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America's first prepaid iPhone arrives on Cricket Wireless June 22

post #1 of 53
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On June 22, Cricket Wireless will become America's first fully prepaid wireless carrier to offer Apple's iPhone, with an "unlimited" $55-per-month plan.

Cricket Wireless is a prepaid subsidiary of Leap Wireless, which offers "unlimited" data plans under a "fair usage policy" of 2.3 gigabytes per month. The small carrier with 6.2 million customers announced on Thursday that it will become the first prepaid carrier in the U.S. to offer the iPhone to its customers.

On June 22, Cricket will sell the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S contract-free for $500, in addition to the 8-gigabyte iPhone 4 for $400. Both will be compatible with the carrier's "unlimited" $55-per-month talk, text and data plan.

Customers will be able to buy both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 in Cricket company-owned stores and select dealers in nearly 60 markets. The iPhone will also be available for sale on the company's official website, and over the phone at 800-853-7682.

"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 with 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."

Cricket


Cricket offers wireless voice and mobile data services over 4G LTE and 3G CDMA wireless networks. Its parent company, Leap, is the owner of the seventh largest wireless telecommunications network in the U.S. with coverage in all 50 states.

Cricket is the latest regional wireless carrier to receive the iPhone, as Apple has been aggressively expanding the presence of its smartphone to smaller carriers in the U.S. Earlier this month, Apple added Kentucky's Bluegrass Cellular, California's Golden State Cellular, and Kansas' Nex-Tech Wireless to its list of official carrier partners.

In April a total of five carriers began selling the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4: Alaska Communications, Appalachian Wireless, Cellcom, GCI and nTelos. And last October, the iPhone also launched on C Spire Wireless, a regional U.S. carrier with about 900,000 customers.
post #2 of 53

I wonder how much sticker shock Cricket customers are going to get.  Cricket customers don't tend to be big spenders.  

post #3 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

On June 22, Cricket Wireless will become America's first fully prepaid wireless carrier to offer Apple's iPhone, with an "unlimited" $55-per-month plan.

$500 is a good price, the interesting question is if one can use the phone with a different plan.

post #4 of 53
The article doesn't mention the 3GS, but it is good to see the pre-paid plans starting to emerge to meet a new demographic.
post #5 of 53
No 3GS as cricket is CDMA and 3GS is GSM.

Wonder if the GSM portion of the 4S is unlocked.
post #6 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by oberpongo View Post

No 3GS as cricket is CDMA and 3GS is GSM.
Wonder if the GSM portion of the 4S is unlocked.

The carrier should unlock it after three months upon request, IIRC.

post #7 of 53

I always thought prepaid meant no subscription. What's prepaid in a plan with a (USD 55.-) monthly service fee?

post #8 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by astra4 View Post

I always thought prepaid meant no subscription. What's prepaid in a plan with a (USD 55.-) monthly service fee?

 you buy the phone

pay the fee in the months you want

if you don't pay you have a $500 paper weight

post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

 you buy the phone

pay the fee in the months you want

if you don't pay you have a $500 paper weight

Paper weight? I beg to differ!

 

Without a wireless plan, you get:

 

  • Compact 8 mpx camera
  • Music player with 16 GB memory + iCloud
  • All the apps you want
  • Browsing on WiFi
  • FaceTime
  • Siri
  • etc.

 

I don't remember where I read it, but smartphones are used less than 5% as phones.

post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post


if you don't pay you have a $500 paper weight

Actually, a very nice iPod touch.

post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Paper weight? I beg to differ!

Without a wireless plan, you get:

[...]

I don't remember where I read it, but smartphones are used less than 5% as phones.

A wireless plan ≠ using as a phone. While the phone app might be used less than 5% (I'm sure I'm even less than that) the wireless data plan with a smartphones is used quite extensively (especially with iPhones). All your other points I agree with.

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post #12 of 53
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Originally Posted by iDave View Post

Actually, a very nice iPod touch.

What about iMessage, FaceTime and Skype on WiFi?

 

Also, I always thought Cricket leased Sprint's Towers.  The article as I (quickly) read it seems to imply a company with 7M subscribers has its own 50 state infrastructure.  With LTE.  I don't think so......


