Why a prepaid iPhone is an amazing deal for bargain hunters

The Apple iPhone has finally come to the prepaid market in the U.S., but is it really worth paying full price for the device when you can get it cheaper from a carrier that is subsidizing the cost?

The short answer is "yes." In this edition of Ask Maggie I explain why even with a higher upfront cost, a prepaid iPhone is a better deal than buying a subsidized version of the same phone from AT&T or Verizon Wireless. And I lay out why prepaid is still cheaper even for people with discounted family plans.… Read more

Sprint confirms iPhone heading to Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile will be the next prepaid service to get the iPhone, Sprint Nextel confirmed today.

Virgin Mobile follows Leap Wireless, which last week said it was getting the iPhone for its Cricket prepaid service. Like Cricket, the Virgin Mobile version of the iPhone won't be cheap; the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S will cost $649, while the 8GB iPhone 4 will cost $549.

The appeal of a prepaid iPhone is the lack of a contract and lower monthly plan. Virgin Mobile will offer a $30 plan with 300 voice minutes, a $40 plan with 1,200 minutes, and a $50 … Read more

Virgin Mobile plans to offer prepaid iPhone

Cricket will soon have some competition in the prepaid iPhone market .

Sprint's Virgin Mobile plans to sell Apple's smartphone for use on a pay-as-you-go basis, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Sprint is expected to announce later this week that the prepaid carrier will offer the iPhone as early as July 1, sources tell the Journal.

Leap Wireless' Cricket announced last week that it would begin selling the iPhone on June 22 for use on its prepaid wireless service. No pricing details were discussed for Sprint's offering, but Cricket plans to sell the 16GB iPhone 4S … Read more

Wii U, Halo 4, and the expectations of E3

In today's show, we're stretching our thumbs, looking to Venus and pondering iPhone popularity:

It's time to gear up for the year's big video game conference, E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The coverage begins around 9 a.m. Pacific, noon Eastern when Microsoft holds its press event. Expect talk of Halo 4 and new entertainment features tied to Xbox Live.

Sony will be holding a press event late Monday evening, and Nintendo will be having one Tuesday to reveal more on the Wii U, right as the show floor opens.

Google will be holding an event … Read more

U.S. Cellular lays new prepaid plans on the table

U.S. Cellular is launching three new voice, text, and data plans today for a prepaid lineup that includes both Android smartphones and feature phones.

Both of the two new data plans include unlimited nationwide voice and messaging. Smartphone owners will get 2GB data for $65 per month, and feature phone users will get 1GB data for $50 per month. The third plan, which excludes data, offers 400 voice minutes, 400 text messages, and 400 picture messages for $35 a month.

Eligible Android smartphones include the Samsung Galaxy S II, Motorola Electrify, HTC Merge, Samsung Mesmerize, Huawei Ascend II, HTC Wildfire S, … Read more

iPhone makes the 'Leap' into the prepaid zone

We're dropping down from space, getting touchy with Windows 8 and leaping over a new iPhone carrier:

The iPhone has taken a leap into the prepaid, no-contract world. Beginning in late June, the prepaid carrier Leap Wireless will sell Apple's iPhone under the Cricket service. This makes it the first carrier to sell the iPhone without a contract. But don't expect the iPhone to come cheap. The 16 GB iPhone 4s will be priced at $500 dollars.

So that leaves T-Mobile in the corner, just tapping its foot waiting for its turn to dance with Apple. With … Read more

Has the iPhone lost its cool factor?

commentary Let's face it: the iPhone just isn't cool anymore.

It's sad, but true that there's a reverse correlation between availability and coolness. The harder it is to obtain something, the more highly coveted it is.

Apple's decision to offer the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 to prepaid wireless provider Cricket may have tipped the scales away from the cool end. With Cricket in the fold, the iPhone is virtually everywhere (T-Mobile, sadly, is still left outside looking in), hitting a critical mass of availability. The iPhone has gone from a gadget of the tech … Read more

Apple iPhone enters prepaid world with Cricket

Apple's iPhone will make the leap to the prepaid world through Leap Wireless's Cricket wireless service.

The regional prepaid carrier plans to sell the iPhone on June 22, although its no-contract plans means a higher upfront cost. The 16GB iPhone 4S will cost $499.99, while the 8GB iPhone 4 will cost $399.99.

The iPhone moving to Cricket marks the continued expansion of the availability of Apple's blockbuster device, highlighting the company's push to get the device in as many hands as possible. The iPhone is an unusual device to hit the prepaid world, since … Read more

Samsung Galaxy Appeal boosts AT&T's prepaid Android options

AT&T just announced plans to add the Samsung Galaxy Appeal to its ranks of prepaid GoPhone handsets. That should come as good news to Android fans, since despite its cuddly name, inside the Galaxy Appeal beats the cool, calculating heart of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. … Read more

T-Mobile's 665 makes calls and not much else

It's not a shock when a prepaid phone doesn't offer much, but the new T-Mobile 665 takes simplicity to an extreme. With a simple flip design and only the basic features, its focus is on what a phone should do.

Clad in a muted gray color and resembling a skipping stone, the slim T665 has rounded edges and few distractions. The vertical external display is straight out of 2007, but it shows the usual information like the time and caller ID. Inside below the 1.7-inch, 262,000-color display is an extra-large keypad for easy dialing and texting. … Read more