Beginning on June 22nd, consumers in the United States will be able to purchase a new iPhone to be used alongside prepaid wireless service. Regional carrier Cricket, owned by Leap Wireless, will offer Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 off contract alongside its $55 unlimited talk, text and data plan. Though labeled as unlimited, the plan includes 2.3GB of full-speed data, and speeds will be throttled once that threshold is reached. While the news marks the start of a new chapter for Apple’s current iPhone models, the high hardware cost compared to other prepaid smartphones may be a substantial barrier for many subscribers. Cricket plans to charge $399.99 for the 8GB iPhone 4 and $499.99 for the 16GB version of the iPhone 4S. Apple’s iPhone 3GS is seen as a much more compelling handset for prepaid carriers, which may soon begin offering the 3-year-old device for between $200 and $250 off contract.
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