Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Virgin Mobile iPhone Deal May Help Sprint Meet Commitments, Customers Save Money

The arrival of the iPhone on Virgin Mobile could be a boon to both corporate parent Sprint as well as iPhone customers looking to save money over the life of the contract.

It’s a benefit to Sprint because it brings the most popular phone to its prepaid customers and because — as part of its deal to get the iPhone — Sprint has agreed to a hefty minimum purchase agreement with Apple.

Customers seeking a new iPhone could also save, even though they pay way more upfront. Virgin Mobile is charging $649 for the 16 gigabyte iPhone 4S, compared to $199 for the phone on Sprint’s main brand, AT&T or Verizon.

However, Virgin Mobile’s far cheaper monthly plans mean customers could pay as little as $30 a month, amounting to hundreds of dollars in savings over the life of a two-year contract. It could mean even more savings for customers who use their iPhone beyond two years.

For a full comparison, check out the handy chart that The Wall Street Journal put together.

That said, prepaid customers have tended to avoid such expensive upfront payments, so it will be interesting to see how the iPhone does with such a hefty front-end cost. Prepaid carrier Leap Wireless is also getting the iPhone, though it is opting to subsidize the cost a bit (though less than the traditional majors). Service on Leap’s Cricket brand starts at $55 a month.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik