Apple enters some new territory in June: The prepaid market. Via AppleInsider:
On June 22, Cricket will sell the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S contract-free for $500, in addition to the 8-gigabyte iPhone 4 for $400. Both will be compatible with the carrier’s “unlimited” $55-per-month talk, text and data plan.
Customers will be able to buy both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 in Cricket company-owned stores and select dealers in nearly 60 markets.
I know what you’re thinking: “Whoah, those iPhones are cheap!” And they are, a full $150 off what you would pay for an unlocked, no-contract iPhone 4 & 4S from Apple. I can guarantee you that Cricket isn’t paying less than big carriers for the iPhone. Even though they don’t have a contract to hold customers to, Cricket is banking on two things. First, that iPhone buyers will stick with the company for a long time. Industry stats support that assumption, with iPhone users the most loyal to their carriers. Second, Cricket is a CDMA carrier, so unlocking the phone to use on other networks, while technically possible, is not as easy as unlocking a GSM iPhone. Makes much more sense to buy a used iPhone GSM iPhone than dealing with the hassle.
For Cricket, the risk of someone buying the iPhone from them and using it on another network is far outweighed by the number of customers that will flock to the company’s $55 “unlimited” plan.