Virgin Mobile, shut up!
August 20, 2013 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I have a Virgin Mobile android phone, and the following has happened to me about forty times now: I will be on a phone call and all of a sudden a Virgin Mobile song -- some kind of ad song for Virgin Mobile with guitars and synths and a perky lady singing "Virgin Mobile" every now and then -- interrupts the call. Is there a way to make this stop happening?

Once the song starts, it's effectively the end of my phone call because I can't get the music to stop and I can't hear the other end of the call anymore until the song ends (it's about a minute or two long). The person on the other end of the call doesn't hear the song so they think I am nuts when I start shouting at them about Virgin Mobile. This weird, loud, unpredictable flexing of Virgin's brand identity is driving me bananas.

I am unwilling to call Virgin Mobile because I have had extremely frustrating customer service experiences with them before and I resolved never to call again because it only frustrated me more and wasted so much time on hold.

Does anyone know if there is a phone setting I could turn off to make this stop happening? Has anyone else experienced this, and if so what did you do? Googling "virgin mobile song interruption" and various similar phrases didn't turn anything up.

Also out of curiosity, if you practice yoga or do daily affirmations or the like, do you find yourself less bothered by these sorts of intensely frustrating effluvia of everyday life?
posted by onlyconnect to Technology (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What phone? I never had that issue on my old Optimus V.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:31 AM on August 20, 2013

Is it possible you have it set to play that song when someone dials in on call-waiting? Also, is the song playing "in" the phone call, over the voice of the person you are speaking with, or is it coming from an external speaker?
posted by juliplease at 8:37 AM on August 20, 2013

Response by poster: Yes, i still have an Optimus V LG. I wonder why I get this and you didn't.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:37 AM on August 20, 2013

Also, I found this thread, which describes a similar problem, but people are reporting it happens even when not on a call (and on different models). However, one of the comments suggests issues with the headset jack, so I figured I'd post it in case this helps you or future searchers.
posted by juliplease at 8:47 AM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hmmm. I have my "notification ringtone" set to silent. But when I go into the "volume" settings the "notifications" volume was ticked up a smidge so it was not totally silent, it was on about 1 of 20 if that makes sense. It probably does have SOMETHING to do with notifications (other calls, or maybe receiving an email?) because when I adjust the notifications volume in the volume settings it plays that damned song, whereas adjusting the volume of media or alarms plays something else, like a ping or a buzz.

I'm not sure if it plays internally or externally. I would guess externally, but loud enough to block the sound of the call.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:51 AM on August 20, 2013

I've been on VM for 7 or 8 years, with a variety of phones, and currently we have 4 phones on VM. This has never, ever happened. It sounds like an issue with your phone, not with VM in general. Do you have a spare phone you can switch out with temporarily? You can do the switch online, you don't have to talk to anybody.

FWIW, I've also not had any issues with VM customer service either.
posted by COD at 8:53 AM on August 20, 2013

Maybe you could go into system processes and end anything that seems musical or Virgin Mobile-y? I always had problems with the built in music app.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:55 AM on August 20, 2013

Have you tried taking out the battery for a few minutes before trying to replicate the problem?
posted by oceanjesse at 8:57 AM on August 20, 2013

Best answer: Hah, so you're getting a notification during a phone call and it's playing a crazy notification sound that's a minute and a half long even though you have it disabled!

Grab a blank MP3, copy it to your SD card under /Media/Notifications and it will show up as an option for Notification Sounds. Then pick it and you should fix this.
posted by dobi at 8:57 AM on August 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

It could be something that happens if a phone were to run out of its allotted minutes or over a call time limit. Be sure to check through your plan settings to make sure that's not the case!
posted by theraflu at 8:58 AM on August 20, 2013

Wait, I just realized that each app can have a different notification sound than the system default. What new notification is appearing in the notification bar during / after this sound plays? You may have to go to that app's settings and change it there.
posted by dobi at 9:17 AM on August 20, 2013

Response by poster: My phone isnt playing the song every time I get an email, definitely. It is possible that it is playing the song every time I get an email when I am on the phone, though. I don't think I have call waiting, but even if I do I don't think it's notifying me of that. This happened to me on a call 30 minutes ago and there is no history in my call log of another call coming in anywhere around that time.

