Virgin Mobile USA Gets iPhone: Why it is Important

By Gary Kim June 26, 2012
Something important is shaping up in the mobile device arena, Virgin Mobile USA announced it will offer the iPhone to its prepaid customers beginning Friday, June 29, 2012, becoming the second “prepaid” mobile services provider to have that privilege, as Leap Wireless will also sell the Apple iPhone.

Virgin Mobile USA will offer the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S with its "Beyond Talk" unlimited data and messaging plans as low as $30 per month on the Sprint Nationwide Network.

Here's why the move is important. Up to this point, the "prepaid" mobile service providers have been unable to sell the Apple iPhone, with some obvious implications for customer attraction and retention. Since Virgin and Leap Wireless now sell the iPhone, some of that disadvantage is removed. In other words, the “prepaid” carriers will now be able to better compete with the tier-one providers. 

To be sure, consumers at Virgin Mobile USA and MetroPCS will have to pay full retail for their devices, but as some will note, at $50 a month, a consumer sort of "breaks even" after six months of service, says Troy Brown, founder of one50one, a digital marketing firm. 

Virtually, all global mobile carriers would prefer to be in that situation, and we might now get a true test of consumer willingness to pay full retail for their coveted devices.The iPhone will be available without a contract and with no fees for activation or roaming. New and existing customers can purchase the iPhone at, RadioShack, Best Buy and select local retailers.

As it turns out, the “prepaid” service providers might provide the best marketplace test of U.S. consumer willingness to pay full retail for their handsets, in exchange for service without a contract.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing Editor

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