Update: Readers of this blog have found different ways to locate the account number in the account page at Virgin Mobile's web site. Please read the comment for alternative methods to locate your account number to talking with a rep at Virgin Mobile.
This past weekend, I decided to switch from my current wireless carrier, Virgin Mobile USA, to T-Mobile. I did this for several reasons.
- One was to upgrade my phone to a gratuitous iPhone 5C 32 GB in blue color.
- The second is to take advantage of T-Mobile's new free international data roaming plan that takes effect in October 20 for new customers and October 31st for existing customers. Yes, I've read the fine print. For what it's worth, it's sufficient for my needs. My Virgin Mobile USA iPhone 4S was SIM-locked for the Virgin Mobile network in the USA and since I plan to travel abroad more frequently in subsequent years, the convenience is worth the rate increase.
- Third reason is to return to T-Mobile's familiar customer-oriented service that I'm accustomed to for 7 years before switching to AT&T for two years and then Virgin Mobile USA for one year.
I have to say, the reception and service of T-Mobile has increased drastically since my 3 year hiatus with them and I am delighted to return. The only reason I originally switched out of T-Mobile was because they did not offer the iPhone at the time I threw my Nexus One against the wall out of sheer frustration with the Android ecosystem. Now not only do they have better coverage, but are also far more competitive in terms of their plans and phone offerings. These reasons were the main reasons for me to return.
I paid for the iPhone 5C in full and also sold the Virgin Mobile USA iPhone 4S 16GB for a cool $300.00 (approximately 75% of what I've originally paid; they retain their values very well), which basically paid for over half of the 5C upgrade. I am well aware that the 5C basically has last year's iPhone 5's internal wrapped in a new colored poly-carbonate shell. I became impatient waiting for the iPhone 5S, which was sold out everywhere, with at least a 3-4 week wait period and decided to settle for the 5C.
Since Virgin Mobile USA does not voluntarily disclose subscriber's account number on the account management page online, and since they do not issue billing statements, I did a few research. What resulted were various answers ranging from the account number being the wireless number to being a separate number that can only be obtained by calling the Virgin Mobile USA customer service center.
I originally gave T-Mobile my Virgin Mobile USA wireless number, assuming it was my Virgin Mobile USA account number. After 72 hours of seeing that my existing wireless phone number has yet to transfer over to T-Mobile, I called the Virgin Mobile USA service center at 1-888-322-1122 and spoke with a representative. When I requested my account number, I was asked for my full name, phone number and 6-digit pin number, which I gave. And sure enough, I was given a 9 digit number that is completely different than my phone number. The rep asked why I needed my account number for feedback purpose and I simply told her that I plan on traveling internationally a lot in subsequent years and needed a phone that is not SIM-locked to the Virgin Mobile USA network. The rep was kind about it and noted my comment as a feedback.
Coincidentally, a rep from T-Mobile called me an hour later informing me of difficulties associated with transferring my Virgin Mobile USA phone number over due to incorrect account number provided (as they said they would). I gave the rep the correct account number while on the line and my existing number ported over to my T-Mobile account within 3 minutes -- while on phone with the T-Mobile rep. I'm very happy with T-Mobile's customer service in the 72 hours of returning to them.
Once the lady's contract with AT&T expires later this year, we'll switch her back to T-Mobile with an iPhone 5C upgrade of her own (she was also on an individual T-Mobile plan for about a decade and also switched because of her experience with Android). Once we're both settled in T-Mobile's plan, it'll be time to sell off the rest of our vestigial iPhone 4 and 4S devices:
Now that T-Mobile is a contract-free carrier and its Simple Choice Plan offers unlimited talk, text and data and ability to upgrade phones up to twice a year, our move back to T-Mobile is a sound decision. T-Mobile also now includes international data and text roaming in 100 countries. Data speed, I believe, is limited to 2G, but that'll suffice. It abolish the inconvenience of buying local sim cards and trying to connect to a local Wi-Fi in a foreign language.
Still not sold on the new T-Mobile? Check out their landing page.