Sprint subsidiary Virgin Mobile is no longer selling Apple’s iPhones in its retail stores and it is unclear if the United States’ biggest prepaid wireless carrier is going to restock Apple’s devices on its shelves anytime soon.
Previously, Virgin Mobile’s website featured a range of unsubsidized iPhones for sale. Until recently, the carrier had a lineup of iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 4S models up for grabs. However, Virgin Mobile announced over the holidays that it would not be selling Apple’s newest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus but did not explain the decision.
A dedicated page for Apple’s iPhones still exists, but the page now redirects to Virgin Mobile’s inventory of Android and Windows Phone devices. The website also still provides search suggestions for iPhones, including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which were never available from the carrier. In fact, as of press time, one can still search for iPhones on Virgin Mobile’s website and be presented with various iPhone-related pages on the Virgin Mobile website, including a page that helps customers compare the features of various iPhone models.
Virgin Mobile did not say why it is dropping the iPhone from its inventory. However, the carrier’s most recent move could be a result of its parent company Sprint’s decision to make its subsidiaries wait before offering the latest smartphone models. Sprint, the third-biggest mobile carrier in the nation, is offering the latest iPhone models through a leasing program that it is banking on to help it catch up with Verizon Wireless and AT&T and gain more customers, even as T-Mobile is aggressively waging a price war from the lower end.
It is also possible Virgin Mobile is not actually making money from selling unsubsidized iPhones, as even its prepaid plans start as low as $3 per month. Virgin Mobile offered some of the best iPhone deals by giving customers up to $1,000 in savings. However, that meant customers had to shell out a whopping $650 price for the iPhone upfront, and not too many consumers are willing to spend that much money even if they get to save a thousand bucks afterwards.
Meanwhile, Boost Mobile, another Sprint prepaid subsidiary, is offering the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with a $100 discount, so it is likely customers are flocking to Boost Mobile instead of Virgin Mobile.