As expected, prepaid wireless carrier Virgin Mobile will begin offering Apple’s iPhone at the end of the month. But unexpectedly, Virgin will offer a plan for the device starting at an unheard-of $30 per month.

“This month marks Virgin Mobile USA’s tenth birthday,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, in a statement. “And what better way to thank our fans for ten years of loyalty than by giving them exactly what they want: the perfect plan for the perfect phone.”

Sprint-owned Virgin Mobile will become the second prepaid carrier to get the iPhone after Cricket Wireless. Cricket will start offering its prepaid iPhone on June 22, while Virgin will begin selling it on June 29. But Cricket’s starting plan runs $55 a month, while Virgin’s plans range from $35 to $55 a month, with a $5 discount if you use automatic monthly payments.

The ultra-cheap $35-a-month plan (which is $30/month with automated payments) will give you 300 minutes, unlimited texting, and 2.5GB of data. Take a look at the plan structures below:


To get such a cheap plan — and this is the downside of prepaid phones in general — you have to pay full-price for the phone you want. The iPhone is quite expensive in this regard: A 16GB iPhone 4S will sell for $649, while an 8GB iPhone 4 will run $549. (Big carriers normally subsidize the phone cost to get you on their expensive monthly plans.)

If you have the money to pay upfront for the iPhone and Virgin’s coverage is good in your area, you should do it. As Cult of Mac has nicely outlined, the initial money you pay upfront pays for itself quickly. If you decided to get an iPhone 4S and use Virgin’s $30/month plan for two years (the life of a standard wireless contract), you would spend about $1370. That would save you more than $1000 over the course of 2 years versus AT&T and Verizon’s cheapest individual plans. That’s quite startling and a good reason to consider going prepaid.

Photo credit: Apple

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