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Virgin Mobile adds unlimited music streaming, three new phones

Starting October 9, music streamed from Pandora, iHeartRadio and Slacker Radio won't count against Virgin's prepaid data bucket.

Virgin Mobile calls on new partners for its rate plans. Virgin Mobile

Starting October 9, Virgin Mobile customers will be able to stream music from Pandora, iHeartRadio and Slacker Radio to their heart's content. The prepaid wireless provider announced data-free music streaming on Wednesday, a feature that gives you unlimited access to music regardless of your data plan.

Virgin Mobile's move is the latest to up the ante for customers looking for reasons to stay or switch over. By offering an all-you-can-eat music plan that doesn't punish customers for streaming that uses large amounts of data, the company can hope to keep its users in a cutthroat market characterized by heavy amounts of turnover.

A Sprint brand, Virgin isn't the first prepaid provider to bundle music with its plans. ROK Mobile gives customers access to 20 million songs through its $50 all-inclusive offering; prior to being acquired by AT&T, Cricket's Muve Music sang a similar tune. Virgin Mobile's move, however, is closer to what T-Mobile does with its Music Freedom initiative.

The data-free music streaming comes with any Virgin Mobile plan of $35, $45 or $55 per month. With 1GB, 3GB and 8GB of high-speed monthly data, respectively, the plans also include unlimited talk and text. Do note that you'll still be billed for any premium activities.

New phones

Virgin Mobile is also introducing a trio of new handsets as part of its smartphone portfolio. The HTC Desire 626s ($130) features a 5-inch display, an 8-megapixel rear camera and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.

The third-generation Moto G ($150) is water-resistant and includes a 5-inch screen and 13-megapixel rear camera, while the Huawei Union ($80) packs a little less with its 4.5-inch display and 5-megapixel shooter.