Prepaid iPhone on the way

(John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

(John Spink, jspink@ajc.com)

(Update at 4:44 p.m.)

A prepaid iPhone?

Apple has taken another step toward putting its popular smartphone in the hands of more users by striking a deal with Cricket wireless, according to CNET.

Leap Wireless’ Cricket will offer the prepaid iPhone 4S alongside other prepaid phones beginning June 22. The $55 no-contract plan will include unlimited calling and texting, and 2.3GB of data.

The plan, however, isn’t entirely cheap. Cricket will sell the 4S 16GB for $499.99 and the 8GB for $399.99. That’s still cheaper than the non-commitment price of $649.99 the other major iPhone carriers want for the 4S 16GB.

With a prepaid phone, you simply use the phone until you run out of minutes. When that happens, you have the option of buying more minutes.

Prepaid phones are generally targeted to consumers whose credit history is less than stellar, to those who don’t want to lock into a two-year contract and to consumers who want a no-frills phone. Adding the iPhone to the mix, however, takes the prepaid market up a notch.

(Update) Commenter “Peach That Left” is correct about no physical Cricket locations in metro Atlanta despite earlier reporting. The service can be reached at 800-583-7169 or visit mycricket.com. Major providers also offer prepaid and pay-as-you-go phone plans.

27 comments Add your comment

Face chewing Zombie

May 31st, 2012
12:35 pm

Great idea, but it is an iPhone. Most over rated electronic device ever. Can’t add memory, can’t access the battery and it struggles to keep up.

I guess there will be an influx of wanna be metrosexual posers that will now be able to afford one of these and pretend they are cool……Just so you all know, we got you figured out.

Techhead

May 31st, 2012
12:39 pm

Apple needs to make sure the new iphone 5 will have a bigger screen in order to compete with Android phones, have you seen the screen on the latest Androids, those things are HUGE!!!

Catch up Apple!

All in

May 31st, 2012
12:42 pm

From June 22nd onward… apple will rule the smartphone landscape and cricket just quadrupled their business and metroPCS can kiss customers goodbye… including this one. I just hope the network is better than my spotty service with Metro….

not telling the whole story

May 31st, 2012
12:50 pm

my credit history is good because i have a tracfone. not everybody has gotten caught up in the iphone frenzy…400.00 buck for a phone?…that’s crazy…i’ll keep my cheap phone..the rest of ya can go ahead and gut your credit score buying those over-priced items.

SBinF

May 31st, 2012
12:55 pm

My credit is fine, but I will consider getting in on this deal. The phone companies are making a killing with contracts. I’d like to go without a contract, but the idea of paying $700 for a phone is unappealing.

All in

May 31st, 2012
12:55 pm

For those who already have those phones and now have the ability to go from a 100 to sometimes 200+ dollar a month phone bill to a 55 dollar bill will jump for joy…. The smart move would be to buy stock in Criket and ride that wave all the way to the bank.

tc

May 31st, 2012
1:00 pm

I switched to Straight Talk and have an Android phone that I loved. I switched because I was paying $95 a mth. for the same plan with Verizon and it’s only $45 unlimited everything with Straight Talk. Why would anyone want to stay with companies like AT&T and Verizon and pay double?

tom

May 31st, 2012
1:13 pm

you’re not just paying for a phone. It’s also a pretty damn good camera, video camera, game system, media player, personal organizer.

Jason

May 31st, 2012
1:18 pm

Techhead, on your comments
Apple needs to make sure the new iphone 5 will have a bigger screen in order to compete with Android phones, have you seen the screen on the latest Androids, those things are HUGE!!Catch up Apple!
NO, APPLE DON’T NEED TO HAVE A HUGE SCREEN LIKE THE GALAXY S3. MAJORITY OF THE PUBLIC DON’T WANT TO BE CARRYING A FLAT SCREEN TV IN THERE POCKETS! 4 INCH IS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR A PHONE SCREEN, ANYTHING BIGGER IS BOTHERSOME WHICH WILL NOT EVEN FIT IN YOUR POCKET!

Brooke

May 31st, 2012
1:27 pm

This isn’t really news, you can already get pre-paid for the iphone. All you have to do is tell ATT you want to transfer your IMEI to a gophone acct. Sign up for a gophone, buy the raggedy 20 dollar phone, get your number and make the transfer.

Holden Magroyne

May 31st, 2012
1:32 pm

I like my Samsung Exhibit II just fine.

J

May 31st, 2012
1:40 pm

Straight talk is nice you can buy a sim card and hook your I-phone up on straight talk or even better get it unlocked and hook up to T-mobile $50 month unlimited plan with not contract. The only downsid is the I-phone will only work at 2G speeds on T-mobile but you can connect to wireless just about anywhere these days.

Morse Code user

May 31st, 2012
2:00 pm

I don’t know what the hayell y’all are talking about!

Scott

May 31st, 2012
3:37 pm

Jason, 4 inches may be all you need in your pants, but some of us have room for more.

