Leap Wireless, parent company of Cricket, has announced that it will be the first mainland U.S. carrier to sell the iPhone on a prepaid, no-contract basis, offering "unlimited" talk, text, and data for $55 per month. A company called Open Mobile has been selling no-contract iPhones in Puerto Rico for a while now. Users have also been able to buy unlocked iPhones and use them with SIM cards from Straight Talk wireless.
The cost of the phone will be significantly higher than contract-subsidized prices: the 16GB iPhone 4S is $500 and the 8GB iPhone 4 is $400. Those who already have an iPhone but want to switch to Cricket will still need to purchase a new phone; Cricket's network is based on CDMA and won't work with existing iPhones. Those interested in taking advantage of Cricket's iPhone deal will be able to join starting Friday, June 22, but the service will only work in areas that have Leap's network: Houston, Austin, Portable, Pittsburgh, Denver and Salt Lake City.
While the $55 per month plan offers unlimited texts and talk time, "unlimited" data isn't actually unlimited. Users will experience data throttling after using 2.3GB each month. This means avoiding streaming video and excessive audio streaming unless connected to a Wi-Fi network. According to AT&T, however, majority of users fall well under this 2.3GB cap so this may not be a concern for most people.
If you're interested in a prepaid iPhone with Cricket, you can sign up to receive email alerts as June 22nd draws closer.