Compare Prepaid iPhones from Straight Talk, Virgin Mobile and Cricket
The beloved and iconic iPhone has finally reached every major US Prepaid carrier so now there is no reason to be stuck with that $100 a month contract plan. Here we compare the available iPhones for the 3 major prepaid providers Straight Talk, Virgin Mobile and Cricket.
I like the Virgin Mobile iPhone because you can pick up an iPhone 4 (8gb) for $350 yet have an excellent calling area which is provided by Sprint. Granted you can get one from Cricket for $250 with a mail in rebate but the Cricket calling area is very limited.Check Virgin Mobile iPhone Availability
Available iPhones: Virgin Mobile offers the 8GB iPhone 4 for $350 and the 16GB iPhone 4S for $449.99
Calling Area: The Virgin Mobile calling area is provided by Sprint. Check the Virgin Mobile Calling area
Storage Capacity: 8gb and 16gb models
Technology CDMA only so does not use a SIM card. 3g data speeds.
Cons: The phones are locked to Virgin Mobile so it is not an unlocked phone. This means the phones will only work with Virgin Mobile so you cannot use it with another carrier like Verizon.
Recommendation The price is right and the Virgin plans are probably the most flexible of the bunch. Virgin Mobile is probably the best choice if want iPhone on a budget. With the Virgin Mobile iPhone you can use their lowest $35 plan with 300 any time minutes and still get unlimited data. I would recommend the Virgin plan if the service is available in your area. If you think you may leave the prepaid world at some point, then you may want to skip Virgin and go with Straight Talk (see details below).
Straight Talk offers a full line of iPhones. They have everything from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5. Additionally, phones are available in either CDMA or GSM depending on your calling area. One final and very important feature about the Straight Talk iPhones is that they are factory unlocked. So while the phones are full priced, they can be used with other carriers if you decide to leave Straight Talk. Check Straight Talk iPhone Availability
Available iPhones Straight Talk offers a full line of iPhones. This includes the 8GB iPhone 4 and 16GB 4s. Additionally, they are the only major US prepaid carrier to offer the iPhone 5 in all GBs (16gb to 64gb). Additionally, they are available in both GSM and CDMA but this depends on your calling area and phone availability. Straight Talk has preference to GSM and will send you a CDMA if GSM is sold out and your calling area supports CDMA. iPhones are offered in both black and white. Check Straight Talk iPhone Prices
Calling Area: The Straight Talk plan offers the best coverage area because they use either Verizon, Sprint, TMobile or AT&T depending on your calling area.
Storage Capacity: 8gb ,16gb , 32gb and 64gb models.
Technology GSM and CDMA phones available. Note that CDMA does not use a SIM card. 3g and limited 4g data speeds.
Cons: The only con with Straight Talk is that the phones are full priced so the cheapest iPhone is $450.
Recommendation Straight Talk offers the widest selection of iPhones on the prepaid market and phones are unlocked so can be used on other carriers. I would opt for Straight Talk if you think you may go contract at some point or if you just want the flexibility of an unlocked phone. Be aware that with Straight Talk you can only use the $45 unlimited plan though. Straight Talk is by far the best prepaid service provider in the US because they offer the best overall coverage.
Cricket is my least favorite prepaid provider because their coverage is just so limited. That said, they have the cheapest iPhones for prepaid on the market as they offer mail in rebates so you can actually pick up an iPhone 4 for less than $300. Check Cricket iPhone Availability
Available iPhones: 8GB iPhone 4 in both black and white, 16gb iPhone 4s in both black and white and 16GB iPhone 5 in black, slate, white and silver. Check Cricket iPhone Prices
Calling AreaCricket proprietary calling area.
Storage Capacity: 8gb, 16gb and 32 gb models available.
Technology CDMA only so does not use a sim card. 3g data speeds.
Cons: The con here is that the phones are locked to Cricket and the Cricket calling area is quite limited so is not nationwide coverage. The Cricket calling plan is also the most expensive of the bunch at $55 for unlimited. Finally, even if you get the iPhone 5, you still only get 3g data.
RecommendationIf you are on a budget and have Cricket coverage, then it's definitely worth it.