The Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s have hit the prepaid market in a big way with Cricket and Virgin Mobile offering customers a chance at buying Apple's marquee device without the need for a contract from the big three.
But is anyone buying and should they? Yes and Yes!
Later this month cell phone users not wanting to be tied to a long term contract but still wanting to get their hands on one of the hottest phones on the market will have the chance. Cricket, owned by Leap Wireless, and Virgin Mobile, will both be offering the iPhone 4 and 4s as a pre-paid no contract device.
These devices won't come cheap though! Cricket is charging $500 and $400 for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, respectively. While Virgin Mobile is offering the two models for $649 and $549. This is a significantly higher upfront cost for the phone, which can be had right now at one of the big three for as low as $99, but the overall cost might mean big savings in the long run.
Virgin Mobile, will be offering users willing to pay the higher upfront fees, the option of using their cheapest plan priced at $30 a month. With this plant the total cost over two years would be $1,369. At Leap, it's $1,868.99 for their cheapest plan (its plan offers unlimited calling). In comparison, AT&T and Verizon's closest comparable plans would cost $2,359.75 over the life of the service contract (they both offer slightly more minutes than Virgin). That means iPhone customers could save anywhere between $800 and a $1000 over the course of two years. Not to shabby hey!
For users wanting a bit more talk time than the low end Virgin plan the Virgin’s $40 a month plan is a real winner. You don’t get Cricket’s unlimited minutes, you'll get 1200 minuets to be exact. Which is till more than the big carriers, and you’ll pay almost $200 less over the course of 24 months than you would on Cricket. One downside is that customers only get 2.5GB of data before Virgin throttles, or slows down, the wireless connection.
So if you can stomach the large upfront cost, there are some excellent benefits down the line.
Cricket will be offering pre-sales will beginning online June 15 and selling prepaid iPhones beginning on June 22. Virgin Mobile will begin selling their iPhones on June 29th.