Virgin Mobile call history data stinks

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by bledsoe on September 5, 2011

My wife and I have both had Virgin Mobile cell phones and phone plans for several years now, and for the most part have been pretty pleased with them.  There are no contracts involved, phones and plans are both reasonably priced, and they have decent customer service on the rare occasion that one of us needs to call and talk to a human.

They also provide access to your call history data via your online account, and unfortunately, the information Virgin Mobile provides, and the format in which they provide it, is really lousy.

One of the nice things about Virgin Mobile is that they offer different plans for you to choose from depending on how you use your phone.  For example, they have a $35/month plan that gives you 300 anytime talk minutes, a $45/month plan that gives you 1200 anytime talk minutes, and a $55/month plan that gives you unlimited talk minutes.  (All of these plans give you unlimited texting, email, data, and web access.)  If you go over your talk minutes on the $35 or $45 plans, you get charged 10 cents per minute for each minute you're over.

So if you happen to use your phone relatively infrequently, as my wife and I did, the $35 plan is clearly the best choice.  But if you start to use your phone more often, the 10 cents a minute overage charges can start to add up pretty quickly.  If you're on the $35 plan and you regularly talk more than 400 minutes per month for example, you're paying an extra $10 per month, or a total of $45 per month, for just 400 minutes.  It would be a much better deal for you to switch to the $45 plan and get the 1200 minutes.  And of course, if you only occasionally go over the 300 minute limit, or only go over by a few minutes, you'd want to stick with the $35 plan.

So it would be really useful to be able to look at your call history data for the past few months and be able to see the total minutes you talked each month.  If you're regularly over 400 minutes, you'd switch to the $45/month plan, and if you're not, you'd stay with the $35/month plan.  Simple.

Unfortunately, while Virgin Mobile provides easy access to your call history data, the format in which they provide it is not useful for making this simple decision.  This is because a) they only provide a list of the length of each individual call, not total monthly minutes, and b) they only provide data for the previous two months.

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous.  Virgin Mobile actually has all of the data that I need in order to make a decision about the best phone plan for me, and they actually provide it to me via my online account, but they won't give it to me in a format that's useful.

It turns out that I can get this information myself by copying and pasting the individual call data into a spreadsheet and then calculating a simple sum.  I did this once and it took me about 15 minutes, most of the time being needed because I had to do several copy and pastes because they only provide 20 rows of data per screen.  And of course I could only get data on the past two months.

Come on Virgin Mobile.  You already have the data.  Have one of your programmer people add a few lines of code to display the total talk minutes used per month over the past year.  Then your customers can tell at a glance if they need to switch plans or not.

Virgin Mobile logo image from crackberry.com.

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