Virgin Mobile Says No to Rooting

by: Chit AgustinJune 15, 2011
20 1

Last week, Virgin Mobile impressed us Android lovers through by stating publicly that they wish to offer a “pure Android experience” on their devices and prefers them to be Android virgins. In other words, they don’t want any UI skins on their devices.

A spokesperson from Virgin Mobile even said:

“Virgin Mobile USA aims to make available devices that allow the end user to have the freedom to customize the device to their liking. We like to take a consistent approach with our Android portfolio and so we prefer to have the true Android experience loaded on all our Android phones.”

An impressive statement, that certainly made us smile, especially considering the way other carriers have acted in recent times. Still, there’s more: Virgin Mobile turned our smiles into frowns when they said that they are totally against rooting because, according to them, it is a violation of their terms of  service.

In my own humble opinion, we have the liberty to choose, and it is our personal right to gain root access to our devices if we want. After all, we own them, right? Virgin Mobile believes that because users employ their network, that they have the final verdict over what devices can do and what limitations are subsequently imposed.

“We do not endorse in any way end users using a non-officially tested operating system nor do we approve of ‘rooting’ devices. This constitutes a violation of our terms of service and puts our network in jeopardy. We endeavor to provide users a customizable Android experience within the limits of the tested and network approved Android OS.”

Yes, it is a sad fact that some carriers simply don’t like rooting, but none have ever been this frank and straightforward. Anyway, there’s little Virgin Mobile can do to prevent or stop users from rooting their devices. Nevertheless, it’s slightly disgraceful that they would rebuke the efforts of digital freedom lovers.

What do you guys think about Virgin Mobile’s behavior? Hit us up in the comments.

Source: PC Mag

  • yeah, carriers hate that you own your device. why don’t they just do what they really want to do–force you to rent your phone from them so they can place all the restrictions on it that they want. can’t wait for long range WiFi :)

  • bpaulien

    Actually, we’re not running it on their network, are we? I thought Virgin used Sprint’s network. Virgin doesn’t “own” their network, from what I understand.

    I just got the Optimus V, and haven’t rooted it yet, but have been reading about it… Perhaps it’s time to stick my toes into the pool.

  • warrenbzf

    Bogus VMobile, that seems bogus to me. It just doesn’t jive becaus.e you can use ANY app if you use their MiFi device. I hope “white space” arrives soon and gains support, because I dislike these good old boy establishment networks.

  • Alex R

    While it’s a violation of their TOS, it is possible to root their Android phones anyway. To be clear about it, it’s mostly a tech support issue. If you brick a phone by rooting it, there’s nothing VM can do to help you. (Not to mention, rooting will void your phone’s warranty.) If you can manage your phone well while it’s rooted, then more power to you.

    I am on VM, and don’t care to root my phone. There is some added functionality by rooting a phone, but for me, nothing that would significantly improve performance. To me it’s similar to running Linux/MacOSX/XP/Vista/7 as root on a PC. It may be great for performance, but once you really screw up something (like accidentally erase a few system files), you may have to start over completely by reinstalling everything from scratch, which might take a lot of time.

    At this point, it’s not worth the added aggravation or wasted time for me. I use an app killer, a battery saver app, and a virus scanner on my phone. That’s more than enough to make my phone perform well IMO. Otherwise, it’s probably a waste of memory and CPU cycles…

    (On a PC, I only go to root to fix a few things when absolutely necessary, or run small utility programs I absolutely know won’t crash the system when run as root, like a wifi finder app.)

  • Freedom Guest

    I was thinking about switching to Virgin Mobile when my contract with T-Mobile is up in November. After reading this article, I have to say that Virgin Mobile left a bad taste in my mouth with their statement. I say, f*** them. A company that does not stand for consumer freedom is a company that’s not getting any of my money. As “acupuncture” said, they’d love to rent you a phone but because they can’t they just want to dictate what you can or can’t do with your own private property. Outrageous!

    • Krista

      Hi actually I DID root my phone so I could wifi tether it. I would say it made my phone a little glitchy but it’s okay. No big deal. I would say though, that of all the companies out there Virgin Mobile does have the best phone service. When your data slows down.. it’s not really that slow. I love that. I would still suggest if everyone rooted there phone then no one could say anything about it lol. The phone is great though. LIke the plans. Hate the fact that I had to root to wifi tether, but I get more for my money since the awe does NOT have a hotspot app. That is why I rooted it. The Lg optimus v worked just fine. No need to root. Reallly depends on what you are looking for. I have been a customer for about 2 years. With both experiences I would say the awe dropped too many calls… and the Lg optimus really is great on service. The awe though has more memory, and if you don’t talk AT ALL then the AWE is the choice.

  • Zombiesnipe

    I own an android phone, android is a open source os, linux os lets you customize and enhance your free software, but whats the big deal of not letting people do what they want to something they paid for, Virgin owns the rights to the phone hardware but not the linux based os software.

  • Joe Hellums

    cThey’re claims that it could have ANYTHING to do with their network is FALSE!!!!! Should b our decision since we pay for the phone. yea custom launchers are great, but what if u want better sound quality? cant do ANYTHING with these phones on a low budget and what if u need more RAM? can’t partition an sd card unless ur rooted. if my phone random reboots what do I do? can’t fix the kernel unless it’s ROOTED!!!! It’s bs and make virgin mobile phones almost USELESS. Whole reason I changed to This service was for a better fone for cheap that I could hopefully make even better. Can’t make it better unless it’s ROOTED!!!! wake up virgin mobile, a virgin phone is a

  • Joe Hellums

    A “virgin” phone is a useless phone unless ur new to the OS. We pay for ur service just to get stuck with phones that we can’t feel like their ours. I really thought this would b an awesome phone service and was really lookin forward to doin some development on this fone. wake up virgin mobile and take the chastity belt off ur phones

  • Matt Scheaffer

    Complete bullshit. Virgin Mobile phones come with some ridiculous skinning program you can’t uninstall called MobileID, they have a tone of other bloatware that can’t be uninstalled or even disabled. Complete lies from VM as usual. Is there any company that isn’t a bunch of lying greedy pricks? Any at all?

  • Daxxos

    As a business they don’t really have any reason to limit you other than the obvious technical support issues (as stated previously) and network imitation. The real issue here is if a significant portion of their user’s root their phone and start using up the bandwidth on Sprints network then it will impede performance for the rest of their customers. It’s not some maniacal desire for control there just trying to maintain good performance for all of their customers. I believe if you root your phone for other reasons other than trying to get around network limitations like tethering or if you don’t break your phone then expect them to support your mistake they probably won’t have an issue with rooting.

  • Krista

    I think EVERY SINGLE Person should ROOT their device then they have nothing they can do but support it.