Apple iPhone enters prepaid world with Cricket

The regional prepaid carrier will start selling the smartphone on June 22 without a contract. But it will cost you dearly.

Apple

Apple's iPhone will make the leap to the prepaid world through Leap Wireless's Cricket wireless service.

The regional prepaid carrier plans to sell the iPhone on June 22, although its no-contract plans means a higher upfront cost. The 16GB iPhone 4S will cost $499.99, while the 8GB iPhone 4 will cost $399.99.

The iPhone moving to Cricket marks the continued expansion of the availability of Apple's blockbuster device, highlighting the company's push to get the device in as many hands as possible. The iPhone is an unusual device to hit the prepaid world, since it is such an expensive product relative to other prepaid phones.

The iPhone will be sold with a $55 no-contract plan that includes unlimited calling and text messages. The plan also includes 2.3GB of data, after which the carrier will throttle, or slow the connection down.

Despite a hefty price tag, the iPhone's popularity should help Cricket recapture a bit of momentum lost in recent quarters. The company, as with other prepaid services, has seen growth slow as the larger carriers enter the prepaid business.

"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," Leap CEO Doug Hutchison said in a statement.

While prepaid carriers typically don't offer subsidies, it appears Leap is paying Apple a small subsidy to keep the iPhone somewhat reasonably priced. AT&T and Verizon Wireless lists the 16GB iPhone 4S for $649.99 without a two-year contract.

Prepaid customers are required to buy an iPhone through Cricket; they are unable to bring in an iPhone from another carrier.

Customer can go here to find out more information.

• See CNET's review of the iPhone 4S

 

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