Ina Fried

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Virgin Mobile to Sell iPhone Starting June 29; Rate Plans Start at $30 a Month

Virgin Mobile announced its iPhone plans on Thursday, saying it will start offering Apple’s phone on June 29, with rates as low as $30 a month.

While the monthly rates are the lowest around, customers will be paying full price for the phones. A 16 gigabyte iPhone 4S will sell for $649; an 8GB iPhone 4 is being offered for $549.

Virgin, a unit of Sprint, is the second prepaid carrier in the U.S. to land the iPhone, following Leap Wireless.

“This month marks Virgin Mobile USA’s tenth birthday,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said in a statement. “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.”

Virgin’s rate plans range from $35 to $55 a month, with a $5 discount on top of those rates for those who sign up for automatic monthly payments. The low-end plan includes 300 minutes of calling, along with unlimited texting and 2.5GB of high-speed data. A midrange plan offers 1,200 minutes of calling and the same text and data options, while the top-of-the-line plan includes unlimited calling.

For an extra $15 a month, customers can also use their iPhone as a hotspot. That price includes an extra gigabyte of high-speed data.

Leap, which sells service under the Cricket brand, is partially subsidizing its iPhones and charging $55 a month.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus