updated 10:21 pm EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Units are still locked to Virgin Mobile, cannot be legally unlocked
Sprint subsidiary Virgin Mobile, which sells CDMA iPhone models without an obligation to a monthly contract, is running a sale on both the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, with the 16GB 5c starting at $315, with the 32GB at $385. The iPhone 5s is available for $385 (16GB), $455 (32GB) or $525 (64GB). There is a catch to the offer: the iPhones are all locked to Virgin Mobile, and the carrier doesn't unlock the phones. Under current US law, it is illegal to unlock a carrier-locked smartphone without the company's blessing.
This makes the phones extremely difficult to resell or use elsewhere, but buyers enjoy the advantage of very low-priced monthly plans, which start at $30 per month and all feature unlimited data. Over the course of a typical iPhone active lifespan (a two year "contract" period), users could save more than $1,000 compared to a traditional contract-and-iPhone-plan obligation with unlimited data. No end date for the sale has been revealed, but a "free delivery" option suggests the promotion may disappear after March 28.