Virgin Mobile to offer prepaid iPhones for as little as $30 a month

By on June 7, 2012, 4:30 PM

Virgin Mobile has revealed that it will be the second US carrier to offer prepaid iPhones starting June 29. The news follows about one week after an announcement by Cricket Wireless, which will sell prepaid iPhones starting June 22. Both providers will sell Apple's handset contract-free for a hefty sum upfront while offering significant savings over the course of a couple years, though they take slightly different approaches.

In case you missed the previous post, Cricket will offer the iPhone 4 8GB for $400 and 4S 16GB for $500 (both are $150 less than full retail) with service at $55 a month for unlimited voice, text and data (throttled beyond 2.3GB). Virgin will sell the handsets unsubsidized ($550 and $650) but provides more flexible plans starting as low as $30 per month, which could produce additional savings in the long run.

The $30 option supplies 300 minutes, unlimited texting and unlimited data with a higher soft cap (2.5GB instead of 2.3GB). The next costs $40 a month and increases voice to 1,200 minutes, while the third is $50 for unlimited voice. Assuming you buy the pricier iPhone and you can get by with 300 minutes, you're looking at as little as $1,370 over two years, versus beyond $2,000 for a contract with AT&T, Verizon or Sprint.

Virgin's $40 plan seems to be the best value for heavier users. Although it doesn't have unlimited voice, 1,200 minutes should be plenty for most people. With the 4S 16GB at $40 a month, you'd pay $1,610 over two years versus $1,820 with Cricket and again, more than $2,000 via contract. It's worth noting that Virgin Mobile USA is owned by Sprint and uses its network, so you're essentially getting the same service at a bargain.




User Comments: 12

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"With the 4S 16GB at $40 a month, you'd pay $1,610 over two years versus $1,820 with Cricket and again, more than $2,000 via contract."

And I pay $216 over two years with my "pay as you go" basic Tracphone. Think I'll stick with that.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Yeah? Well I pulled my tin cans and string out of the trash for free. Take that.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Don't mess with us old dudes! :p

howzz1854 said:

I am very interested in this. does anyone know if I can just go buy a used Spring Iphone 4 and sign up with Virgin for this? since Sprint and Virgin are basically the same owner/network.

Guest said:

I paid $200 for the Iphone 4 16GB when it came out and my unlimited service with ATT runs $135 a month after you have all the wonderful taxes and an old grandfathered unlimited data plan. Sprint has much better coverage in my area so this is a significant savings.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

The price definitely cool but what I like most is the idea that at&t and verizon will have some competition with these no-contract carriers. Hopefully it will start to break up the cellphone service industry and give us as consumers more competitive pricing.

Tygerstrike said:

@Ranger

None of the major carriers have any control over the pricing of any Apple product. Every carrier signs a contract. In that contract Apple keeps exclusive control over the price point that their merchandise is sold for. This contract is so controlling that if any retail outlet ever tries to sell a Apple product at a less then contracted price, they lose the ability to sell Apple products. Back in 2010 there were a few retail stores that decided to undercut the Apple stores by offering Iphones at $99.99. This was the cause of many corporate ppl loosing their jobs.

Prepaid Iphones.......not the brightest idea. Most ppl who use prepaid from what I have dealt with cant afford a contracted phone. They never get the insurance on their phone. They barely ever buy products to protect their new toy. All I see out of this is ppl buying the Iphone at 400-500$, dropping and breaking it and then they are out the cash they spent for the phone.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

The lower prices I'm hoping for is the prices of the contracts with cellphone carriers, not for the actual cellphones, although that would be nice too. People are sick of having to be bound by a 2 year contract at 100+ dollars a month. If enough people opt for these cheaper alternatives that are contract free then AT&T and Verizon will be forced to reconsider their prices. I would prefer a prepaid phone not because I can't afford a contract but because I don't feel I get my money's worth with a large contract.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

@Ranger

None of the major carriers have any control over the pricing of any Apple product. Every carrier signs a contract. In that contract Apple keeps exclusive control over the price point that their merchandise is sold for. This contract is so controlling that if any retail outlet ever tries to sell a Apple product at a less then contracted price, they lose the ability to sell Apple products. Back in 2010 there were a few retail stores that decided to undercut the Apple stores by offering Iphones at $99.99. This was the cause of many corporate ppl loosing their jobs.

Prepaid Iphones.......not the brightest idea. Most ppl who use prepaid from what I have dealt with cant afford a contracted phone. They never get the insurance on their phone. They barely ever buy products to protect their new toy. All I see out of this is ppl buying the Iphone at 400-500$, dropping and breaking it and then they are out the cash they spent for the phone.

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/phone-insurance

Guest said:

Wonder what carrier iPhone would be compatible with them.would a old verzion iphone work? ..You could just buy one on ebay or use your iPhone after your contract is up with previous carrier. That $30 option looks like to be an awesome deal if my work didn't already pay for my phone. I don't hardly voice call. Mostly text and data. I think my work pays over $75 a month for my phone...What a ripoff.....for as much as I use it $30 seems way more realistic.

Justgivemeaname said:

For the record, any phone you buy to use with Virgin Mobile has to be a phone from Virgin Mobile. They do not have SIM cards in them so they will only work on Virgin Mobile's network and other carrier phones will not work on Virgin Mobile's network because of the SIM card issue. If you want to switch carriers you would need to buy a new phone in order to do so. Also, its $35/$45/$55 a month, Not $30/$40/$50.

NoReally NoReally said:

Acyually they are changint yo 30 40 50... Google is your firend.

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