Virgin Mobile MiFi

by PrepaidWirelessGuy
(Orange County, CA)

I've posted MY review of the Virgin Mobile MiFi device. After receiving so many user submitted reviews regarding Virgin Broadband2Go issues, I reached out to Virgin to request a test unit. I figured that it was time to get some first-hand experience with the service, and they were kind enough send me a Novatel 2200 MiFi hostpot.

The great thing about MiFi devices are that due to the fact that you connect to it via standard WiFi, there's no fussing with USB modem drivers and installation issues. However, the downside is that while my review provides first hand experience with the Virgin Mobile MiFi activation and Broadband2Go service, I wasn't able to test the USB modem installation process. Hopefully I'll get a chance to do that at some point as well.

In my review I take you through the activation and setup procedure, My Account topup and usage monitoring features, speed, battery life, VPN access, and overall conclusion.

While you can click over to the review and read it in detail, here's an executive summary of my experience:

- Packaging was simply, clean, and easy to understand.

- Activation was smooth, though I did run into one nuance that could cause some confusion.

- Connecting to the MiFi device with multiple computers was simple and easy as expected.

- I really like the usage monitoring; very simple (and expected!) and yet useful feature.

- I had no issues using VPN with the device.

- Speed was the same as Sprint from what I can tell, though coverage/speed in my house is not consistent. Customers/users definitely need to ensure that you test coverage/speed in places where you plan on using the device (ex. home, work, play). Depending on your coverage experience, you will either LOVE this service or become absolutely frustrated. I don't see this as a Broadband2Go issue though, but rather a Sprint issue.

- Battery life was disappointing, and is my main gripe with MiFi hotspots in general.

Click over to the full review to read my overall conclusion of the Virgin Mobile MiFi, and the Broadband2Go service in general.

FULL Virgin Broadband Review

The following are links to other user reviews, including some good troubleshooting tips and tricks from visitors to the site:

Virgin Prepaid Broadband2Go Tech Support Problems

Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go

Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go "could not update the phone book file"

Comments for Virgin Mobile MiFi

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Dec 04, 2015
1XRTT AND EvDo Rev.0 not connected errors NEW
by: Jean

I have been with Virgin for 10 years. I live in a rural area and have limited choices. Most of the time I have no issues except it's slow. However every year sometimes more than once I can't get a signal. Tech is no help. They run you through resets that usually don't work, then start telling you, you live too close to the tower (1 mile),you need to be at the bottom of the hill blocked by trees or farther away, or I'm outside tower range. That's the most resent. They started that after the tower was put in (1.4 miles by car and less than 1 mile as the crow flies)about 5 years ago. There are 2 towers within 5 miles of my house. I have topped up but waiting 72 hrs for the other tech support to figure out the problem. I have changed my device twice since topping up this week and told they don't work. First one is less than a year old. The other one came right out of the package.
Like I said when it works it's not bad but when you have an issue it's a pain. My Devices tell me I have excellent connection but, I still can't access the net, just the tower. Wish me luck as of today tech is supposed to be back online or hear that my mifi's don't work

Oct 28, 2012
by: Anonymous

I chose this over two other products at wal mart less than a week ago. I chose it because their sign said $50 unlimited. I never would have without that. Well my unlimited ended 4 days later. I purchased another $25 top up card and it would not take it. I called and they said they could see the money but it would take 24 hours to give me credit, well they also made me fax proof that I paid for the card. Can you believe that they say it but I have to prove it! Well it's over 24 hours and I still have no service. I'm packing this crap up and returning it to Walmart. I'm choosing another service, and I suggest everyone else does too. I have been lied to since the very beginning. I am going to complain to the BBB, and maybe even sue for being lied to and false advertisement. Will someone join me?

