US carriers Cricket and C-Spire today announced that they will become some of the first pre-paid operators worldwide to offer Apple’s new iPhone 5, making it available to select customers from September 28.
Both companies, which haven’t made available any further details on its launch, invite consumers to visit the iPhone 5 page on its websites (Cricket; C-Spire), but pricing is not yet known. In fact, they don’t appear to have even offered way for customers to sign up for more information.
Cricket became the first US carrier to offer the iPhone 4S on prepay plans in May 2012, and now continues that trend with its availability of its successor.
When it launched the iPhone 4S, Cricket allowed customers to opt for its no-contract, $55 per month ‘unlimited’ voice, text and data plan for smartphones. With Apple launching the iPhone 5 yesterday, it isn’t known whether Cricket will offer the same no-commitment payment plan, which allows users to cancel at any time, or push prices up higher to offset its cost.
The announcements are interesting, particularly because Apple has previously waited a considerable amount of time after the launch of its older devices until it offered them on a US pre-paid carrier.
With Apple offering the iPhone 4S unlocked for $650, Cricket was able to sell it for $499. Cricket may take a big risk selling the iPhone 5 knowing that its customers could leave the network at any time, but Apple may also be subsidising its cost, ensuring consumers can obtain the device regardless of their mobile subscription.
Apple has yet to announce the cost of an unlocked iPhone 5 in the US, so we may have to wait until preorders begin on September 14 before we see Cricket and C-Spire announce its pricing. The device will go on sale a week later (September 28) than other carriers in the US, suggesting Apple has arranged a different launch plan for pre-paid carriers.