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Counterparties: Today's Best Links
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Analysis & Opinion
Samsung investors should worry less about Apple
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Thu Jun 7, 2012 10:28am EDT
(Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp said on Thursday its Virgin Mobile prepaid business would start selling Apple Inc's iPhone later this month, pitching it against smaller prepaid rival Leap Wireless International Inc.
Sprint shares rose about 2 percent after the company said the addition of iPhone to its Virgin brand would not hurt its 2012 earnings and would help it reach its overall $15.5 billion commitment to Apple for a certain phone volume over few years.
Virgin customers, who do not commit to a contract and pay for calls in advance, will pay 2-1/2 times the price for an iPhone that Sprint contract customers pay. Contract customers get a big discount in exchange for staying with Sprint for two years.
Virgin customers will fork out $649 for the iPhone 4S, compared with $200 for Sprint contract customers.
Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche questioned how many Virgin customers, who tend to be more cost conscious, would be able to afford the steep price tag, even as she said Sprint priced the product to minimize risk.
Sprint said Virgin would start selling the device on June 22.
Leap Wireless said on May 31 it would start selling iPhone on June 22. It is charging the same price as Virgin does.
Virgin's service plan for iPhone customers will start at $35 per month, compared with the $55 per month minimum for customers of Leap Wireless.
Sprint shares were up 2 cents at $2.74 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting By Sinead Carew; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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