Leap To Offer Prepaid iPhone Plans For $55/Month

If you want an iPhone but don’t want to sign up for a two-year contract, you’ve been out of luck. But the popular device is about to cross over into the world of pre-paid wireless plans when it makes its debut on the Leap Wireless network on June 22.

The Leap plan is $55/month and includes unlimited voice and data calls and what the company labels as “unlimited” data, but which is actually throttled after 2.3GB/month.

The catch is that you need to pay for your iPhone than you would if you were a new customer — or cashing in an upgrade — with one of the major post-paid carriers.

Leap customers would need to pay $499.99 for the 16GB 4S (Apple charges $649 for an unlocked 16GB 4S). An 8GB iPhone 4 is also being made available for $399.99.

You also only get access to Leap’s 3G network. Depending on the current network availability in your neck of the woods, that may not be a change.

If you’re interested, the company starts taking pre-orders June 15.

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  1. That guy. says:

    Pay full price for your phone? OMG!

  2. Onesnap says:

    Making an iPhone into a burner phone just seems like a waste. Also, that’s a full price phone and a plan only $5 less than my current plan (I’m grandfathered in to the unlimited data from the first iPhone plan with AT&T).

  3. Bluth_Cornballer says:

    So Leap is Cricket Wireless? If so, they’re coverage is pretty decent in my area.

    • djdanska says:

      Keep in mind that in many of the areas they serve, they use aws cdma. The iphone will NOT work in those areas on network and will roam on sprint. BIG areas like chicago.

  4. Lyn Torden says:

    I want the unlocked version that isn’t jailed.

  5. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    And that’s a good deal? Is it just me, or is $55 a month a shitload of money to shell out just so you can walk around glued to your iPhone all day? People really pay that much for this ‘convenience’, huh? I’ve seen some plans for over $100. Isn’t that like a [used] car payment? For a phone plan? Jesus.

    • jeepguy57 says:

      My iPhone has simplified my life in so many ways, its completely worth the monthly fee for a data plan. From waking up (its my alarm clock) and throughout the entire day, it helps me in so many ways – GPS, camera, photo album, notepad, grocery list, weather report, news, address book, etc. etc. etc.

      • JennQPublic says:

        This. All of the conveniences of modern life, stuffed into a pocket. So worth the expense.

        (P.S. You forgot music- iPod, Pandora, and Slacker. And in a pinch, flashlight.)

    • angelmvm says:

      When’s the last time you bought a car?

    • angelmvm says:

      When’s the last time you bought a car?

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Can someone explain prepaid plans to me?

    Verizon, for example, has a prepaid plan of $50 and it says unlimited talk, text, and web.

    Yet they have traditional plans that, if you try to match that “unlimited’ claim, cost significantly more than $50. Like, two or three times as much.

    This seems like every person should just use prepaid. What am I missing? What is the catch?

    • sirwired says:

      Prepaid plans do not include phones; this is the main reason they are cheaper than post-paid plans.

      That said, if you feel no need to get a new phone every two years, or if you feel comfortable just buying a phone off of eBay (new or used), they may be a great deal, depending on your usage.

    • Bluth_Cornballer says:

      Traditionally, it’s the phones. On a contract network such as Verizon or AT&T, you have a large selection of phones to pick from when you sign up. The price of fancier high-tech models are subsidized via a costlier per-month plan that you’re roped into for a 2-year period.

      On the pay-as-you-go plans, the cost of the phones are not subsidized. You pay a higher up-front cost when you buy your phone, and that phone probably isn’t going to be as nice as the options you have with a contract plan. Pay as you go traditionally uses a lesser network with most carriers. For instance, when the folks on Verizon are using 4G, most prepaid users are stuck on 3G.

      If you have to have all the bells and whistles and the fastest speeds, prepaid isn’t for you. If you just need a phone that works and want to save money month to month without a contract, then prepaid is the way to go.

    • Willow16 says:

      With the Verizon prepaid plan, you can’t use smart phones – only feature phones so it’s not that great a deal.
      http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/prepay/processPrePayRequest.do?&type=ppmonth

      The better prepaid deals are Page Plus, T-Mobile, Boost, Virgin Mobile, etc. I have to say that Page Plus has the best reception because they use Verizon. My kids have Virgin Mobile and it’s just okay but fine for them. I currently have the T-Mobile $30/month (100 minutes/unlimited text/5 gig data) and that works fine for me but I have heard people do have issues with coverage.

