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June 7, 2012
Virgin Mobile USA Inc. (NYSE: VM) beat out fellow Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) subsidiary Boost Mobile to become the second prepaid carrier to unveil plans to offer an unsubsidized iPhone 4 and 4S. (See Pre-Paid iPhone Parade: Can the Networks Cope?)
Virgin said Thursday that it will begin selling the iPhones on June 29, one week after regional operator Cricket Communications Inc. begins offering Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) smartphones. (See Cricket's iPhone Leap of Faith.)
Sprint's prepaid arm plans to undercut Cricket in data pricing, although it's asking a bit more for the unlocked device. The 16GB iPhone 4S will sell for US$649 and the 8GB iPhone 4 will cost $549. Both will have the option of a $30 per month unlimited data plan after a $5 discount for customers who register for automatic payments. Virgin customers will also have the option of turning the iPhone into a mobile hotspot for $15 more per month.
Why this matters
Boost Mobile was rumored to be the next prepaid carrier to get the iPhone, which means that it may not be far behind Virgin. This should ultimately be good news for Sprint, which will presumably get the next generation of Apple smartphones later this year. Sprint now has an unlimited iPhone, a low-cost prepaid iPhone and will get the Long Term Evolution (LTE) iPhone -- products that should appeal to all segments of its customer base, and give Sprint more options to help fulfill its $15.5 billion commitment to Apple.
Hesse: Sprint Not a Risk Despite Big Investments
Sprint Sees iPhone Subsidies as Necessary Evil
Sprint CEO 'Doesn't Know' Timing of 4G iPhone
Sprint Losses Mount on 4G Upgrades & iPhones
Sprint, the LTE iPhone & 4G Plans
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile
Director, Women in Comms
Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.
She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.
As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.
Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.
Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.
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