Jun 17, 2012
Its working for me
by: Dude

Been using the Virgin MiFi for over a year from central cali. Sprint network is not the best here but the device has always impressed with its speed and reliability. Took it on a road trip to Oregon with several cell phones and iPads connected to it and it maintained a usable connection the entire time. Couldn't be more impressed with the performance of this device. The Wal-Mart $20 per month plan is icing on the cake.

Apr 27, 2012
by: RG IN LA

Guys - I have been using the Virgin Mobile Mifi for over a year - it has successfully made me so mad i want to sue the company for fraud and misrepresentation. Thie product works SOMETIMES and mostly not when you need it. It's either SPRINT or the device but I have NEVER achieved a satisfactory speed and consistent on line experience. F these guys. I am going to buy a ATT or a Verizon device and anyone who thinks this Virgin mobile is acceptable is daft. I have run it coast to coast airport to airport city to city. Once and a while it comes through for me but here's the deal. IT IS NOT DEPENDABLE. If you need something to work for you for business and on the road if you are a road warrior - then is is not recommended. SERIOUSLY stay away. It is attractive for it's price and all I can say is I regret I bought one, it let me down one too many times, and I should have bought a better unit. The Virgin 2200 unit really sucks. Don't buy one.

Nov 20, 2011
Nightmares with Virgin Mobile USB Broadband
by: Hank G

While on vacation in a Gulf condo in Florida, I learned of a neighbor using the Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go USB unit to connect from his condo, rather than using the condo lobby's free WiFi.
The local Radio Shack was out of stock, so I drove 50 miles to the next Radio Shack to buy one.
At the time, I was using a refurbished Dell Dimension 600 (lease trade-in) and discovered a software incompatibility with the Virgin unit and my laptop.
Broadband2Go IT weren't aware of the problem and treated me like a computer newbie unable to use their equipment.
Two hours later, they acknowledged there was, indeed, a compatibility problem with their product and my Dimension 600.

I was able to get a refund from Radio Shack and bought an AT&T USBConnect 900 with a DataConnect Pass for use during the following year's vacation.
I upgraded to a refurbished Dell Precision 4300.
The AT&T Dataconnect Pass was pricey ($50 for 1GB)but the equipment did work properly in my 'new' laptop.
I plan to retry the Virgin USB device with the Precision 4300 because of the lower prepaid plan cost (for broadband). Stay tuned.......

Jul 16, 2011
So disappointed...
by: Anonymous

Activation was hell, and it's slower than a baby learning to ride a bike. I'm always connected,however 10MB/mth for me is equivelant to the time it takes me to have breakfast in the morning. No 4g? Are you kidding me? C'mon Richard Branson, give Sprint a few million and dominate the damn market!

Jul 11, 2011
Sprint & Virgin MiFi Hotspot Reliability
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is all good feedback. In addition to testing the Virgin MiFi, I also own the Sprint MiFi,and used it (and previously the same plan on a PC card modem) for years (since it was first released as an EV-DO Rev0 device).

It was so reliable (and fast once EV-DO RevA was released), that I used it as my ONLY broadband device (i.e. no home cable or DSL broadband). Sometime last year, the service became much like LAGuy describes his experience.

This leads me to believe that the issue isn't precluded to Virgin, but to Sprint in general. It's very frustrating, not to mention disappointing, and even infuriating. I hope Sprint gets its act together. If it could bring it back to its reliability and performance of a year ago, and provide the same service for its Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go brand, it would have a superb product with which to compete.

At this point, it should really re-launch its mobile broadband portfolio with an renewed performance campaign on a 4G device!

Jul 11, 2011
Sprint Carrier is VERY SPOTTY - Don't buy one of these
by: LAGuy90045

I've been using the 2200 for over 6 months - using it in Los Angeles, on the road, in the airports, and all across the country. As much as I want the device to be reliable I cannot recommend it as it fails to delivery regularly under critical situations. Unlike a cell phone with bad reception where you just call back for dropped calls, the 2200 either seems under powered to get signal strength or Sprint gives Virgin the lowest priority on their network. Battery life is OK about what I expected 2-3 hours but the speed is never better than 1 Mbps and generally (80% of the time, when it is working) 300-400 Kbps. Only good enough for basic email and maybe very very slow browsing. This is not a good network, product, or business plan. I like the pricing but if it doesn't work most of the time, it's rather useless. Due to it being unreliable, I am now being forced to go with a larger carrier and know from my business associates in direct comparison that the ATT mifi works much better. I am also looking at the Verizon mifi option. I did hope for better results.

