Sprint Nextel is set to become the second U.S. mobile phone service — following Cricket (http://macte.ch/CY2qa) — to offer the iPhone without a wireless contract, reports “MarketWatch” (http://macte.ch/YmZdC). This week the carrier will announce that it will offer the Apple smartphone on its Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go brand starting as soon as July 1, the article adds.

“By offering the iPhone, Sprint may help satisfy its commitment to Apple to buy $15.5 billion of the phones over four years, an aggressive bet as more carriers are getting access to the once-exclusive device,” opines “MarketWatch.” “Sprint’s prepaid service, which also includes the Boost Mobile brand, has been its lone area of growth as contract customers have fled.”