Virgin Mobile to start offering iPhone 5

As with the release of the iPhone 4 and 4S, Virgin follows Cricket—which has been offering the iPhone 5 since September—in offering the latest-generation iPhone to the prepaid wireless market. Like Cricket, Virgin Mobile offers the phone without the subsidies that Apple offers through the major carriers like AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.

That means Virgin will sell the 16GB iPhone 5 for $550 apiece, before taxes. The 32GB and 64GB versions will be available for $650 and $750, respectively. All the models will be available in black or white, and for sale at Virgin Mobile’s website. The 16GB model will additionally be available for sale at Radio Shack, if you want to buy your new Virgin phone from a bricks-and-mortar store.

Virgin offers 300 “anytime” minutes for $35 a month, 1200 minutes for $45 a month, and unlimited talk for $55 a month. (Users can save $5 a month if they sign up to make automatic monthly payments using a deit card, credit card, or PayPal account.) All the plans include unlimited data, though Virgin says that only the first 2.5GB of data per month are available at “3G/4G full speed.”

As far as coverage goes, Virgin Mobile uses Sprint’s network in the U.S., so nationwide access is available, but it tends to be somewhat spotty in many non-urban areas.

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