By Jim Karpen on Fri, 06/08/2012
After rumors surfaced earlier this week, Virgin Mobile, a seller of prepaid phone service, confirmed yesterday that they'll begin offering the iPhone on June 29. Here's the bottom line: If you go with a Virgin Mobile iPhone 4, you'll pay more money upfront, but over a two-year period you'll save $800 or more compared to a similar phone purchased with a contract from Sprint (provider of Virgin Mobile's network). An 8GB iPhone 4 will cost $549. And service starts at $30/month for 300 minutes, unlimited text messages, and unlimited data. Though if you use over 2.5GB of data during your monthly billing cycle, Virgin Mobile will significantly reduce the speed of your service for the rest of that cycle. The service actually costs $35/month, but you get a $5 discount if you sign up for automatic payment with a credit card. Virgin Mobile will also offer a 16GB iPhone 4S for $649.
Along with a Cricket, which announced last week that its prepaid phone is coming June 22, this is the first time the iPhone will be available as a prepaid phone. This is currently the fastest growing segment of the cell phone market, with the growth in contract phones having leveled off and actually beginning to decline slightly.
Cricket's iPhones, by the way, are cheaper, at $399 and $499. But service is $55/month.