Prepaid iPhone, Landing to Virgin Mobile USA

Source: Apple iPhone 4S/ Apple

It appears that Virgin Mobile will be the second carrier that will offer Apple’s iPhone on free contract. The carrier’s addition of the smartphone to their product lineup will be announced later this week, and it will debut as early as July 1.

There were speculations that Sprint, Virgin Mobile’s contract partner, committed to sell $15.5 billion-worth of Apple handset within four years. Last year, the third-largest carrier in the US made a deal with the Cupertino-based company, which brought the device to their shelves.

Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile Offering

Prior to this, Cricket Wireless announced that they would become the first prepaid carrier to sell a contract-free iPhone in the US come June 22. They will offer the 16 GB iPhone 4S for $500 together with an “unlimited” $55-per-month plan. As Leap Wireless International Inc.’s President and CEO Doug Hutcheson stated:

“Our customers want the best products available and we are excited to bring iPhone to our prepaid consumers with leading $55 per month service plan. Launching iPhone is a major milestone for us and we are proud to offer iPhone customers attractive nationwide coverage, a robust 3G data and value pack, no-contract plan.”

It was followed by last week’s report that the Apple iPhone will also arrive to Boost Mobile this September. However, it is unclear whether the carrier would offer its $50 Monthly Unlimited Plan with Shrinkage for iPhone 4S.

Wide Demographic Coverage

While Cricket Wireless will sell the iPhone to smaller market where the brand is available, Virgin Mobile would make the handset more available to prepaid customers. Covering 278 million people, the carrier has a fairly specific demographic.

They cater to younger generation which somehow has incomplete credit history. This market is quite hungry for the iPhone, so letting them have the chance to purchase the device could help Sprint to fulfill their obligation of selling $15.5 billion worth of handset to Apple.

Virgin did not reveal the price for a prepaid iPhone, but the carrier has a monthly subscription plan that starts at $35 for “unlimited” capped data. It is also unclear whether the handset will be compatible with the said plan.

Bringing the iPhone to Regional Carriers

It was last October when Apple started expanding the iPhone to regional carriers like C Spire Wireless. Then on April, nTelos, Alaska Communications, GCI, Appalachian Wireless and Cellcom were added. Bluegrass Cellular, Golden State Cellular and Next-Tech Wireless followed suit last May.

The addition of iPhone to Virgin Mobile leaves T-Mobile USA at a great disadvantage. In fact, it is the largest carrier that doesn’t offer the device, which is the major reason why it lost 1.7 million contract customers last year.

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