Jul 10, 2011
Quite surpirsed, expected the worst
by: DJ from California

Am posting this now actually using the newly established connection using the Virgin Mobile Mifi 2200 bought yesterday. I really thought I was gonna be one of the casualties succumbing to bad hardware or other connection issues, but after the initial hiccups (and a few frustrations) - seems to be working as its suppose to. I didn't know there as an outage yesterday July 9th, that had started the day before(so almost all weekend)and was trying my darnest to get the device activated (by getting the msid and account number on the pop up that goes no where) last night thinking I was doing something wrong or the device was a dud; finally got on the phone at noon today and called the 877 number on the box to find this out and got an eta on when the service will be back. 4 hours later as they said, I tried activating the device, I got to 'top it off' and here this is! :) Crossing fingers this stays this way!

Mar 23, 2011
Worst company I have ever dealt with.
by: Victim

The packaging clearly says "Unlimited 3G Internet $40/Month". Nothing on the package says anything about being subject to change, yet they have given me the 5G shaft. I paid top dollar for a MiFi because of the unlimited deal. To alter the deal after selling it to me is nothing less than fraud and false advertising.
The packaging also says that the MiFi is compatible with Windows XP, however, it is not. I have found that Virgin Mobile is well aware that this system is NOT compatible with Windows XP Pro Service Pack 3. With this operating system I experience the MiFi dropping out of service sometimes dozens of times a day. Each time it requires a reboot of the MiFi.
As for the service, it sucks. I can access the network but not the servers for hours or even entire days. The trick here is the MB continue to be deducted because you are getting through to the network, despite its being useless without server access.
I have exchanged 60 emails and dozens of phone calls with the people at the Executive Escalations customer service department and they play (or maybe just are) stupid and say it'll be taken care of. It never is.
In short, Virgin Mobile is the worst company I have ever experienced. I advise anyone considering them as a provider go elsewhere or expect to be a victim.
If you have experienced problems like me I suggest contacting the FCC and filing a complaint via the internet. I am also filing a complaint with the FTC and the State Attorney General and would ask that you do this as well.

Mar 22, 2011
Too good to last
by: Country Dwellers

I live in a rural area where wireless broadband and satellite are my only options for internet. When I first got Virgin Mobile MiFi with $40 unlimited plan in August 2010 it was heaven! I even paid to get out of my Verizon broadband contract (which was $60/mo for 5GB, then 25cents a MB!) Speeds with V.M. were great and connectivity was awesome, much better than Verizon which was inconsistent. Too good to last, I suppose. Over the past month or so (early 2011) we started noticing our connection dropping and there are now many times we can't get on at all. We are constantly resetting the MiFi, restarting our computers, etc, unable to tell where the problem is. At times we can get back on, but usually we are without any connection for hours at a time. Getting thru to tech support during "problem times" is impossible; obviously everyone else is calling too. We are 2 retired folks who use the net only for email and web browsing and 5 GB/mo is not enough for us... 7 or 8 is more realistic for this type of use.

Feb 24, 2011
Virgin Broadband2Go 5GB Limit Now 2.5GB
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Just thought I'd update this post to let everyone know that the limit is now down from 5GB to 2.5GB. It really is pathetic that they can get away with marketing it as unlimited (b/c they don't shut off service over 2.5GB; they "just" throttle the speed). Carriers just need to own up to what's affordable for them, and market it clearly. Customers these days are too smart to be fooled; we'll ultimately find out how these plans work, and carriers will be punished by high churn. Please just be honest, and bring the small print to the forefront.