Edited by bigpics - 5/31/12 at 7:05am

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post #13 of 53

This a great first step for Apple into the prepaid market

 

The price on the iPhone 4 will be lowered with the launch of the iPhone 5.  I wonder if Apple forwarded that new lower price to Cricket for this launch. (doubtful).  If Apple did not, the $399 price point can likely drop further this Fall.  Possibly to $299 assuming there is some Cricket subsidy + the Apple price drop   

 

At the $399, a user saves over $900 vs. AT&T over the two year contract commitment.  Christ, I am tempted   :-)    At $299, that becomes very very interesting from a volume standpoint  

 

If this gets traction, I see the Big 3 having to address it 

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post #14 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by astra4 View Post

I always thought prepaid meant no subscription. What's prepaid in a plan with a (USD 55.-) monthly service fee?

Prepaid means you don't have a 2 year contract - you can cancel your plan anytime and sell your phone and leave the network - no termination fees. Many (most / all?) prepaid carriers offer monthly plans, even the top 4 carriers offer prepaid monthly plans. Prepaid is generally cheaper. Yes, you're paying $300 more for the iPhone to only pay $55 a month for service, but the goal is that you will save money over the typical 24 month contract.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

Can you Skype on it on WiFi?

 

Also, I always thought Cricket leased Sprint's Towers.  The article as I (quickly) read it seems to imply a company with 7M subscribers has its own 50 state infrastructure.  With LTE.  I don't think so......

Cricket does indeed run its own network on 1900MHz and 1700MHz, depending on location. They use Sprint/MetroPCS/and other CDMA networks in locations where they don't have their own network in order to achieve a nationwide network, all without roaming fees. I believe Verizon is the only one not included (unless you pay roaming fees) They're working on their LTE options - I believe they were testing their LTE network in... Arizona? Here in California (where Cricket is based) they've had their own network in the Central Valley and San Diego for about a decade.

post #15 of 53

I thought Cricket resells the same slow CDMA network from Sprint.   If so, then it doesn't support data and voice at the same time.  

post #16 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


A wireless plan ≠ using as a phone. While the phone app might be used less than 5% (I'm sure I'm even less than that) the wireless data plan with a smartphones is used quite extensively (especially with iPhones). All your other points I agree with.

I consider the phone part the more important. The data I can do (and have done at times) completely without. Some of us have WiFi 23.30 out of 24.00 hours. Besides, wireless data plan is of little use in, say, NYC subway.

post #17 of 53

Prepaid, okay, okay… Can I get it without a data plan?

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post #18 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

This a great first step for Apple into the prepaid market

 

The price on the iPhone 4 will be lowered with the launch of the iPhone 5.  I wonder if Apple forwarded that new lower price to Cricket for this launch. (doubtful).  If Apple did not, the $399 price point can likely drop further this Fall.  Possibly to $299 assuming there is some Cricket subsidy + the Apple price drop   

 

At the $399, a user saves over $900 vs. AT&T over the two year contract commitment.  Christ, I am tempted   :-)    At $299, that becomes very very interesting from a volume standpoint  

 

If this gets traction, I see the Big 3 having to address it 

Cricket can't participate in any sort of subsidy, they aren't guaranteed a payment,you could rip them off SO easily that way.

post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post

This a great first step for Apple into the prepaid market

 

The price on the iPhone 4 will be lowered with the launch of the iPhone 5.  I wonder if Apple forwarded that new lower price to Cricket for this launch. (doubtful).  If Apple did not, the $399 price point can likely drop further this Fall.  Possibly to $299 assuming there is some Cricket subsidy + the Apple price drop   

 

At the $399, a user saves over $900 vs. AT&T over the two year contract commitment.  Christ, I am tempted   :-)    At $299, that becomes very very interesting from a volume standpoint  

 

If this gets traction, I see the Big 3 having to address it 

 

 

The first step in the US..In Europe they are all prepaid and the iphone has been selling there for long time.

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post #20 of 53

If Cricket uses Sprint's network, it will be a very slow data speed and spotty coverage.  I have been checking Sprint's data speed using an iPhone app and Sprint is usually the slowest of the Big Three carriers on the iPhone, typically running at under 400 kbps downstream. Still, if they sell unlimited data and minutes at $55/mo. without a contract it might be worth it for a current Sprint or Verizon customer with an iPhone that is out of contract, if Cricket will accept a Verizon or Sprint phone.

post #21 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by daylove22 View Post

The first step in the US..In Europe they are all prepaid and the iphone has been selling there for long time.

