Apple's iPhone coming to Virgin Mobile with $30/mo. plans June 29

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Virgin Mobile USA announced on Thursday that it will offer Apple's iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 beginning Friday, June 29, with contract-free plans as low as $30 per month.

Customers will be able to purchase the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for $649, matching the price of a contract-free handset purchased through the Apple Store or AT&T. That's different from regional wireless carrier Leap, which announced late last month that it would sell a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for $500, meaning the carrier is subsidizing the price by about $150.

While customers who buy the iPhone through Virgin Mobile USA will pay a higher upfront premium, they could also see considerable savings on their plans. The carrier offers customers a $5-per-month discount when they register for automatic monthly payments, which results in a basic plan with "unlimited" data and text messaging and 300 voice minutes for $30.

Users can upgrade to 1,200 voice minutes for $40 per month, or obtain unlimited minutes for $50 per month. Though data is advertised as "unlimited," all plans include 2.5 gigabytes per month of full-speed data, and any overages can be throttled.

Virgin Mobile USA will also offer Apple's previous-generation iPhone 4 for $549 in the 8 gigabyte capacity. The contract-free phones will be available at Virgin Mobile's website, RadioShack, Best Buy, and select local retailers.

"This month marks Virgin Mobile USA?s tenth birthday," said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group. "And what better way to thank our fans for ten years of loyalty than by giving them exactly what they want: the perfect plan for the perfect phone. That is the essence of 'A Higher Calling.'"

iPhone 4S


Word first surfaced on Tuesday that Virgin Mobile USA would become the second American carrier to offer Apple's iPhone without a service contract. However, the launch date and exact pricing were not known until the official announcement was made Thursday by Virgin Mobile.

Virgin's voice and data service relies on Sprint's "Nationwide Network." The sale of iPhones through Sprint's Virgin mobile could go toward the $15.5 billion in iPhones sprint had pledged to sell over a four-year span in a deal with Apple.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    So unlike Leap, Virgin iPhone will be unlocked thus the full $649 price?
  • Reply 2 of 36
    rumpelsrumpels Posts: 20member
    Wow, what a leap forward Virgin Mobile. You do the same as AT&T and Verizon, but with a different color. So dumb. What encourages me to want to change from one of those carriers to you? Absolutely nothing.
  • Reply 3 of 36
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post



    So unlike Leap, Virgin iPhone will be unlocked thus the full $649 price?


    Virgin is a CDMA provider.  I don't know if CDMA providers offer unlocked iPhones or not.  I think their biggest draw is the fact that they don't mandate contracts.  However I am willing to be that there will be sticker shock for a lot of buyers.  

  • Reply 4 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,616member


    I don't see it with a lot of market potential at Virgin Mobile. That's not the type client they normally attract is it, with bargain hunters more the norm IMO. I completely understand why Sprint would make the iPhone available at Virgin tho. They're committed to taking a whole lot of iPhones so why not use every outlet you have to turn them over?

  • Reply 5 of 36
    bmxing85bmxing85 Posts: 11member


    Has anyone else thought of switching their voice plan with a ipad Data plan for their Iphone? I mean $30 mo and you can make call with various VoIP apps.


     


    Going back to the offering from Virgin, This is great for off of contract customers but as mentioned before doubt people are willing to sling $650 upfront. 


     


    I really hope these smaller companies take stabs at ATT And Verizon, These guys are getting way too greedy

  • Reply 6 of 36
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rumpels View Post



    Wow, what a leap forward Virgin Mobile. You do the same as AT&T and Verizon, but with a different color. So dumb. What encourages me to want to change from one of those carriers to you? Absolutely nothing.


    What? Not being forced into a two-year contract. Not being forced to pay an EFT if  you cancel your service. If I cancelled my AT&T service right now I would have to sell my phone to cover the cost of the EFT. If I were using Virgin Mobile's iPhone I could either keep the phone (expensive iPod touch), reestablish service later or sell the phone. 


     


    No matter the carrier, I would rather pay for the phone upfront and then pay less per month since I am not subsidizing the phone. On carriers with a contract does your bill drop in price after your 2-year contract is up? No. This alone makes the Virgin Mobile (and others) a better deal in the long run.

  • Reply 7 of 36


    Will they lock the GSM internationally?


    I'm attending a US university in Fall and I want to buy an iPhone 4S. Here we use GSM and I have a cellphone plan with a local provider.


