Cricket Will Sell The First Prepaid iPhones In The United States Starting June 22

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The crew of carriers that have been allowed to sell the iPhone has been growing steadily over the past few months, but today’s announcement from Cricket Communications wasn’t one most us expected to see any time soon.

They revealed earlier this morning that they will start selling the iPhone 4 and 4S sans contract starting on June 22, making them the first prepaid carrier in the country to do so.

If you’re not terribly familiar with Cricket or their plans, I can’t blame you — with roughly 7 million users, they’re the seventh largest wireless carrier in the United States behind the Big 4, MetroPCS, and U.S. Cellular. Nevertheless, they hope to rope budget-conscious customers in by offering the iPhones with their $55 Unlimited plan, though there’s a catch. Users will only be able to use 2.3GB of data bandwidth at full speed before getting throttled.

Of course, when it comes to buying prepaid, the hardware is much more expensive since there’s no hefty subsidy to take the sting out of the price tag. In this case, an 8GB iPhone 4 will set customers back $399, while the 16GB iPhone 4S can be had for $499. Sadly, there’s no sign of the 32GB model anywhere, so people who take the plunge may have to be more thoughtful about what they throw on their new device.

Nabbing the iPhone may seem like a coup especially for a carrier like Cricket, but rumors of the iPhone making its way to a prepaid provider have been brewing for years now. The prime suspect for a while was Sprint-owned Virgin Mobile, which makes sense considering the relationship we now know Apple and Sprint had at the time, but Cricket and parent company Leap Wireless seem to have been a more receptive target.