 

 

Well, I see this a sign of the US finally starting to crack the horrible subscription model of the telecoms.

post #22 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Analyst View Post

If Cricket uses Sprint's network, it will be a very slow data speed and spotty coverage.  I have been checking Sprint's data speed using an iPhone app and Sprint is usually the slowest of the Big Three carriers on the iPhone, typically running at under 400 kbps downstream. Still, if they sell unlimited data and minutes at $55/mo. without a contract it might be worth it for a current Sprint or Verizon customer with an iPhone that is out of contract, if Cricket will accept a Verizon or Sprint phone.

The alternative is Straight Talk which uses the AT&T network and is $45 per month for unlimited everything. You can get it at your local Walmart store if you don't want to sign up on their web site.
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post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post
Well, I see this a sign of the US finally starting to crack the horrible subscription model of the telecoms.

 

The "US"? This is a sign of Apple trying to crack the subscription model of US telecoms.

 

Our government is paid off to ignore the fact that we're the only country on Earth that forces iPhone users to have data plans and two year contracts.

 

Among all other phones, obviously, but I don't know the stats of the others.

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post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

 

Well, I see this a sign of the US finally starting to crack the horrible subscription model of the telecoms.


Cricket is hardly the only pay-as-you-go mobile telecom provider out there.

post #25 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The "US"? This is a sign of Apple trying to crack the subscription model of US telecoms.

 

Our government is paid off to ignore the fact that we're the only country on Earth that forces iPhone users to have data plans and two year contracts.

 

Among all other phones, obviously, but I don't know the stats of the others.


That's true.  In Canada its 3 years

post #26 of 53
According to a Cricket rep:

"cricKet uses their own towers in their native coverage areas, in the expanded coverage they have agreements set up with companies like, Metro PCS, Sprint, Blue grass, and roaming agreements with others.

So if the question is does cricket own/lease it's own towers then yes they do they have their own network. They are not a MVNO of any larger company."
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post #27 of 53

you can use Skype to make calls via wireless N networks

post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

A wireless plan ≠ using as a phone. While the phone app might be used less than 5% (I'm sure I'm even less than that) the wireless data plan with a smartphones is used quite extensively (especially with iPhones). All your other points I agree with.

I think it really depends on the user. Most of the time, I don't use much data, but I don't want to go without either. As for 5%, if you use your phone four hours a day, 5% of that being phone calls would fit snugly against the limit of your daytime minutes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

What about iMessage, FaceTime and Skype on WiFi?

Edit: iPod Touch can use iMessage, that much is advertised by Apple. It can also do FaceTime and Skype over WiFi, as shown on Apple's web page on the product.
Edited by JeffDM - 5/31/12 at 8:42am
post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post
I'm pretty sure iPod Touch can use iMessage. iPad has it. FaceTime is out, I'm pretty sure it's not offered on current models. Skype, not the current models, unless you have a mirror.

 

What? Of course it has FaceTime… Wait, what are we talking about? Both the iPhone and iPod touch have FaceTime and can use Skype. We're talking about an iPhone where the user stopped paying the prepaid plan.

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post #30 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

What? Of course it has FaceTime… Wait, what are we talking about? Both the iPhone and iPod touch have FaceTime and can use Skype. We're talking about an iPhone where the user stopped paying the prepaid plan.

Yeah, I just corrected it. I had forgotten it and found it on the Apple page. You'd have to skip back over a series of four posts to understand that sub-conversation. It's not important.
post #31 of 53

Cricket does not offer unlimited data. They reserve the right to slow you down at 1gb. They also have dirt slow speeds.

"http://www.mycricket.com/cell-phone-plans#smartphone-plans


Edited by Apple v. Samsung - 5/31/12 at 9:04am
post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Our government is paid off to ignore the fact that we're the only country on Earth that forces iPhone users to have data plans and two year contracts.

Patently incorrect about the two-year contract requirement.

 

Straight Talk "Bring Your Own Phone" SIM card, $45/month no-contract. Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and "unlimited" data (which anecdotally has a soft cap around 2GB followed by an allegedly "you're a data hog" message). Just buy the unlocked retail iPhone 4S at Apple.com for $649 plus the one-time $15 for the SIM card. Your phone will be connecting to AT&T's cellular towers. If you're in an area with HSPA+, you'll have the faster connection. Total cost of ownership over 24 months: $1744

 

By contrast, here how Cricket breaks down. Partially subsidized handset $500 and $55/month no contract. Total cost of ownership over 24 months: $1820.

 

And good ol' AT&T? Subsidized handset $199, $36 activation fee, $120/month on a 2-year contract (unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB data). Total cost of ownership over 24 months: $3115.