      • Dyscord says:

        I have Virgin Mobile. For $35 I get 350 minutes and unlimited data and text. That plan is perfect because I don’t talk much, but I use a lot of data.

        For a similar plan on verizon, I’d be paying 80 bucks for 450 minutes and 5GB of data. If I want unlimited text, then tack on an extra 10 bucks. It’s ridiculous IMO

        • One-Eyed Jack says:

          I also have Virgin Mobile. My bill is around $42/month for 1200 minutes, unlimited data & text. I have a Droid. The only drawback I’ve found is there is no roaming whatsoever, so you’re either on their tower (usually Sprint), or you’re not.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      (Mostly to add to what’s already been said here)
      Verizon does have prepaid data plans with smartphones here in Phoenix, but it’s $79.99 a month.
      Net10 and Straight Talk (Walmart) have service contracts with all the U.S. major cell carriers. With Straight Talk, for instance, you can get a phone tied either to AT&T, or TMobile or Verizon or Sprint. You can look at the phone’s packaging and/or online to determine which phone is on which plan. Then you buy your phone (smartphones are included). Straight Talk’s plans are $30 for limited plan, $45 for unlimited everything.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I don’t know about the others, but I quizzed Net10 about their $50 a month no contract prepaid plan. It’s not completely unlimited, but it offers 50,000 prepaid minutes a month. That’s a hell of a lot of minutes. And you can use them for talk, text or data. They do have an Android smartphone for around $179 to $199, and they go on sale periodically at big box stores that offer them like Walmart and Kmart. The only catch is that it is autopay, but the CSR said you can set it up so it debits at the same day each month, which is whenever you set it. So you do it on the 25th, and every month it will be on the 25th, for example.

      With the prepaid I have now, as long as I load minutes on my phone before the service days run out, it keeps going. If I don’t, then it goes dead and I lose my number. The most I pay is $30 for 300 minutes and 60 days of service, which averages out to $15 a month. If I pay online, it lets me add extra minutes like 100 more for $10, etc. Coverage is good and I haven’t had any trouble with it at all. The only places I couldn’t get coverage were inside certain buildings and at the Hollywood Bowl. I did have to go out on the balcony at my honey’s apartment in AZ to make a call, but another time I got a call inside, so I think there it might be spotty.

      I can’t recall if there is rollover (I don’t think so) but even if not, there is NO WAY I would use that many minutes for data a month. I prefer to go online with my computer. But this way I could chat when I’m out, check Facebook and email and look stuff up without worrying about eating too many minutes, and, you know, have a smartphone. Or a smart-ER phone. My Net10 Samsung T401G phone with QUERTY keyboard is nice, but it’s a dumbphone.

      You can also switch phone activations. I have an inactive phone that I kept for backup, and if something happened to my Samsung, I could reactivate my LG phone. I’d probably lose my minutes though. But no contract. No ETF. :)

    • who? says:

      When I was shopping for myself, I found that when I added in the subsidized phone, nationwide roaming (yes, I really travel enough to need it), my corporate discount, and the fact that I really wanted 4G, I got the best deal from one of Verizon’s regular plans. I’m also grandfathered into an unlimited plan, so YMMV.

      I also found that the family plans weren’t nearly as good with prepaid.

    • alana0j says:

      Depends on your situation I guess. I have an unlocked, unbranded smartphone I bought from Newegg on AT&T. I have 450 minutes a month (more than enough since I rarely talk on the phone and I have a home phone included in my rent), unlimited data (I pay for the “dumb-phone plan” since my phone’s IMEI is not in AT&T’s database) and unlimited texting. With the company discount I receive, I pay $33.11 per month. I also get 4G service as well as nationwide service.

      But my situation is not common, so sometimes I do think prepaid is a better way to go. But from what I understand, do prepaid plans include nationwide coverage or just local?

    • incident_man says:

      Most prepaid plans offered by Sprint (Boost and Virgin Mobile), Verizon, and AT&T stipulate that the coverage is with their respective towers ONLY. For Boost and Virgin Mobile customers, this is a severe limitation, as Sprint post-paid service allows for roaming on Verizon and US Cellular to fill in the rather large gaps in their coverage. That is the reason why they’re able to offer seemingly “better” plans; they don’t have to worry about paying other carriers for the use of their towers. In the case with Straight Talk, quite frankly, their choices in phones is absolutely dismal…..even for the Android devices they offer online only.

