Sprint to Possibly Offer Prepaid iPhone Plans for Virgin Mobile Customers

Cricket recently announced that it was beginning to offer the iPhone to its prepaid customers for a slightly more expensive price than the subsidized prices currently offered by major U.S. carrier – this announcement seems to have started an avalanche among prepaid carriers, as Sprint’s prepaid carrier, Virgin Mobile, is expected to offer such plans on the heels of Cricket.

According to MarketWatch, Sprint will be announcing support for Virgin Mobile to customers later this week, starting as soon as July 1st.

The Overland Park, Kan., carrier will announce this week it will offer the popular smartphone on its Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go brand starting as soon as July 1, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. Sprint follows Leap Wireless International Inc. in selling the device with prepaid service.

By offering the iPhone, Sprint may help satisfy its commitment to Apple to buy $15.5 billion of the phones over four years, an aggressive bet as more carriers are getting access to the once-exclusive device. Sprint’s prepaid service, which also includes the Boost Mobile brand, has been its lone area of growth as contract customers have fled.

Virgin Mobile would presumably carry over their existing plans with unlimited data and texting a given. Plans would start at $35 a month for 300 anytime minutes and would extend to $45 a month for 1200 anytime minutes, and $55 a month for unlimited minutes – the last of which would be able to compete on a similar level with Cricket’s $55 per month offering.

Even though such regional, prepaid carriers come along with their own gripes, CultofMac showed us that paying more up front for a carrier without locking into a two-year contract can save the customer a minimum of $500.