Starting June 24th, Virgin Mobile will be offering prepaid plans for the iPhone, using Sprint’s network. The downside: these plans are prepaid and not on contract, meaning the iPhone is not subsidized and you have to pay the full price of 650$ for it. The upside: their plans are much cheaper than AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint; Cult of Mac figured out that even with the crazy expensive phone, you can still save a grand over the life of a two-year contract with the mainstream carriers. A Verizon iPhone with unlimited texting, 2GB of data, and 450 minutes of voice will run you almost 2400$ over the two years; a Virgin Mobile iPhone with unlimited texting, unlimited data and 300 minutes of voice will run under 1400$. If you upgrade to 1200 minutes of voice, it’ll be just over 1600$ — still 800$ cheaper than Verizon. (AT&T’s prices are comparable to Verizon, while Sprint is 200$ cheaper.)
With the extra money, you can buy yourself an iPad. So save that 650$ and buy the phone upfront instead of getting skewered by a contract just to get the phone subsidized. Oh, and Get Rich Slowly figured out something similar last year, when they discovered secret phone plans.