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.
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