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The Apple iPhone goes prepaid, courtesy of Cricket

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(Read caption) The Apple iPhone 4S.

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Cricket Communications, a subsidiary of Leap Wireless, will become the first prepaid carrier in the US to offer the Apple iPhone

Here's how it works: Beginning on June 22, you can march into any Cricket store and plop down $500 for a new iPhone 4S or $400 for a new iPhone 4. Cricket voice and data plans, meanwhile, will set you back approximately $55 a month. In exchange, you don't have to worry about the hassle of a contract. 

Other American carriers want about $300 for the 4S (depending on hard drive size) and $99 for the 4. Monthly service plans range from $80 to well more than $100 – plus there's a two-year contract. Buying an iPhone without that contract costs north of $600.

Until recently, of course, consumers had essentially two options when purchasing an iPhone: paying a fortune for an unlocked model, or signing a two-year contract with Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T. "Our customers want the best products available,” Doug Hutcheson, chief executive officer of Leap, said in a statement. "Launching iPhone is a major milestone for us." 


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