/// Leap Wireless, AKA Cricket, to Offer Prepaid iPhone Starting Next Month
Leap Wireless said on Thursday that it will start offering the iPhone next month, becoming the first prepaid carrier in the U.S. to do so. The company, which sells service under the brand Cricket, will offer service for $55 a month including data, texting and calling, though data speeds will be slowed once a user has consumed 2.3GB of data in a month. The plans, cheaper than those at traditional carriers, come with a higher upfront cost. Cricket is charging $499.99 for a 16GB iPhone 4S or $399.99 for the 8GB iPhone 4, with both models going on sale June 22. Those prices are still lower than the amount typically charged for an unlocked iPhone, however. “Our customers want the best products available and we are excited to bring iPhone to our pre-paid consumers with an industry leading $55 per-month service plan,” Leap CEO Doug Hutcheson said in a statement. “Launching iPhone is a major milestone for us and we are proud to offer iPhone customers attractive nationwide coverage, a robust 3G data network and a value-packed, no-contract plan.” Leap is investing heavily to be able to make the move. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, the company said it has signed a three-year deal with Apple that requires the company to buy roughly $900 million worth of devices over three years. The deal begins when the company starts selling the iPhone and the minimum commitment increases moderately over each year of the deal.