Peach That Left

May 31st, 2012
4:23 pm

This article is somewhat misleading. Cricket requires monthly prepaid plans for smartphones. The pay-as-you-go plan mentioned in the article probably won’t be able to be used for the iPhone. Also, no actual Cricket stores come up near the 30331 ZIP code. Authorized resellers, such as Target, Dollar General and Best Buy, are your only options for getting service from Cricket.

Christopher Seward

May 31st, 2012
4:51 pm

Peach That Left is correct about physical Cricket locations no longer being in metro Atlanta despite earlier reporting. The service can be reached at 800-583-7169 or visit mycricket.com.

jerseygyrl

May 31st, 2012
5:54 pm

I have a HTC andriod, my service is With METRO PCS, unlimited everything, and I do NOT need a data plan. HELLO HELLO HELLO Wireless for everyone!!!!!!

Dave

May 31st, 2012
6:30 pm

Jerseygyrl, are you being paid by Metro PCS to post here?

Horsetoothedjackass

May 31st, 2012
8:43 pm

This isn’t a prepaid plan, this is a no contract plan. More and more providers that have previously offered prepaid plans have added these no-contract plans as an additional option. The only downside is that most require you to buy your phone from them as they don’t allow you to bring your own phone to their service. The no contract phones are a lot better than the phones they offer for their pay-as-you-go and with smartphones they are typically lower-end Android and BlackBerry phones.

Simple Mobile is one of the few that does allow you to bring your own phone (provided it is a GSM phone as they piggyback on T-Mobile’s network [Similar to how Virgin Mobile USA and Boost piggyback on Sprint's network.].). I switched to them about four months ago after being with Virgin Mobile for over 6 years (I switched because Virgin Mobile had been saying for a number of months that they were going to add more BlackBerry devices to their lineup and never did. Plus I was not happy with their plans to throttle data once you reached a certain limit [even though I never got anywhere close to it.). There are ways one could use the iPhone on their network (take their SIM card and trim it to fit into the micro SIM slot on the iPhone, but as noted earlier, it only runs at 2G speed on the T-Mobile network.) , but they currently do not support the iPhone on their network, so it’s a use at your own risk device.

We’re definitely behind other countries in regards to no-contract iPhones, as providers in other countries have offered them pretty much from the start.

Aleks Wojda

June 1st, 2012
4:50 am

There are actually three prepaid iPhone options and I can only see more coming available. You can easily save $1,000 over post paid, so definitely worth a try. You can find more details here http://phone-fanatic.com/blog/guides/the-ultimate-prepaid-iphone-guide

NotYou

June 1st, 2012
8:42 am

@Face Chewing Zombie “can’t access the battery and it struggles to keep up.” Well, I had a few of the best android based phones and it was certainly on the bleeding edge, but it bled a lot. I once despised Apple but as a developer myself I just needed something that WORKED at least 95% of the time. When Apple releases something, generally it works as intended. Can no longer say the same for Google.

C Jae of EAV

June 1st, 2012
9:44 am

This is the beginning of what I believe will be momumental shift in the business model deployed by wireless carriers in this country. In order to penatrate and increase marketshare, they all have been subsidizing the TRUE costs of handsets and in exchange customers have submitted to long term commitments to maintain a business relationship.

As the cellphone has become more ubiquitous and wireless contracts extend to longer periods (remember when 1 year contracts were in vogue??), and capacity of wireless service provider networks blur the lines differienciation, consumers will srunitize the overall value of a “relatively cheap” upfront cost of a device vs. the overall expense of long term contract commitments that force you to maintain services at minimum levels weather you need the service or not.

mugglemikki

June 1st, 2012
9:46 am

LOL @Scott! I agree, size does matter!

JF McNamara

June 1st, 2012
10:06 am

@NotYou,

I always trip out when I see developers complaining. You realize that 99.999% of phone users aren’t developers and the phone they have works 100% of the time for them. A bigger screen is probably the number one priority for most regular users. If you are a heavy user who drains the battery quickly, a removable battery is the number one priority. It’s a really small set of people who care that its hard to develop on.

Cece Grimes

June 1st, 2012
1:02 pm

I had ATT for over 10 years my bill got higher every year when I left this past Dec my family plan was $445 a month… so I switched to Metro PCS put everyone on the family plan my bill is $165 I have 3 phones/plans without the data plan and I have 2 phones/plans with a data plan.I’m using the HTC widfire I paid $179.00 for the phone last Dec….BUT…sorry I switch the dang service doesn’t even work in my house! I actually have to walk outside and up the street to get a signal! the kids don’t mind walking around the house asking “can you here me now”? I think its crazy and when you do use the phone if you’re on it longer than 10-15 min you get a echo when you’re talking…when I had ATT no problem, friends come over with T-Mobile phones can talk/text so I’m thinking about going to Straight Talk or Family Mobile…Metro PCS does not work for me…

mystery poster

June 4th, 2012
3:37 pm

Wireless provides have NOT been subsidizing the cost of phones, despite what you may have heard. TIME magazine had an article a year or so ago that said it costs apple $50 to make an iPhone.

mystery poster

June 4th, 2012
3:38 pm

Even at 100% profit, you would pay $100.