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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member


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

  • Reply 2 of 63
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member

    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.

  • Reply 3 of 63
    ifij775ifij775 Posts: 470member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 63
    oberpongooberpongo Posts: 185member
    No 3GS as cricket is CDMA and 3GS is GSM.

    Wonder if the GSM portion of the 4S is unlocked.
  • Reply 5 of 63
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member

    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.

  • Reply 6 of 63
    astra4astra4 Posts: 46member


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

  • Reply 7 of 63
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member

    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

  • Reply 8 of 63
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 63
    idaveidave Posts: 1,283member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 63
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    drdoppio wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 63
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    Quote:

    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......

  • Reply 12 of 63
    red oakred oak Posts: 1,100member


    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 

  • Reply 13 of 63
    volarisvolaris Posts: 3member

    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.

  • Reply 14 of 63


    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.  

  • Reply 15 of 63
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member

    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.

  • Reply 16 of 63
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,807member


    I have a friend on Cricket that is very happy with their coverage and service. Like any carrier, depending on where you live it can suck or be a very good experience. Since Cricket is CDMA, I wonder if a Sprint or Verizon iPhone can be ported to work on Cricket. They have done that with Android phones in the past. If that is possible you might see a lot of used iPhone 4S for far cheaper than $500 being used on Cricket. $55 * 24 months is $1,320 vs $85 as an average for a single line on the big 3 for $2,040. So you would definitely recoup the $300 price difference in the phone. 


     


    Competition in the market is always a good thing and major carrier plans have been creeping up for years and offering less value for your money. Notice how Verizon only offered the double your data promo to LTE Android phones and not the iPhone. And AT&T finally confirmed their unlimited plan was really only 3GB and then throttled after that. All mobile phone plans should include unlimited texts and unlimited mobile to mobile minutes since it costs them so little. They should only really differentiate their plans on calls to landlines and data. If any carrier finally has the balls just to charge a flat rate $10 per GB and be done with it they would probably get a lot of customers. 

  • Reply 17 of 63
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


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

  • Reply 18 of 63
    marcusj0015marcusj0015 Posts: 200member

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 63
    daylove22daylove22 Posts: 215member

    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.
  • Reply 20 of 63


    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.

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