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Virgin Mobile USA announces iphone available on June 29


marioc21
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On the plus side, Sprint can afford to offer cheap rate plans on the VMo iPhone because

 

1. They aren't subsidizing the phone. At all. Probably making money on it, in fact.

2. They don't have to pay anyone for roaming charges, since VMo phones don't roam.

 

So they're willing to offer a $30 plan of some sort (which has a reasonable amount of minutes if you mostly use messaging/data), and have unlimited available for $50, $5 more than T-Mobile or AT&T unlimited via Straight Talk. The plus of Virgin Mobile here is that you don't have to find an Apple store and order the SIM-only kit to get your prepaid iPhone; it's all sold in one (well, many...Sprint stores everywhere) place.

 

The plus against CricKet? More coverage, a slightly cheaper, slightly more generous-with-data-before-throttling unlimited plan, and a 1200-minute plan that's a full $15 per month less expensive than CricKet's only iPhone plan. If you only talk around a thousand minutes per month (which is way above where I sit on my Sprint account, even counting every single minute), the $40 plan plus the non-subsidized iPhone would end up saving you money vs. CricKet after month 10 or so.

 

Heck, if you don't mind not being able to roam, you could compare the 1200 minute plan to Sprint's 450-minute Everything Data plan. Total cost: $80 per month. Despite a steep $450 subsidy on the device, you'd come out ahead on Virgin Mobile after 12 months, assuming again that you're averaging 40 minutes or fewer on the phone each day, and use less than 2.5GB of data in a month.

 

I bet Sprint sells more of these phones than they think they will...

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It'll be nice if VM offered some type of add-on that extended the un-throttled limit. Something like $5 or $10 to move that limit up to 5GB.

 

Overall, the pricing of the plan is great. The phone's cost itself isn't, but it's un-subsidized, so Sprint should be able to let VM keep it's Beyond Talk pricing w/o any problems.

 

I do wonder if they'll ever consider putting new phones on VM the same time that it's launches on Sprint. If a 6th-gen iPhone can be launched simultaneously on both postpaid & prepaid. Two separate markets, separate pricing, and more money in their pocket.

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VM only throttles you to 250kbps once you reach your 2.5gb limit, which is actually pretty usable compared to tmobile 60kbps and atts .10ishMbps.

 

I would not complain of they did add a tier system, so you could get more data before the throttling.

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Depends on where you are. My mom keeps a Tracfone active in case she runs out of minutes or needs to roam on Virgin Mobile...$7 or so per month and solves the roaming issue completely. All that said, I've roamed very, very little in the ~5 years I've used Sprint (it's all about where you live).

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I'm surprised at the pricing. I didn't expect it to be available on a $30/month plan. I hope Sprint has enough band-aids for its 3G network until Network Vision is widespread.

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Interesting...they'll be allowing Mobile Hotspot for not-too-much-extra per month. if the data allotment is addtive with the standard 2.5GB, then you could get 6GB of data, plus 300 minutes, for $45, less than the cost of a 6GB Sprint mobile broadband package (albeit with no chance of ever using 4G).

 

Sad to see that the iPhone won't show up in Sprint stores, nor will it be usable internationally (despite the HSPA radio inside the 4S).

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Interesting...they'll be allowing Mobile Hotspot for not-too-much-extra per month. if the data allotment is addtive with the standard 2.5GB, then you could get 6GB of data, plus 300 minutes, for $45, less than the cost of a 6GB Sprint mobile broadband package (albeit with no chance of ever using 4G).

 

Sad to see that the iPhone won't show up in Sprint stores, nor will it be usable internationally (despite the HSPA radio inside the 4S).

 

Is the Sprint version international roaming capable?

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Is the Sprint version international roaming capable?

Both work internationally, but the Virgin Mobile one will need you to pay the outrageous international roaming fees they charge, while the Sprint one can be unlocked( I believe the first batch of sprint iphones came unlocked by default), so you can just pop in a sim from another country.

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I don't understand why unlocking VM's 4S isn't a option. It isn't even being remotely subsidized.

 

It may not be an option from Sprint. But I don't think there's anything stopping you from unlocking it yourself.

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I don't understand why unlocking VM's 4S isn't a option. It isn't even being remotely subsidized.

 

Once the iPhone 4S is activated on VM, the baseband locks down all the GSM radios making it impossible to use it anywhere but Sprint's native network. Just like the domestic GSM radios are blocked when the 4S is activated on Sprint or Verizon. It's really stupid that they do that too. I just hope that the jailbreakers figure out how to break thru the baseband so they can unlock all the radios, and then the phone could be used on any GSM carrier worldwide.

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