    Where I stay in the US I only get Verizon or CDMA coverage (Bushkill PA). So I want to buy a phone from a CDMA provider in the US, that is GSM unlocked (at least internationally). 

  • Reply 8 of 36
    amador_oamador_o Posts: 67member


    I have VM right now and I'll say the network sucks. I don't know if the VM phones are set to a lower priority on towers, if that's even possible, but three different phones on VM network have all sucked for me. I don't mind enough to switch cause of the low monthly payment.  I do think VM phones already cost too much, not because the phones are terrible, but because VM network doesn't allow you to take advantage of them. Paying full price for an iPhone to not work due to signal is going to piss a lot of people off.  I'll probably be one of those people...

     

  • Reply 9 of 36
    lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by amador_o View Post


    I have VM right now and I'll say the network sucks. I don't know if the VM phones are set to a lower priority on towers, if that's even possible, but three different phones on VM network have all sucked for me. I don't mind enough to switch cause of the low monthly payment.  I do think VM phones already cost too much, not because the phones are terrible, but because VM network doesn't allow you to take advantage of them. Paying full price for an iPhone to not work due to signal is going to piss a lot of people off.  I'll probably be one of those people...

     



    If that is the case, avoid Hulk syndrome and don't buy the phone.

  • Reply 10 of 36
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by amador_o View Post

    I have VM right now and I'll say the network sucks. Paying full price for an iPhone to not work due to signal is going to piss a lot of people off.  I'll probably be one of those people...


     


    I'd like your location for reference, if that's not too much trouble. Just want to weigh my options.

  • Reply 11 of 36
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post



    So unlike Leap, Virgin iPhone will be unlocked thus the full $649 price?


     


    Yes and no. CDMA is not really every unlocked because of the way that they id the phones. It's not a universal coding system like the IMEI for GSM phones. so that part is NOT unlocked or unlockable by nature, outside of the possibility that it can be switched to Sprint since Virgin is just renting service off them. 


     


    It's a 4s so it has a sim for global roaming and that part should be unlocked. But that is not confirmed at this point so I'd verify that before buying. 

  • Reply 12 of 36
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,797member


    Sprint makes it very easy to unlock your iPhone. You just call them up and a few minutes later connect to iTunes, and boom it is unlocked. Sprint owns Virgin Mobile so I imagine it will be just as easy. I also think it will be easy for Virgin Mobile customers to buy a used Sprint iPhone and use it on Virgin. You can already do that with Android phones. I imagine you will see a lot of Sprint iPhone 4 and 4S models available on Ebay and Craigslist in a few months when the 2012 iPhone is released. So Virgin might be an even better deal if you can get a used 4S. My iPhone is in pristine condition since it has been in a case since day one and has never been dropped or scratched. 

  • Reply 13 of 36
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rumpels View Post



    Wow, what a leap forward Virgin Mobile. You do the same as AT&T and Verizon, but with a different color. So dumb. What encourages me to want to change from one of those carriers to you? Absolutely nothing.


     


    So you are dissing them because like the other boys they won't give you unlimited data amounts at full speed. Because that's the only thing they are doing the same. 


     


    You get a locked iPhone on ATT and you pay at least 39.99 for voice and $20 for data on a tier of only 300MB with no texting plan. With a two year contract and up to $450 ETF if you break it, including wanting it unlocked. If you buy it unlocked you lose the contract and the ETF but the rates are the same. No cut back because they aren't paying any part of the device for you. 


     




    Sprint and Verizon similar deals in terms of rates or no discount for buying full price. 


     


    Virgin you buy full price and you pay for your service and nothing else. And a lot less in some respects. Sure your data is throttled but that is universal and for most folks 2.5 GB of cell data is plenty because they aren't planning to tether their computers and torrent 200 GB of stuff every month on cell data because the plan says "unlimited". Even if you don't count the auto payment discount you are paying less with Virgin than ATT's voice plan. Comparable plan with ATT would be 39.99+$30 (for 3gb of data) + $20. yes you are losing 450 voice minutes but these days many folks barely call anymore. It's email and texting. So not really an issue and even if you go up to the heavy voice plan that's still $50 a month, big discount over ATT etc. 


     


    So where exactly is the dumb from the carriers. 

  • Reply 14 of 36
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bmxing85 View Post


    Has anyone else thought of switching their voice plan with a ipad Data plan for their Iphone? I mean $30 mo and you can make call with various VoIP apps.



