For those that have been waiting to purchase a prepaid iPhone – your day has finally come. Judging by the (short) lines of people that camped out, it seems that this was quite an anticipated launch. No longer do users have to be tied down to an AT&T or Verizon contract in order to secure an iPhone at a discounted price complemented by an economical cellular plan that can be cancelled and reactivated at any time.
Since bright and early Friday morning, Cricket Communications has been selling the iPhone 4 as well as the 4S to customers on a prepaid plan. This marks the debut of a prepaid iPhone, as customers were forced in the past to either pay full price to pay for service by the month or sign a contract.
For $55 per month, users can receive unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB of data (take that, Verizon and AT&T – not just 2GB, but a whole 2.5 gigs…). Of course, as is the nature with a prepaid cell phone, this rate is paid in advance with no potential for overages or unforeseen fees.
Buyers get the choice (technically a “double choice,” since there are black/white color options) of a 16GB iPhone 4S for $499.99 or an 8GB iPhone 4 for $399.99. Solely these base models are offered; higher storage capacities are not available on a prepaid basis for the time being.
Cricket will retain its exclusivity over the prepaid iPhone until June 29, when Virgin Mobile, owned by Sprint, will offer similar plans. This leaves T-Mobile as the only major U.S. carrier that is not offering the iPhone because of its network structure’s incompatibility.
Although the next iPhone is expected within the coming months, I would expect that Apple would delay the release of offering it to the prepaid market as they did this time around. This move would be in order to give priority to the major U.S. carriers as well as the contract model