Virgin Mobile's iPhone goes on sale

Posted by Mark Raby

The iPhone is now available through yet another mobile carrier.

This time it's Virgin Mobile, one of the most recognized names in prepaid mobile service.

The company is offering the iPhone and the iPhone 4S with unlimited data for $35 per month, no contract required.

The problem with the concept of an iPhone without a service contract is that carriers like Virgin Mobile appeal to customers with bad credit and not a lot of money.

Nevertheless, people were lining up outside Cricket stores before they opened to be the first to get their hands on the device earlier this month. Cricket became the first prepaid service provider to offer the Apple phone.

So because customers also don't qualify for the massive subsidies that tend to drop the upfront price down to as low as $200.

For those with an inability or lack of desire to get a traditional carrier contract, the 16 GB iPhone 4S costs $650 out of pocket. The 8 GB one from Virgin Mobile will "only" set you back a cool $550. The plan is $55 per month for unlimited calling and teting.

Users can consume as much data as they want, but after hitting a limiting 2.5 GB, speeds will start to markedly slow down. Of course this is a huge deal for Apple, but the real winner here is Virgin Mobile.

The number of iPhone customers won't swell too much on a comparative basis, but Virgin Mobile's user base is bound to skyrocket. The iPhone just continues to add new carrier partners.

This idea of phones being carrier agnostic may be an interesting new trend. Samsung is trying a similar strategy with the Galaxy S III.