Virgin Mobile to offer prepaid, no-contract iPhones beginning June 29

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.

You can read more in these reports by Yahoo News and the New York Times. CNET's Ask Maggie says that you'll save nearly $1,000 with a Virgin Mobile iPhone.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

Cricket's iPhones, by the way, are cheaper, at $399 and $499. But service is $55/month.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.