At this point if a plan has a 10GB cap, followed by throttled speed, I would accept the "unlimited" tag, however, short of that, and it's not unlimited.

Feb 23, 2011
I'm just living with it, this white elephant
by: RM

I found out about the change in the unlimited plan when I topped off in Jan. I was pretty much told the speeds would be cut in half if you went over 5GB, and that for every 5MB, they double it in your usage record (which I told the rep was "highway robbery"). I think they should warn people that this mifi card isn't for heavy internet use beforehand, as not to give anyone any false hopes.

I bought the little mifi card originally for exclusive use with my laptop, Blackberry, and iTouch 4G. I was excited because i thought I could just download whatever I wanted, no matter the size of the file regardless if it was a work file or a movie from iTunes. Nope. I discovered yes that while we have come so far technology wise, they haven't yet figured out how to give an internet mifi card the ability to compete with your average home wifi modem speed wise. And yes I had been expecting it to be as fast, this internet abuser who enjoys Netflix streaming was found out.

A few weeks ago I had a cable company come and install regular wifi, but I decided to hang onto the modem. Because 1. I paid so much money for it just two months ago 2. I'd just top off at $10 whenever I needed the net when I'm on the road. Yes I consider the purchasing of the modem a foolish "in the middle of the Christmas season madness" mistake, and it's too late to take it back to Best Buy, but you live and you learn. Now I just use it for my iTouch and cell phone, but it still gets hot and Twitter doesn't load as fast as it should and sometimes it refuses (like this morning with the "bad gateway"). White elephant, yes indeed, my $149 mistake.

As for the installation, I had a hell of a time setting it up. on Christmas eve of all times, and the site didn't want to let me in. But after a few hours my devices started talking to the internet. But after reading several reviews about the mifi set up I guess it's par for the course.

Jan 19, 2011
Broadband2G 5GB Limit
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Yes, I too received that nasty email notification regarding the 5GB limit. Virtually every carrier out there (whether prepaid or postpaid) has either stopped advertising their plans as unlimited, or now note that "unlimited doesn't mean unreasonable" along with the 5GB limitation. They'll try their very best to convince you/us that 5GB is plenty for 99% of users, and that this cap allows them to provide quality service to non-abusers. Some will also try to convince you/us that they don't shut us off, but rather simply reduce the speed. HOWEVER, that reduction in speed is enough to virtually render the service useless for anything other than checking email using a desktop client like Outlook (b/c opening basic email pages will be quite painful).

I do have to say that in the past (lets say as recently as 12 to 18 months ago) a 5GB limit WAS truly sufficient for most people. HOWEVER, with XBOX Live (as you noted), Netflix on demand, YouTube, multiple PCs, etc., 5GB really is starting to impact the average user who uses their prepaid wireless modem on a daily or regular basis.

In my case, for years I used to only use my wireless device for Internet at home, however, recently I started going over the 5GB limitation, and had to get COX high speed Internet to ensure speed and reliability, and no additional costs. It was a sad sad day b/c I used to brag to people how I was completely wireless at home (no landline or wired Internet). At least COX doesn't require any contracts. Though I do experience issues with having to reset the modem regularly, including resetting the wireless router as well. This has been a real pain.

I think it will take awhile to change, but I do expect that wireless providers will either have to reduce their pricing or concede to the fact that 10GB is likely the "new 5GB" reasonable limit to help protect their network costs, while delivering quality service for 99% of users. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, wireless carriers are no doubt losing valuable customers.

