Cricket Mobile’s recent announcement that they will be selling the iPhone 4 and 4S to prepaid customers (while offering enormous savings over traditional plans) seems to have started an avalanche, as now Sprint’s Virgin Mobile prepaid brand is reported to be following their lead.
According to MarketWatch, Sprint will announce prepaid iPhone plans for Virgin Mobile customers later this week, starting as soon as July 1st.
The Overland Park, Kan., carrier will announce this week it will offer the popular smartphone on its Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go brand starting as soon as July 1, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. Sprint follows Leap Wireless International Inc. in selling the device with prepaid service.
By offering the iPhone, Sprint may help satisfy its commitment to Apple to buy $15.5 billion of the phones over four years, an aggressive bet as more carriers are getting access to the once-exclusive device. Sprint’s prepaid service, which also includes the Boost Mobile brand, has been its lone area of growth as contract customers have fled.
Virgin Mobile would presumably price their iPhone 4S plans using their Beyond Talk rates, which include unlimited texting and data, and start at $35 a month for 300 Anytime minutes, $45 a month for 1200 anytime minutes, and $55 a month for unlimited minutes. They would also presumably follow Cricket’s lead by offering the iPhone 4 for a mostly unsubsidized price of $399, and the iPhone 4S for $499.
As we’ve already shown, however, even paying more for the iPhone up front, the average prepaid customer can expect to save more than $500 on their iPhone plan over the course of two years compared to a Verizon, AT&T or Sprint customer. That’s a savings everyone should take seriously.