(The Hosting News) – While most recent speculation regarding the iPhone may concern what the actual next generation version of smartphone will look like and feature, the popular mobile device is quietly undergoing a revolution in another area: prepaid availability.
Last Thursday, Virgin Mobile USA (operating as a subsidiary of Sprint Nextel) was the latest mobile carrier to announce prepaid options for the iPhone 4 and 4S with three plans ranging in price between $30 and $50 dollars. And it’s not the only carrier to pull such a move, it was simply following suit.
Leap Wireless subsidiary Cricket Communications in May unveiled its prepaid iPhone plan for just $55 dollars a month. At the time, Leap Wireless CEO Doug Hutcheson stated, “Our customers want the best products available and we are excited to bring iPhone to our pre-paid consumers with an industry leading $55 per-month service plan.”
Meanwhile, Boost Mobile could be in the mix as well. According to a May report from TechnoBuffalo, the company is looking at a September release.
While unlimited prepaid plans with competitive pricing could attract new customers, there is a catch: upfront pricing for the actual devices through prepaid carriers is quite hefty compared to two year contract providers like AT&T and Verizon. For example, signing up for prepaid from Virgin costs the consumer $649 dollars for the actual 16GB iPhone 4S. Compared to that, the same device is just $199 dollars through competitor Verizon with a contract agreement.
So is the consumer initially willing to fork over big bucks to avoid committing to a hefty contract just to have an iPhone? That remains to be seen.