Virgin Mobile, which buys its cell phone access from Sprint, has announced new iPhone plans that start at $30 a month. the plan requires you to buy the 16GB iPhone 4S from Virgin for $650, or an 8 GB iPhone 4 for $550. The plan starts June 19.
For $30, you get 300 voice minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited data access. "Unlimited" data means your download speed slows down after 2.5GB. Upgrade to 1200 minute for $40 a month, or unlimited voice minutes for $50 a month. These prices include a $5 discount for signing up for an automatic credit card payment plan.
All Virgin Mobile plans are month-to-month, no long-term commitment. You can cancel anytime.
Compare the Virgin Mobile plan with AT&T's base iPhone plan, which requires a 2 year commitment.
Virgin ($650 for phone)+ ($30 * 24 months) = $1370
ATT. ($200 for phone ) + ($90 * 24 months) = $2360
Now for the bad news. Sprint's data service for the iPhone is CDMA, meaning it's quite slow compared to faster HSPA and LTE data services from other carriers.
If you're looking for faster data service, Virgin Mobile offers the HTC Evo V Android phone for $300. The Evo V has a radio that works with WiMax, which Sprint advertises as 4G. I've used WiMax, and it can be pretty fast. Buyer beware, however, because Sprint is planning to phase out WiMax in favor of LTE. Sprint (and its subsidiary Virgin Mobile) will sell WiMax phones for the next year or so.