 

Monthly cost of ownership (over 24 months):

Straight Talk: $72.67

Cricket: $75.83

AT&T: $129.79

 

You can knock off a couple of bucks a month from Straight Talk if you prepay for several months of service in advance.

 

Another benefit: the Straight Talk micro SIM works fine in an iPad if you need cellular data in a pinch.

 

Sadly, AT&T prepaid terms recently changed and they eliminated data packages from the GoPhone Pay As You Go $0.10/min. plan. That was a great option for someone with minimal talking/texting and modest cellular data needs.


Edited by cvaldes1831 - 5/31/12 at 9:05am
post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post
…"Bring Your Own Phone" SIM card, $45/month no-contract. Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and "unlimited" data… …iPhone 4S… Your phone will be connecting to AT&T's cellular towers.

 

They actually allow that? They don't stop you and say, "hey, pay the iPhone plan price"?

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post #34 of 53

Allow it? The chairman encourages it.

 

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-07/carlos-slim-shows-users-how-to-switch-iphones-away-from-at-t.html

 

Basically, Straight Talk iPhone users are using AT&T cellular towers at a 44% discount.


Edited by cvaldes1831 - 5/31/12 at 9:25am
post #35 of 53

To be fair, we should be comparing similar service levels, i.e., unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 2-3GB of cellular data since that's what Straight Talk and Cricket offer.

 

Thus, Sprint would be $199 subsidized handset, $36 activation fee, $110/month for unlimited talk/text/data. Total cost of ownership over 24 months: $2875.

 

Verizon's costs would be identical to AT&T's.

 

Note that even if you went with the smallest voice plan on AT&T and Verizon and eliminated texting yet retained 2-3GB of cellular data, you'd still have a monthly cost of ownership of $79.79.

 

Here's a more complete table:

Monthly cost of ownership (over 24 months):
Straight Talk: $72.67 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data)
Cricket: $75.83 (unlimited talk/text, 2.3GB data)
Verizon: $79.79 (450 min. talk, 2GB data, no text plan)
AT&T: $79.79 (450 min. talk, 3GB data, no text plan)
Sprint: $89.79 (450 min. talk, unlimited text/data)
Sprint: $119.79 (unlimited talk/text/data)
Verizon: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data)
AT&T: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 3GB data)

 

It still makes more sense to use Straight Talk since you're basically saving a few bucks off similar cellular data service from Verizon and AT&T, and they're basically tossing in unlimited talk and text.

 

Note that I'm only comparing currently available cellular plans, not something that someone has been grandfathered into.


Edited by cvaldes1831 - 5/31/12 at 10:00am
post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The "US"? This is a sign of Apple trying to crack the subscription model of US telecoms.

 

Our government is paid off to ignore the fact that we're the only country on Earth that forces iPhone users to have data plans and two year contracts.

 

Among all other phones, obviously, but I don't know the stats of the others.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post


Cricket is hardly the only pay-as-you-go mobile telecom provider out there.

 

Let me elaborate... I see the fact that you can get iPhones as prepaid in the US as a sign of change:

 

US has had prepaid before; IPhone can be bought prepaid outside of the US; what's new is that the phone maker that has benefited most from the US subscription model is trying the alternative.

post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

Not true, Cricket only offers 1GB of data not unlimited like Sprint. I don't know where AI got that 2.3GB figure from, go to Cricket and see for yourself.  And Straightalk also in reality only offers 2GB before you get nasty warnings, same as Pageplus.  Only Sprint offers truly unlimited data that is also not throttled after a set amount and free from text warnings calling you a data hog threatening to cancel your service. 

 

Cricket's 2.3GB soft cap is explicitly stated in the press release:

 

http://leapwireless.mediaroom.com/2012-05-31-Cricket-Wireless-to-Offer-iPhone-on-June-22

 

I noted the 2GB limit with Straight Talk earlier.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

 

Straight Talk "Bring Your Own Phone" SIM card, $45/month no-contract. Unlimited talk, unlimited text, and "unlimited" data (which anecdotally has a soft cap around 2GB followed by an allegedly "you're a data hog" message). Just buy the unlocked retail iPhone 4S at Apple.com for $649 plus the one-time $15 for the SIM card. Your phone will be connecting to AT&T's cellular towers. If you're in an area with HSPA+, you'll have the faster connection. Total cost of ownership over 24 months: $1744

 

Here's the detailed table.

