Cricket first U.S. carrier to offer iPhone on pre-pay

A US mobile telecoms company has been become the first carrier on the Star-Spangled side of the pond to offer pre-paid iPhone deals to its customers.

Cricket Communications, a subsidiary of Leap Wireless, will become the first pre-paid carrier in the States to offer to the iPhone 4 and 4S to customers under the terms of an existing no-contract unlimited voice, text, and data smartphone price plan costing in the region of £35 a month ($55).

The trade-off is inevitably that the handsets cost more than they do on contract service - a 16GB 4S model will cost over £325 ($499.99) with an 8GB running around £260 ($399.99).

Apple said that it hopes the new deal and its move into the mass market will appeal to mobile users who may wish to own one of its hugely popular handsets without being tied to a contract for years at a time.

"By making iPhone available on pre-paid plans through Cricket Wireless, we are making the best smartphone more accessible to an even broader market," Cupertino said in a statement.

The iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 smartphones will be available online and in Cricket-owned stores and deal across the United States from 22 June. Cricket currently boasts around 6.2 million customers across 3G and 4G services.

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