I never run out on my monthly minutes etc. so I'm pretty confident it's not that.

I take the battery out of my phone once or twice a day (well, it comes out that often when I drop my phone anyway) so the rebooting on/off etc. does not fix the problem. Not sure how to mess about with system processes.

I am going to try dobi's blank MP3 idea and see if that can bypass the issue, it sounds promising. I think it can only be notification of one of three things that is triggering this: email, a Words with Friends move, or an Amazon app update becoming available. I'll see if I can figure out how to change the app settings for these with the blank mp3 notification. Thanks everybody for these suggestions! Even if I have said above that I don't think something is a problem, these ideas have all helped, and also make me feel less frustrated and insane about the whole thing.

Also I don't mean to malign Virgin Mobile generally, and I apologize generally if I'm blaming them for something that isn't their fault.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:26 AM on August 20, 2013

Best answer: 1. Try setting your notification sound to something different - ie, a different sound, not the song you're hearing. As mentioned above you might have to do this in both the sound settings and in the settings of individual apps.

2. It could be a music player or podcast app firing up. If there is only one mp3 on the playlist (the virgin mobile song . . . ) when it starts up it will play that one song every time. I've had mine fire off randomly from time to time, sometimes during phone calls. Often I've suspected the headset button, which is often set to play/stop the music player, got fired off accidentally, like maybe through some kind of short or whatever.
posted by flug at 10:21 AM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've deleted my Amazon app, and I downloaded a silent ringtone to use for email and Words with Friends. But, I can only add it to my phone ringtones, not my notification ringtones. So right now I'm not using the silent ringtone for anything.

I'm also having trouble figuring out how to set an app ringtone. I found a window to "manage my applications" but that really only let's me uninstall them and clear out their caches, etc. I've never set an app ringtone and can't seem to figure out how, as googling "setting an app ringtone" pulls up lots of apps designed to create ringtones. Gah!

I did notice that there seem to be two different places on my phone to change the notification volume (under Quick Settings, Volume Control, Notification Volume and also under Settings, Sound, Volume, Notification Volume) and they seem completely independent of one another. One was set low and one was high so I made them both low.

And as flug suggests I've switched my notification ringtone from Silent to something short and quietish. So if it was somehow redirecting to the Virgin Mobile song maybe this ringtone will be less intrusive at least.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:43 AM on August 20, 2013

Here's how to get an mp3 to show up as a notification sound.

Each app's settings window will hopefully call out a notification sound. In the GMail app, press the menu button and go to Settings -> -> Inbox sound & vibrate -> Sound. I don't know if Words with Friends lets you pick in the same manner.
posted by dobi at 12:47 PM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ting uses the same (Sprint) network as Virgin Mobile, and is also non-contract. In case your coverage is OK, but you're just tired of VM. You can't take your Virgin phone, but it doesn't sound like you want to anyway. But you can use a used Sprint Android phone if you don't want to spring for a brand new phone.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:16 PM on August 20, 2013

Response by poster: I think flug's first suggestion above of switching the notification sound to something else has worked for me! I was on a call this morning and heard a short notification sound, but not the deafeningly loud and annoying and interminable brand song I used to get. I could actually continue my call as if nothing had happened, which is a major victory. I am pretty sure dobi's solution would have worked as well, perhaps even more elegantly, but alas I am, technologically, a buffoon. (A very grateful buffoon.) Thank you all so much!
posted by onlyconnect at 4:01 PM on August 22, 2013

Response by poster: Yes, four months later I'm here to report that changing the notification sound to something else has entirely eliminated these annoying and embarrassing Virgin Mobile Song Interrrupts My Life incidents. Thanks again for all your help.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:20 AM on December 17, 2013

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