updated 04:21 pm EDT, Thu June 28, 2012
iPhone pre-orders believed to be doing 'very well'
Virgin Mobile US is opening its first-ever retail stores in Chicago tomorrow in support of its iPhone launch, Bloomberg reports. The carrier is starting with just 10 locations, but says it plans to open more around the country should the initial venture prove successful. Typically Virgin has relied on third-party vendors like Best Buy to sell phones and service to people not ordering through its website.
Dan Hesse -- the CEO of Virgin US' parent company, Sprint -- states that the iPhone will "do very well on Virgin" based on pre-orders. The carrier is just the second in the US to get access to prepaid iPhones, following Cricket Wireless. While prepaid options have been available outside the US for some time, Apple has been hesitant to sign deals in its home country.
Virgin is charging $550 for an 8GB iPhone 4, and $650 for a 16GB iPhone 4S. The tradeoff for high initial costs is freedom from contracts, and access to much cheaper phone plans, costing as little as $35 a month despite including unlimited data and texting. Data is throttled over a 2.5GB monthly threshold.