Cricket Offers Contract-Free iPhone

Been craving an iPhone, but resisted signing a long term contract? Regional carrier Cricket, owned by Leap Wireless, is coming to your rescue with the first pre-paid iPhone.

On sale June 22, the phone will cost customers a lot more upfront - $500 for a 16 GB iPhone 4S or $400 for the older iPhone 4, versus $200 or $100 in a subsidized iPhone purchase from Verizon, Sprint and AT&T when you're committing to a two year service contract at $70-$80 a month. 

 But over time, taking Cricket's contract-free service at $55 a month with unlimited talk and text,  the savings of a pre-paid iPhone add up.

 Assuming you never shut off the service, never skip months, a Cricket iPhone would cost $1,719 to own and use for two years, versus $2,775 for a typical iPhone customer on a contract, estimates Cricket. Another plus -  Cricket offers "unlimited data" in its package. though narrows the pipe for slower streaming after you pull down 2.3GB in a billing cycle.

The biggest user concession in going with Cricket is a geographically constrained and less powerful CDMA network. Leap/Cricket is within earshot of  60 million Americans versus 275 million on other carriers.

Pre-sales for the Cricket iPhones (available in white or black) begin on-line June 15th at or 800-853-7682.

You'll be hearing a lot of "it's about time" from pundits about this move, and probably seeing another  bump up of Apple's stock price..  Pre-paid, no-contract phones have become a huge part of the mobile business which Apple has ceded to Google's Android platform until now.