      Another issue with your run-of-the mill prepaid plans is that the customer service is practically non-existent. There’s usually no store you can visit to have your problems fixed; a phone call to an offshore call center is usually your only remedy. When I used to work for Sprint, we could only sell the Virgin and Boost phones and plans, and take payments…..that’s it. Anything else and you were at the mercy of their customer service (or lack thereof) and horrible phone trees.

      Bottom line….one way or another, you get exactly what you pay for.

    • StarKillerX says:

      One thing to watch is for services like Straight Talk is that they say “unlimited web” instead of data and if you check their TOS you’ll find that any streaming can be grounds to terminate your service.

      They might not cancel it if you have a few RSS feeds or use Pandora occasionally, but they could and I couldn’t bring myself to buy one of the outdated crappy androids they offered and spin the wheel in the hopes that they didn’t cancel my account and thus make the phone worthless.

  7. jrwn says:

    $55? I’d do $45.

  8. ScandalMgr says:

    Better still: http://www.republicwireless.com for only $19/month

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      Too bad there’s a waiting list for slots, or whatever they call them. It’s also in the beta testing phase from what I hear. I’m sure the current cell provider overlords will squash this if it puts the tiniest chink in their billions in annual profits.

  9. Serenefengshui says:

    But if you’re not grandfathered-in to a good plan, this could be a great deal. I use less data than that and pay more at T-mobile. This could get me to try an iPhone, assuming Leap works in my area.

    wonder if I can use any old iPhone or if I need to buy theirs? I could be happy with an iPhone 3…

  10. lvdave says:

    Apple and I do NOT get along.. therefore, I do a VirginMobile pre-pay on an LG Android I bought on eBay for under $75 for $35/month, with 300 anytime minutes (I talk VERY little so this is fine) plus “unlimited” data/text.. I absolutely. positively. WILL NOT do phone contracts.. So ATT/TM/Sprint/Verizon can kiss my ……..

    • JJFIII says:

      If you pay Virgin, you are paying Sprint. Quit fooling yourself. Just because it has a different name does not mean you are telling them to kiss your ass. They are laughing at fools who believe they are different.

  11. Bizdady says:

    Can also buy an off contract Iphone used or new and use Straight Talk with their $45 prepaid plan.

  12. crazydavythe1st says:

    So $55/mo + another $28/mo approximately for the cell phone if you figure on upgrading in 18 months…

    That’s really not that much better than AT&T or Verizon. Of course, not many people seem to do the math when they advocate for prepaid plans.

    • bendee says:

      $55/month includes everything except sales tax. If you are buying an iPhone 4 on the big 3, you are still paying $199 for the phone and $36 for the activation fee, for a total of $235. $264 difference with Cricket, or $11/month over the course of a typical 2 year contract, with no early termination fees if you want to leave early.

      There are caveats, mainly network size, but the price is not one of them.

  13. frodolives35 says:

    The prices for mobile phones are ridiculous.Hell you could buy a laptop for some of those prices. If we ever get mobile phones that will work on all networks and the companies stop selling phones the prices will go way down on these overpriced problem prone gadgets.

    • JJFIII says:

      Overpriced? How so? Price is set by what people are willing to pay. People willingly pay the price. That makes them actually under priced in some ways. Who the hell are you to decide what is more important to a person and the way they spend their money. I suppose if somebody came in they could say your pay is overpriced. You are an expense that brings no revenue. There is no such thing in the world as something being over priced unless there is a monopoly.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        The cell phone service markets in the U.S. could be described as an oligopoly. Oligopolies have many of the price-gouging powers of a straight-up monopoly. When it comes down to the user experience, there aren’t huge differences among AT&T, Sprint, TMobile and Verizon. So far as the rest of your comments are concerned, I’ll just assume your pubes haven’t grown in yet.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      I could also buy a TV for those prices! or a lawn mower. or a cross country plane ticket. So how are laptops related to cellphones again?

  14. C. Ogle says:

    considering I pay $110 a month for my single line 4Gs, this is tempting.

    the only thing stopping me would be having to pay 16 months prorated ETF, then remembering how dismal Cricket’s customer service was the last time I used them, even though the service was good for the most part.

  15. NeverLetMeDown says:

    “If you want an iPhone but don’t want to sign up for a two-year contract, you’ve been out of luck.”

    Completely untrue. You can get an iPhone with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint today, without a contract. It’ll just cost you full price.

    • yankinwaoz says:

      The burner with buying an unlocked iPhone with AT&T (I don’t know about the others) is that they refuse to give you a discount on the service. AT&T still charges you the same price as a locked phone under contract.

      Bottom line: With AT&T, buying unlocked means you have to pay for the phone twice.