 

Monthly cost of ownership (over 24 months):
Straight Talk: $72.67 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data)
Cricket: $75.83 (unlimited talk/text, 2.3GB data)

Verizon: $79.79 (450 min. talk, 2GB data, no text plan)
AT&T: $79.79 (450 min. talk, 3GB data, no text plan)
Sprint: $89.79 (450 min. talk, unlimited text/data)

Sprint: $119.79 (unlimited talk/text/data)
Verizon: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data)
AT&T: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 3GB data)

 

The plans in blue are similar offerings (unlimited talk, unlimited text and 2-3GB of cellular data). The plans in red are those with limited voice (and in the case of Verizon and AT&T, no text plan).


Edited by cvaldes1831 - 5/31/12 at 10:21am
post #38 of 53

There's also H20 Wireless.  Buy an unlocked iPhone from Apple, and you can get unlimited talk, text, and 500 MB data for only $50/month.    H20 uses the AT&T network so you get good coverage and speed.   It's stupid to pay for a contract plan when you can save so much money by buying the phone.

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post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

 

 

Let me elaborate... I see the fact that you can get iPhones as prepaid in the US as a sign of change:

 

US has had prepaid before; IPhone can be bought prepaid outside of the US; what's new is that the phone maker that has benefited most from the US subscription model is trying the alternative.


I'm sure someone else knows specifically when Apple started doing this but anyone in the USA has been able to buy an unlocked GSM iPhone directly from Apple for quite awhile now.

post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_steve View Post

There's also H20 Wireless.  Buy an unlocked iPhone from Apple, and you can get unlimited talk, text, and 500 MB data for only $50/month.    H20 uses the AT&T network so you get good coverage and speed.   It's stupid to pay for a contract plan when you can save so much money by buying the phone.

 

Again, we really need to compare plans that have 2-3GB of cellular data per month, since that's what Straight Talk and Cricket offer. It looks like H2O Wireless throttles data after 500MB on their 2GB plan ($60). But in any case, let's do the cost analysis.

 

H2O Wireless (500MB): $649 factory unlocked iPhone 4S from Apple, $10 SIM (one-time charge), $50 per month for unlimited talk/text + 500MB data. Total cost of ownership over two years: $1859

H2O Wireless (2GB, throttled after first 500MB): $649 factory unlocked iPhone 4S from Apple, $10 SIM (one-time charge), $60 per month for unlimited talk/text + 2GB data (throttled after first 500MB). Total cost of ownership over two years: $2099

 

Including gwmac and the_steve's additions:

 

Monthly cost of ownership (over 24 months):
Straight Talk: $72.67 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data, no international calling on this plan rate)
Cricket: $75.83 (unlimited talk/text, 2.3GB data)

Verizon: $79.79 (450 min to landline or other carriers, 2GB data, no text plan) (Anytime 6AM to 9PM /no unlimited mobile to mobile except in-network) 
AT&T: $79.79 (450 min. talk to landline or other carriers , 3GB data, no text plan) 
(Anytime 6AM to 9PM/ no unlimited mobile to mobile except in-network) 

H2O Wireless: $77.46 (unlimited talk/text, 500MB of data, some international calling)
H2O Wireless: $87.46 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB of data, speed throttled after first 500MB, some international calling)
Sprint: $89.79 (450 min. talk for landline calls, unlimited text/data) Anytime 7AM to 7PM Unlimited mobile to mobile)

Sprint: $119.79 (unlimited talk/text/data)
Verizon: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 2GB data)
AT&T: $129.79 (unlimited talk/text, 3GB data)

 

The plans in blue are similar offerings (unlimited talk, unlimited text and 2-3GB of cellular data). The plans in red are those with limited voice (and in the case of Verizon and AT&T, no text plan).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

I'm sure someone else knows specifically when Apple started doing this but anyone in the USA has been able to buy an unlocked GSM iPhone directly from Apple for quite awhile now.

 

Apple started selling off-contract iPhones at full retail price a couple of years ago in the USA, but they were still carrier locked to AT&T. Only in June of last year did they start selling a factory-unlocked iPhone 4.

 

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/06/13/apple_to_sell_unlocked_iphone_4_for_649_icloud_mirroring_some_mobileme_web_services.html

 

The factory unlocked iPhone 4S started selling about a month after the initial iPhone 4S debut in the USA.


Edited by cvaldes1831 - 5/31/12 at 11:13am
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