Virgin Mobile has introduced a new plan, Pick & Mix, which combines a basic $19 a month charge with a series of add-on options for voice calls, texting and data. We're all for customisation and flexibility, but it has to be said that in many cases you could get a better deal than this by going elsewhere in the first place.
Here's how it works: you pay a set $19 per month which gives you basic call credit (at 15 cents per minute and 15 cents for either local or international texts), plus 100MB of data. Then you add on whichever components match your usage patterns. $10 a month extra gets you unlimited texting; $30 a month extra gets you unlimited voice calls; $5 a month gets you 500MB of data, $10 scores 2GB, and $20 gets you 4GB.
If you BYO your own phone, there's no contract; if you want a phone supplied, you'll be signed up for 24 months. The offer is only available online.
What do we like about this plan? You can add or remove options at will, which could be handy if (for example) you want more data on your phone while holidaying in Australia and using it as your main device, but don't need it otherwise. A flat rate for both local and international texts is also good.
However, as soon as you add on more than one service, there are clearly better options out there. For instance, getting unlimited calls, texts and 4GB data puts the price of the plan up to $79 a month -- much more than you'd pay for the same deal with Amaysim ($39.90 a month and, like Virgin, running on Optus) or a similar deal with Boost ($40 a month with 3GB of data, and also on Optus). If your main focus is texts, then Boost's Day To Day plan offer unlimited texting for a similar price (and don't charge you on days you don't make any calls or send any texts).
Virgin Mobile isn't dumping its existing plans, and it still remains competitive in some areas (such as its lack of voicemail charges). But as always, you need to analyse your own needs carefully before picking a plan, and I can't see this being a particularly good value deal for many people. Your thoughts?