Jan 19, 2011
Was Pretty Happy Til the Plan Change!
by: Beth

I have been a VM Broadband-2-Go customer since 10/09/10. I was a lifelong dial-up user due to the fact there were no other options other than satellite. Needless to say, this is a much better web surfing experience than I have ever on that I am happy. I bought the MIFI 2200. My son can play XBOX while at the same time I browse and my daughter can use the laptop for her stuff. Generally it's been pretty quick and I have no complaints with speed. Occasionally I do have to re-set the modem, not sure why but sometimes you have to. When I first got the modem I had a problem which was solved by re-setting the modem---this was before I was aware how to do this!. However, calling the tech line was a nightmare!!! I was on hold FOREVER then finally connected to a call center in India. My 1st stab at getting the problem fixed was bad. The rep. obviously didn't know too much and just told me the system was down, to call back in 2 hours. I did and the second rep. wasn't much better...just told me the server was experiencing problems and it should be ok the following day. Well, it wasn't so I called again, was on hold gaing forever but did finally get a rep. who walked me thru the reset process and BINGO back up! At least now I can pretty much do that on my own. I recommend downloading the manual from the website. Now for what has me really cheesed....I was using the $40 unlimited plan....Now apparently VM has decided to "limit" the "unlimited" to 5GB per month, after that you will get supposedly much slower speeds until you "TOP UP" again. So that really is making me think of going a different route. With using XBOX LIVE, this will not work for me...Last month we used over 10,000 MB's. Hopefully VM will receive enough complaints and reconsider...If not, TIME WARNER is finally coming to my area...

Jan 02, 2011
Virgin Mobile MiFi and Buffering
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

I agree, I experience buffering with these devices as well (3G EVDO RevA devices). If you're moving from dial-up I think you'll be extremely impressed. If you're moving from cable broadband, and download a lot of streaming videos, you'll likely find the buffering to be somewhat annoying if you're not getting full 3G speeds.

Jan 02, 2011
Previous comment
by: David Turner

Better quality you tube clips load broken up from buffering.
Just wanted to add that.

Jan 02, 2011
Good service
by: David Turner

Been using Virgin Mobile MiFi since Sept 18 ,2010
I have been having good service. Pages load quickly and Mp3 5mb downloads are fast 1-2 min and Video clip 35mb about 8- 9min.
Would be nice if they fix the top up credit thing.
If you top up before your time expires you get credit, but it isn't applied to your account automatically. You have to apply the credit at time of expiration. Otherwise pretty good service.
I usually leave the MiFi plugged in all the time at home. So can't say too much about battery life.
I have used it on the road with my apad and Last.FM and it seemed to work well only buffered once or twice. (Last.FM software and server can have problems to though.) Most youtube videos seem to play smoothly after buffing once at beginning. results Download .59 mb/s Upload .05mb/s Wichita KS server, I'm in central Connecticut cell signal 2-3 bars. I've had faster speeds from time to time especially with a better cell signal.
All in all good service.
Previously was using dial up.

Jan 01, 2011
MiFi is perfect for me
by: Sheila

My family has a lake home in Minnesota. we do have cable tv, and the provider offers cable internet.
their offer was 5mbps for $70/month.
I bought the MiFi to kind of try out the service since it is prepaid.
it works perfectly. it would be nice to have the max connections at 10 instead of 5. and the config they are using will not allow it to be tethered with the wifi on. but it can handle 5 connections and doesn't feel slow. Granted we are just checking e-mail, TV schedules, and to bid on the occasional eBay auction.
it works perfectly for our needs. Also if you buy it through Wal-Mart, like I did, you can take advantage of the $20/1GB/month plan they offer.
overall, this device is great!

Dec 30, 2010
love it!
by: Anonymous

I've used both cricket and sprint as well. I am currently using the Virgin Mobile hotspot.

It has been wonderful! No more fighting between me and my daughter about who is going to use the modem. The price is lower than the competition with unlimited usage. For me that would be enough right there.

How well does it work? Both my daughter and I can be online playing games at the same time with no issues. I haven't tried to download more than songs (maybe I'll try today?) but they downloaded at a decent speed.

The biggest test will be the upcoming snow storm today. I would hate to be stuck in the house without internet!

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