Virgin Mobile will be the first iPhone-only carrier

Virgin Mobile is going all in on the iPhone.
Image: lili sams/mashable

Virgin Mobile USA has taken iPhone fever to the next level.

Sir Richard Branson broke the news that Virgin Mobile will become the first iPhone-only mobile carrier as part of a new deal with Apple. Virgin’s services will be available for purchase in Apple Stores, and the carrier’s online store will offer new and “pre-loved” iPhones at significantly lower prices than you’ll find elsewhere.

The new iPhone-only network is hitting the market with a bold promotion: the new Inner Circle plan will offer those who buy an iPhone from Apple or Virgin six months of unlimited everything talk, text, and data for $1. Enrollees who pull the trigger between the plan’s launch on June 27 and July 31 will get an entire year of unlimited service for the same price.

By making the shift to iPhone-only service, Virgin is clearly counting on Apple’s popularity, abandoning Android devices entirely. Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller called the deal “competitive and compelling,” in the press release but he definitely wasn’t talking about Apple’s end of the bargain.

Outside of the cheap wireless coverage, the biggest news here is the cheap iPhone prices from Virgin. The carrier will sell the SE starting at $279 for the 32GB version, a steep discount from Apple’s $399 cost.

Virgin Mobile’s network will start to “deprioritize” service after you use 23GB of data in a month, so like other “unlimited” plans, it’s limitless in name only. Streaming video is capped at 480p, and music at 500 kilobits per second.

To sweeten the deal even more, Inner Circle members will have access to a slew of perks from other Virgin brands, including a round-trip companion ticket (read: buy one-get-one) to the UK from Virgin Atlanticand a free one night stay in a Virgin Hotel (after paying for two nights, that is). If you’re looking for some modest perks for your upcoming UK excursion, this is apparently the plan for you.

The $1 six-month Inner Circle promotion ends after Sept. 30. The plan will cost $50 a month for unlimited service after the bonkers promotional period.

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