Prepaid carrier Cricket is joining the big three in the US (Verizon, AT&T and Sprint), after having agreed a deal with Apple to add the iPhone 4 and 4S to their inventory.
This is the first carrier to offer the iPhone on a prepaid basis in the US, without a contract. It will cost $55 a month, a fee which includes unlimited calls and SMS as well as ‘unlimited’ data (there is a cap of 2.3GB, after which internet speed is throttled).
Interestingly, Cricket offers the iPhones for $150 less than Apple, $399 for the 4 and $499 for the 4S, which is surprising given that no contracts are involved and that the phones are unlocked. It could be a good way to pick up an iPhone on the cheap, even though it’s probably not that simple.
The deal involves Cricket buying $900 million worth of iPhone hardware over the next three years, with the carrier also intending to carry new iPhones as and when they are released.
Cricket is seen as a regional carrier in the U.S, and with only 6.2 million customers, they are small compared to Verizon or AT&T. However they’ve definitely entered the big time with this latest deal, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Update: Apple has released a statement to The Loop confirming this report:
“By making iPhone available on pre-paid plans through Cricket Wireless, we are making the best smartphone more accessible to an even broader market in the US,” Apple representative Natalie Harrison told The Loop.