By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 22, 2013 12:40 PM EDT
U.S. carrier Virgin Mobile will start selling the iPhone 5 on Friday, June 28, making the 16GB model available for $549.99 without a contract.
When it hits Virgin Mobile next week, the iPhone 5 will be compatible with the carrier's "Beyond Talk" plans. The pre-paid carrier offers unlimited 3G and 4G LTE data, as well as unlimited messages, for just $35 per month. Signing up for automatic payments will then reduce the monthly service cost to $30.
The 16GB iPhone 5 will be available in white or black versions online and at Virgin Mobile dealers and RadioShack. The 32GB and 64GB versions in black or white, meanwhile, will be available only online at Virgin Mobile's website starting next week, with $649.99 and $749.99 price tags, respectively.
A Beyond Talk plan with Sprint's subsidiary Virgin Mobile includes 2.5 gigabytes per month or full-speed data at 3G and 4G network speeds. Once users hit their maximum monthly limit, data will be throttled.
As previously mentioned, the plan costs $35 per month, but Virgin Mobile offers customers a discount of $5 per month if they agree to make automatic monthly payments with a credit/ debit card or PayPal account.
The $45 per month plan, meanwhile, will provide 1,200 anytime minutes. Unlimited calling goes up to $55 per month. The $5 per month discount applies to both of these plans as well, cutting the charges to $40 and $50, respectively, for automatic payments.
Virgin Mobile first started selling iPhones a year ago, in June 2012. With the addition of Apple's latest iPhone 5, Virgin follows T-Mobile USA, which started offering unlimited plans for the iPhone 5 back in April for an up-front payment. The iPhone 5 from T-Mobile costs $579, with $149 as an initial payment.
While many prefer to purchase subsidized devices in order to break down the costs, others try to avoid being locked into a contract with a specific carrier. Contract-free devices often require a significant investment, but those who can afford to shell out the full cost of the device up-front prefer doing so rather than spending the next two years committed to a contract. Pre-paid plans are becoming increasingly popular and all major carriers showed interest in offering such choices.
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