Cricket Brings Prepaid iPhone To The U.S.

Cricket Brings Prepaid iPhone To The U.S.

Cricket's 7 million U.S. customers will be able to buy the iPhone next month.

Today Leap Wireless, parent company to Cricket, announced that it has partnered with Apple to bring the iPhone to the U.S. prepaid market for the first time. Starting June 22nd, customers will be able to buy iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models from Cricket on a prepaid wireless plan. The iPhones have been substantially subsidized by Cricket, indicating that the carrier is taking a financial hit to hop on the Apple bandwagon.

Cricket offers an unlimited talk, text and data plan for only $55 (throttled after 2.3GB of usage), and customers can purchase the 8GB iPhone 4 for $400 off contract. The 16GB iPhone 4S is available for $500 off contract. These are the only two iPhone models Cricket will have available in June.

“Our customers want the best products available and we are excited to bring iPhone to our pre-paid consumers with an industry leading $55 per-month service plan,” said Doug Hutcheson, president and chief executive officer, Leap Wireless International, Inc. “Launching iPhone is a major milestone for us and we are proud to offer iPhone customers attractive nationwide coverage, a robust 3G data network and a value-packed, no-contract plan.”

Unlike AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, Cricket customers are not locked into a contract that prevents them from upgrading phones, switching around plans, or terminating subscriptions altogether. Carriers that offer 2-year contracts are able to offer smartphones for cheaper retail prices so customers can pay the full, unsubsidized cost over time.

Apple offers unlocked, contract-free iPhones for about $150 more than Cricket ($650 for the 16Gb iPhone 4S), so the prepaid carrier is obviously paying out of pocket to offer its subscriber base a deal on the iPhone. Sprint took a similar financial gamble when it brought on the iPhone last October.

This is the first time a major U.S. prepaid carrier has offered the iPhone, so it will be interesting to see how well sales go. Sprint owns Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, two other large prepaid networks, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the iPhone make its way their as well.

The iPhone will be available in Cricket stores and select dealers June 22nd in 60 U.S. markets. Customers can register on the Cricket website for more information.

Update: Apple has officially commented on its partnership with Cricket:

By making iPhone available on pre-paid plans through Cricket Wireless, we are making the best smartphone more accessible to an even broader market in the US.

Related
  • pixeldiablo

    The question is… will it b locked to Cricket?

  • Justin Gilbert

    The question is… will it b locked to Cricket?

    Doesn’t matter if you jailbreak or use the Gevey card.  I had Sprint for my 4s and it sucked so bad I moved to Red Pocket.

  • technochick

    So Cricket is basically buying full price GSM phones so they activate unlocked and with Apple’s permission reselling them for under the full cost. Probably not exactly the system but something to that effect. So long as I can get Apple Care and it all starts when I buy it from Cricket I’m not worried about the semantics. 

    Not really sure that Cricket can sustain this particular model however. Particularly on the data issue but time will tell. 
    Hopefully this will be the start of even major carriers offering pay as you go if you buy full price models. I don’t even mind having to pay the full full price if I can either get that $15-18 a month for my non existent subsidy repayment off my bill or go prepaid in a style like Cricket or pay as you go. 
  • joewaylo

    The question is… will it b locked to Cricket?

    If it’s unlocked instead, they’re shortchanging themselves since the current unlocked price is $649. They might be selling trade-in unlocks.

  • blazzingsaddle

    Data isn’t unlimited – they throttle Fair Use at 2.3 GBs.  They will make up some of their loss with data overages.  Cricket offers several $5 add-ons and also something called FlexBucket, which is similar to buying an iTunes card to pre-load money for purhases.  Cricket can be economical or just as expensive as a contract phone – depends on the person.  Some people  a lot of people have challenging credit these days and don’t want to pay exorbent fees and deposits, at contract origination,  to get a phone. 

     

    BTW – people have been using the sim cards from cheap $16.88 GoPhones and buying a GoPhone data card with iPhone for a while now.   

    One time $16.88+tax

                    $60.00 unlimited text,talk,web

                +  $50.00 data @ 1GB

    —————————————————–

                    $110.00 month         versus                     $55.00  @2.3GBs + overages with Cricket

     

     

    A new phone at full price pretty much evens out contract subsidized iphone v. full price iphone. 

    But, Cricket still better choice for monthly payments – at least for now.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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