4G coverage).
While Sprint offers extensive roaming coverage in addition to their already sizeable network, that same courtesy is not extended to Virgin.
The obvious reason is money.
Sprint already has to pay premium price to other carriers with whom they have roaming agreements. For that reason, they’ve capped current plans at 200 MB of roaming data usage (much smaller than the regular 5 GB cap). After 200 MB of roaming, they will start to charge you premium overage rates. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that Virgin, even if given the opportunity, wouldn’t wish to incur that extra cost if they didn’t have to. While they could just pass it off to the consumer, why bother pay for it if the demand may not even be there?
So what does Virgin mobile broadband 3G coverage look like?
Take a look at Sprint’s mobile broadband coverage map below, and ignore any of the spots marked as roaming.
That will give you the most accurate depiction of the coverage you’ll get with Virgin mobile broadband until they decide to update their coverage map to include 3G coverage and not just voice.
When you click on the map, it’ll take you to Virgin Mobile’s 3G coverage tool. Be sure to select 3G coverage since Voice is enabled by default..
Now that you know Virgin mobile prepaid plans, broadband speed & 3G coverage, the last thing to learn about is the devices available to connect to their network. At the time of writing, there is only one Virgin mobile broadband card.