Sprint will be the second U.S. phone company to offer the Apple iPhone on a prepaid basis. Sprint will announce this week that Virgin Mobile will offer pay-as-you-go as soon as July 1st according to sources with The Wall Street Journal. Leap Wireless was the first company to offer the iPhone on a prepaid basis.
Sprint made a $15.5 billion commitment to Apple to buy iPhones over the next 4 years. Sprint added $489,000 prepaid customers in the first quarter, but they lost 192,000 contract customers. They started offering the iPhone back in October and they have sold 3.3 million of the devices in the past 2 quarters.
Virgin Mobile getting the iPhone leaves T-Mobile USA at a major disadvantage. They will be the last out of the largest carriers to not have the device. T-Mobile USA Philipp Humm said that this is the major reason why they lost 1.7 million contract customers in the last year. Virgin Mobile uses Sprint’s network, which covers around 278 million people.
Leap will start selling the iPhone on June 22nd at a price of $499.99 for the 16GB iPhone 4S and $399.99 for the 8GB iPhone 4. Leap signed a 3 year deal with Apple where they agreed to spend $900 million on volume purchases. Virgin Mobile has prepaid plans that start at $35 per month and comes with unlimited data, but speeds will be throttled when they hit 2.5GB per month.
Leap will be charging $55 for unlimited talk, text, and data. Plans with most other companies cost $100 or more and users get locked into two year contracts. Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile for $480 million in 2009.