     


    That would conceivably only work with ATT service and might not work for long as they apparently scan their network to check that ICCIDs and IMEIs match up in terms of the type of device the ICCID was activated with and the type it is being used with. And if they catch you then they can charge you for the correct service since you gave them permission when you signed the terms of service. That rumor is probably most true if you have a grandfathered unlimited plan since they really want to get rid of the last of those

  • Reply 15 of 36
    backdocbackdoc Posts: 18member


    Yep.  And, the savings are pretty big!  I have 3 iPhones.  Roughly, if I were to switch from Verizon to Virgin Mobile, I would save $2133 in 2 years and $3027 in 3 years.  Basically, the break even month is 18.  Every month after (and including) the 18th month, I would be saving approximately $110/mo ($1320/yr).


     


    Also, Verizon hates their customers.  So, I'd be glad to switch if they have decent coverage.


     


    Here's how I worked up the numbers:


     





















































































    Monthly Verizon Fee

    200

    Monthly Virgin Mobile Fee

    90

    Amount /mo Paying for Hardware

    110

     

     

     

     

    3 iphones at $649

    1947

    Months to break even

    17.7

     

     

     

     

    Total Verizon 24 months

    4800

    Total Virgin Mobile 24 months

    2667

     

     

    Savings after 24 months

    2133

     

     

     

     

    Total Verizon 36 months

    7200

    Total Virgin Mobile 36 months

    3027

     

     

    Savings after 48 months

    4173
  • Reply 16 of 36
    cm1ecm1e Posts: 6member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by amador_o View Post


    I have VM right now and I'll say the network sucks. I don't know if the VM phones are set to a lower priority on towers, if that's even possible, but three different phones on VM network have all sucked for me. I don't mind enough to switch cause of the low monthly payment.  I do think VM phones already cost too much, not because the phones are terrible, but because VM network doesn't allow you to take advantage of them. Paying full price for an iPhone to not work due to signal is going to piss a lot of people off.  I'll probably be one of those people...

     



    Yes, you are definitely kicked off a tower before a Sprint customer would be.

  • Reply 17 of 36


    To me, this sounds like a great deal. I HATE paying AT&T $109.44 for my iPhone plan. To pay Virgin $30 a month results in a savings of $79.44 each month. At that rate I'll pay for the iPhone's $649 price tag in just over 8 months. My usage easily falls within the Virgin plan limits indicated.

     

  • Reply 18 of 36
    cm1ecm1e Posts: 6member


    I come from working at Best Buy Mobile and based on the customers I had purchasing Virgin Mobile (or any pre-paid device for that matter) would absolutely cringe at the idea of paying $650 for a phone. 



    Also, in my area the iPhone connectivity speeds were typically god awful on Sprint. I'm not sure if it's just an anomaly, but despite many customers floating in the "ignorance is bliss" category, they all were usually aware of this. 

  • Reply 19 of 36
    amador_oamador_o Posts: 67member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    I'd like your location for reference, if that's not too much trouble. Just want to weigh my options.



     


    Downtown Chicago, where signal is the worst... and West Suburbs of Chicago (Elmhurst).

  • Reply 20 of 36
    focherfocher Posts: 640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by davidness View Post


    To me, this sounds like a great deal. I HATE paying AT&T $109.44 for my iPhone plan. To pay Virgin $30 a month results in a savings of $79.44 each month. At that rate I'll pay for the iPhone's $649 price tag in just over 8 months. My usage easily falls within the Virgin plan limits indicated.

     



    You should just switch to Straight Talk. It's an MVNO for AT&T (similar to what Virgin Mobile is to Sprint - except Sprint owns VM but AT&T doesn't own Straight Talk). You can use an AT&T locked phone with Straight Talk. It's $45/mo for unlimited voice and text, plus the 2-3GB data (which they call "unlimited"). The only thing you give up is Visual Voicemail, the tethering option, and the option to roam internationally. In all other ways, you are on the AT&T network and get the same coverage and quality.


     


    I should point out that, from a pure total cost perspective it makes no sense to ever buy a locked phone. When you incorporate the resale value, it's always cheaper to just buy the phone upfront and not get yourself into a long term contract. Maybe it's a cash flow decision for people who don't want to shell out the money upfront, but from a total cost of ownership you always pay more for a subsidized phone.

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