Virgin Mobile USA, the no-contract mobile provider co-founded by Richard Branson, announced on Wednesday that it's partnering with Apple to become the first iPhone-only mobile carrier. The partnership is a pivotal move for Sprint-owned Virgin, which in the past has been more Android-focused, and an opportunity to entice new customers.
"Virgin has always looked to shake things up and challenge the status quo in any sector we go in," Branson said in a press release. "Simply put, when you buy an iPhone you will get the highest quality device and service plus access to an array of Virgin experiences and offers with our group of companies."
The partnership simplifies Virgin's business model by letting it focus on one operating system, says Dow Draper, the CEO of Virgin Mobile USA. The deal, he added, also gives Virgin an opportunity to target their ideal consumer: Apple users. "The Apple brand and the Virgin brand really share of lot of similarities in terms of disruption, high customer service expectations and just delivering a great experience," Draper says.
Under the new offer, customers who purchase an iPhone get six months of unlimited talk, text and data on Virgin's network for $1. The deal gets sweeter if you sign up for a 12-month contract (before July 31) but both options give users access to the Inner Circle, a membership with perks to Virgin's air, hotel and wine services. After the promotional period ends, customers will pay $50 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data.