Pre-Paid iPhone 4S Launches on Virgin Mobile, Carrier Opens 10 Stores in Chicago

Virgin Mobile plans to open 10 new retail locations in the city of Chicago in order to accommodate the high demand for its new pre-paid iPhone that launched today.

The Sprint subsidiary is the second carrier in the U.S. to offer the wildly popular device on a pay-as-you-go basis with Leap Wireless being the first.

Virgin Mobile expects the new Chicago stores to help it market and capitalize on the release of the device. The carrier has previously relied on other outlets such as Best Buy and RadioShack to market and sell its products.

The 10 new stores could lead to a national rollout, according to the carrier.

Virgin Mobile offers the iPhone 4S for $649, and the iPhone 4 for $549. Monthly plans on the Apple smartphones will start a $30 per month with a $5 discount for customers who choose to enroll in automatic monthly payments.

Customers looking to ditch their contract and purchase an iPhone commitment-free can take advantage of this new Apple-Virgin Mobile partnership.

Purchasing the device pre-paid also can save customers a large amount of money in the long term.

Upfront, customers will have to shell out almost $700 for an iPhone 4S that normally costs $200 on a regular carrier with a 2-year commitment. But when it comes to the monthly service, pre-paid can save people almost $60 per month as Virgin Mobile offers unlimited data, talk and text for just $55.

Major U.S. carriers such as Sprint and Verizon offer the device for a much cheaper price up front, but their monthly plans with unlimited texting and data will run customers around $100 per month.