Leap Wireless Is Upset That It Isn’t Selling Enough iPhones

Cricket Wireless store Chicago Logan Square neighborhood

Who’s fault is it that enough people aren’t buying iPhones on Cricket?

Leap Wireless owns Cricket, a small prepaid carrier in the U.S. that recently started selling the iPhone. In fact, Leap was the first pay-as-you-go carrier in the U.S. to start selling the iPhone at full price. Now other prepaid carriers like Virgin Mobile have also picked up Apple’s handset.

In recent months, Leap hasn’t been very thrilled about how many iPhones it’s selling.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

Leap Wireless International Inc., which operates the Cricket cellphone brand, said it is on pace to sell half as many iPhones as it committed to sell during the first year of its contract with Apple Inc., which ends in June.

As a result, Leap said, it could end up with $100 million worth of unsold iPhones by the middle of this year. That spells more trouble for Leap, a company struggling to keep pace with larger competitors, and sheds light on the challenges facing Apple in cracking the huge market for smartphones being bought by lower-income consumers.

The report goes on to mention that Leap has only 5.3 million subscribers, and that the carrier can’t sell the iPhone in many parts of the country due to technical limitations.

While big carriers like AT&T and Verizon sell a new iPhone subsidized for $200 with a two-year contract, Leap sells the iPhone unsubsidized at $500. Leap in turn charges less for a monthly plan and doesn’t lock subscribers into a two-year commitment.

The Journal doesn’t give an exact number for how many iPhones Leap committed to sell during its first year. Many U.S. customers don’t want to pay $500+ for a new iPhone that can’t even be used in most of the country, so that’s going to severely limit Leap’s reach.

Apple is rumored to be working on a cheaper iPhone that would sell at a much lower price point unsubsidized. Until then, Leap probably won’t be selling a lot of iPhones.

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  • joewaylo

    It’s because Cricket is weak. My coworker traded his Cricket for Verizon as he had very poor service unless he lived in Washington, DC.

  • bdkennedy

    You don’t go to a KIA dealership looking for a Mercedes.

  • lmfs

    Hmm… If we back down to realistic levels and take it from there. Leap has 5.3 million subscribers, not even possible to make a 0.01 dent in total sales. If they have sold 100,000 phones earlier, why do they think they can sell 1,000,000 immediately? Just because is says “Apple” on the box? You have to, unfortunately, work for something. The only thing they have accomplished now is that I will never go with Cricket. Everyone is blaming Apple for not selling enough units (even though more units were shifted than ever). It still require a seller to make the deal. Cricket somehow missed that point.

  • Adrayven

    Oh please.. Leap went into that contract eyes wide open.. If they couldn’t support the phone fully on their network, why in the world would they commit to such a contract?

    Thats just stupid business right there, and highlights the reason they are having trouble to begin with..

    Sorry if I sound harsh.. but man, many, many other carriers don’t have the issue. Even Sprint is doing OK with their huge commitment..

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 places like 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. All DMs excepted.

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