Virgin Mobile announces new minute plans, including $49.99 Unlimited plan, Pink Slip protection, Texter's Delight

Virgin Mobile has followed suit with every major carrier (and apparently the American automakers too) in the rush to offer deals to consumers in this time of economic crisis. Virgin has announced a new Unlimited minutes plan for $49.99 and "Pink Slip Protection" which waves up to three months of phone bills if you lose your job. Pretty sweet deal for those of you who shy away from contracts and aren't concerned with having the latest and greatest phones.

The Unlimited plan for $49.99 also abolishes roaming charges as well, meaning you can call anywhere in the country as long as you have signal for the $49.99 a month. As standard with no-contract phone plans, there's no credit checks or anything like that, but as a result, there's no subsidization of the phones, so you're likely paying full price for a fewer-feature phone. The new Texter's Delight plans offer people who text more often than talk the chance to spend their monthly bill on more texts than minutes. 1000 texts for $14.99 a month or Unlimited for $19.99 will give users all that texting, IMing, and MMS ability and the option to make phone calls for only $0.10 a minute. The new Pink Slip Protection plan is built into the new suite of minute plans on Virgin Mobile: the $29.99, $39.99, and $49.99 Unlimited plans. Texter's Delight customers will also have the option. The Pink Slip Protection is retro-active for customers who opt-in for the program through June 30th. To qualify, a customer must have been a Virgin Mobile customer for 2 consecutive months.

This plan will compete directly with the Boost Mobile $50 unlimited minute plan being offered currently by the iDEN carrier. These Pay as you Go and Pre-Pay plans are great for poor college students and others who might not have the credit or steady income to support an expensive phone habit for two years. Personally, I would like to see more pre-pay options and fewer contract-based plans. I wouldn't mind paying full price for the devices if I had the choice to leave my carrier whenever I wanted. It would force better customer service from the companies, and prevent consumers from being locked into contracts they can't pay. It would be a better environment for consumers overall. So I say congratulations to Virgin and Boost Mobile for giving us choice in a very scary market. Now please get some phones that are actually cool.