No One Wants To Save $1000 By Buying A Virgin Mobile iPhone

No One Wants To Save $1000 By Buying A Virgin Mobile iPhone

We’ve gone on record saying that getting your next iPhone through Virgin Mobile is the smartest and most value-conscious decision you can make when it comes to choosing carriers. In fact, over two years, you can save well over $1000 by choosing Virgin Mobile to be your iPhone carrier-of-choice over the likes of Verizon or AT&T.

There’s just one catch: you have to pony up $649 up front for the full, unsubsidized price of an iPhone 4S. And unfortunately, that large initial expenditure seems to have been enough to keep customers away, at least on launch day.

After launching the iPhone on their network on June 30th, analysts are saying first day sales were sort of a fizzle.

Virgin opened its first branded retail stores in Chicago to capitalize on the launch, and also sold the phone through RadioShack and Best Buy. According to checks by BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk, there were no lines at eight RadioShack and Best Buy locations in New York City and San Francisco.

The situation doesn’t seem to have been helped by the fact that Virgin Mobile sales staff locations didn’t really advertise the iPhone, and the sales staff seemed ambivalent, feeling few of Virgin’s customers would actually buy the device.

It’s too bad, because for an initial upfront fee, the Virgin Mobile iPhone is simply the best deal going right now. Unfortunately, some people can’t see past that initial sticker shock… and Virgin Mobile’s not doing a good job about advertising the fact.

  • joewaylo

    Why buy it now anyways? Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Cricket started 9 months late on having a “Contract Free” low price planned iPhone. There’s 3 months left in announcing iPhone 5. Then the three brothers will have to toss out the 4S half off and get the 5.

  • ConstableOdo

    I’d say that most consumers don’t have $649 lying around to pony up on an iPhone (The 16GB model is $500 but the 8GB model is only $400). I guess Americans are different from Europeans who prefer paying more up front. I’d tend to think that most people would prefer to absorb the higher costs over a period of two years than taking a big bite at once, but that’s just my opinion. The Cricket prepaid way seems like a great deal, though, for a person that doesn’t need the highest-memory option iPhone.

  • bsoudi

    Agree with joewyalo. The headline is pretty sensational. It’s probably not so much about the $649 up front costs. Why would there be any urgency right now? There have been only lines for the debut of new iPhone models or a second carrier (Verzon joining AT&T). Why is that the bar for a successful launch?

  • dmbpjfan4ever

    another problem is that they are making anyone who has an iphone 4s already buy another. I have an unlocked phone from apple, live in Canada and I would in a heartbeat switch to virgin mobile if I could when travelling. sadly I can’t.

  • reyeh

    At first I was excited, but then I looked at the Sprint Network coverage Virgin uses. Not that great in my area.

  • murkul

    I currently have an iPhone 4 — and I am waiting for the iPhone 5. If Virgin Mobile offers similar deals for the iPhone 5 (on or close to release date) I would leave AT&T and get the HotSpot Service and still save a bundle!

  • Dan B

    I would switch in a heartbeat if I had assurance that Virgin’s cell coverage abd network speed were ok. I know nothing about their network, and would not roll the dice. I suffered enough through a dysfunctional relationship with AT&T. I’m not going in blind again. Teach me about Virgin’s network. Go test it out and write a review here for us.

  • BWinski

    There is also one little small issue effecting this program, which Virgin seems to be oblivious to.. THERE WILL BE A NEW IPHONE IN 4 MONTHS !!! Four months and their full-boat investment will be ‘obsolete’…. NOT!

  • yankeesusa

    Why buy it now anyways? Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Cricket started 9 months late on having a “Contract Free” low price planned iPhone. There’s 3 months left in announcing iPhone 5. Then the three brothers will have to toss out the 4S half off and get the 5.

    The Whole point is that prepay companies aren’t getting the iPhone 5 and that’s why they are selling iPhone 4 and 4s. Plus all the other Prepay companies are going to charge the unsubsidized high price. Only thing that matters is the monthly price and plan benefits and right now virgin has the best prepay plans out of the gates.

  • yankeesusa

    I currently have an iPhone 4 — and I am waiting for the iPhone 5. If Virgin Mobile offers similar deals for the iPhone 5 (on or close to release date) I would leave AT&T and get the HotSpot Service and still save a bundle!

    I don’t think virgin mobile or any prepay companies are getting the iphone 5. The reason for all these prepay companies getting the 4 is because it is easy to get it. Plus neither sprint nor other companies would allow their respective prepay services to carry iphone 5 and let people buy them without signing contracts and getting all that money.

  • yankeesusa

    I’d say that most consumers don’t have $649 lying around to pony up on an iPhone (The 16GB model is $500 but the 8GB model is only $400). I guess Americans are different from Europeans who prefer paying more up front. I’d tend to think that most people would prefer to absorb the higher costs over a period of two years than taking a big bite at once, but that’s just my opinion. The Cricket prepaid way seems like a great deal, though, for a person that doesn’t need the highest-memory option iPhone.

    Agree. Most americans can’t afford $650 up front. But again most americans cant see the reason behind paying up front for the virgin mobile phone and save so much money after just 1 year. Most americans use credit cards all the time and they have no problems putting a $1500 tv on the card. Why not a $650 phone that will pay itself off in a year? Plus if something happens you have no contract and you can resell the phone. But I guess most people would rather choose the most expensive thing in the long run just to save a penny now.

  • FriarNurgle

    Their network sucks.

  • TylerHoj

    I have purchased outright every single iPhone I’ve ever owned. It’s WAY cheaper on prepaid here in Canada, not the phone, the plans! The price of the phone only seems like a lot because everyone’s so used to carriers offering insane discounts on their devices so that they can lock you in to 2 long years of finical rape. As John said…pony up! You want a $700 phone? Buy the $700 phone…I apologize for the rant…BAZINGA!

  • B066Y

    I think the issue is poor service. I would love to switch to Virgin Mobile but C Spire has the best service (in my area) and, at least in my case, service trumps price every day.

  • Aaron

    After doing some research: Virgin is using Sprint’s network. The slowest 3G service available. Not to mention both me and my co-worker have BOTH had our identities stolen by Sprint employees… Coincidence or does this happen frequently?

  • bitsinmotion

    You can “go on record” as many times as you like, but it will be just as stupid as the first time you said it. Virgin uses Sprint’s third-rate network.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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