Virgin Smart Caps Promote Data Over Voice

Gizmodo readers might be getting the feeling their handset is more and more a data device and less and less a telephone. Virgin Mobile seems to be noticing that shift, too. The new Virgin Smart Caps, launched today, tip the voice/data balance firmly in favour of data. Starting at $29 per month, now offer unlimited SMS to any network plus 1GB of data included while giving a lesser focus to included voice value. And you can even get the Samsung Galaxy S on a $29 plan.

The $29 Smart Cap adds just $50 of included voice value, charged at 99c per minute, so it is a long way behind on included calls. But how many call dollars would you really use these days? We're thinking a lot of people will be ready to make that trade off in exchange for unlimited SMS and 1GB of data.

Of course, you can go for a higher value plan as well.

$39 gets you 1.5GB data and $160 included calls. $49 gets you 2GB data and $270 included calls. $59, 2.5GB + $380. $69, 3GB + $450. $89, 3.5GB + $650. $109, 4GB + $1,000.

More bonus call value if you BYO handset.

Other things to remember about Virgin are features that should be free elsewhere but are often not, like voicemail calls. Plus a nice feature I'd never heard before -- if you fly Virgin Blue you'll get 10% credit on your mobile account from the price of the flight. A clever way to use the power of their associated brands in interesting ways.

If you want that Samsung Galaxy S on the $29 Smart Cap, it'll cost you $15 per month (or $5 per month for the Samsung Wave) in handset repayments over 24 months. UPDATE: Also on offer is the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro, also at $5 per month.

So is Virgin tipping the voice/data balance in a direction you like? Is this style of Cap something you want?