Monday, June 11, 2012

iPhone 4S on Virgin Mobile June 29, 2012

Yep, it's official.  Got the email from Virgin Mobile about 20 minutes ago.

Not sure why the Virgin Mobile website is willing to say only that the iPhone is "coming soon", but the email says it'll be available starting June 29.  See the screen cap above, where the date appears in the fine print.

No word on what the upfront cost will be, but PC World has already assembled a chart showing the total cost of ownership for 2 years and it looks like Virgin Mobile comes out on top despite your obligation to fork over $649 for the iPhone itself.  Yowza!

Related question: is that retail iPhone unlocked?  Should a Virgin Mobile subscriber discover that her Sprint-run CDMA network is -- as the kids say -- a fail, would it be possible to take the phone to, say, Verizon's CDMA network instead?  Those CDMA phones have no SIM cards, so if Virgin Mobile is baked into the firmware that would likely be a no.

Indeed, I just checked to see what a brand new unlocked 16GB iPhone costs on the Apple store and, by golly, it's $649.  Moreover, it comes with this caveat from Apple:
The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint [or, my 2 cents, Virgin Mobile].
Lastly, if you're willing to join Auto Pay -- which allows Virgin Mobile to bill your credit or charge card automatically -- you can save 5 bucks a month and pay as little as $30 a month (though, yes, you'll also be charged sales tax on top of that) for the usual 300 voice minutes and unlimited (as in 2.5GB) text, email, and web data.

Virgin lets you sign up for email updates, though I'm not sure what they'd be updating you about ... unless that June 29 arrival date is tentative.  (Possibly they'll alert you when you're eligible to preorder?)

Ah, Virgin Mobile.  Your diabolically clever marketers specialize in Faustian bargains like these.