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Virgin Mobile hikes rates in Canada, adds $35 setup fee

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Well, it looks like the budget-friendly carrier options in Canada just got a little less budget-friendly, as Virgin Mobile has hiked its monthly rates by about 17% across the board, and added a new $35 "account setup fee." That makes the new $25 "Starter" plan the least expensive option available, with it including 100 text messages, 100 minutes, and 1,000 evening and weekend minutes. Other plans will run you $30, $40, or $50 a month (each $5 more expensive than before), while the top-end $60 a month plan is the only to remain unchanged. Additional bundle packages have also received a hike, and will now run you anywhere from $11 to $22. According to MobileSyrup, there's a number of reasons for the rate increases, including the fact that the discount carrier apparently hasn't posted a profit since its launch in 2005, and that they're now looking to build some actual walk-in stores, in addition to the usual kiosks. Even more interestingly, they're also saying that the price increases could be in anticipation of some pricier handsets in the offing, perhaps even including the BlackBerry Storm by the end of the year.

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