Prepaid iPhone Plans Coming Soon from Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel announced Thursday that it will offer Apple’s iPhone 4S beginning June 29 on a contract-free, pay-as-you-go plan.

For $649, Sprint’s Virgin Mobile USA unit will sell you a new, 16GB iPhone 4S, available from such retailers as RadioShack and BestBuy as well as from Virgin’s Web site. Virgin will also offer a contract-free 8GB model of the older iPhone 4 for $549.

Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T sell the 16GB iPhone 4S for $200—as long as you commit to a new two-year contract. Of these, Sprint is currently the only carrier to offer the iPhone with a $100 monthly plan featuring unlimited voice, data, and messaging.

Virgin Mobile prepaid plans start at $30 monthly (a $5 discount for those who sign up for automatic monthly payments). The $30 plan includes unlimited data and messaging and 300 voice minutes. However, there’s a catch: if you use more than 2.5GB per month of data, Virgin Mobile will slow your connection speed until the next billing cycle kicks in.

Sprint isn’t alone in offering prepaid iPhone plans. Just last week, Leap Wireless International said it would sell iPhones on its Cricket Wireless network. A 16GB iPhone 4S goes for $500 and the 8GB iPhone 4 is $400. Cricket’s unlimited voice, text, and data plan is $55 a month, with a 2.3GB threshold (after which your data speed will be slowed).

Also, AT&T and Verizon sell contract-free iPhones at the same prices as Virgin Mobile. AT&T’s least expensive plan is $60 for 450 voice minutes, 300MB of data, and 20 cents per text (or $20 for unlimited messages). Verizon Wireless’s lowest-cost plan is $70 for 450 phone minutes, 2GB of data, and 20 cents per message ($10 for 1,000 texts).


iPhone, prepaid mobile phones