prepaid smartphones

Prepaid iPhone
Pay As You Go iPhone?

Ting Prepaid now has "Bring an iPhone 5 to Ting". If you have or want to buy a Sprint network compatible iPhone 5, you can activate it on Ting. Regarding the 5s and 5c, those will come later this year. Learn more from their blog post and see how to activate your iPhone 5 on Ting with this tutorial. As Ting says on their site, the main carriers want to keep the new phones exclusively so they can recoup their investment. The result is that Ting might have to wait up to a year after a phones release before it can be brought over to their network. That's the way this works, but at least you know!

Cricket Wireless has a prepaid iPhone 5!

iphone 5 prepaid pay as you go

Is getting the cheap 8GB model iPhone worth it?

Here is something to consider. First, there is no microSD card expansion on the iPhones. Second, there are many options for free online storage now. Whether it's Google or Microsoft and others, you can find gigabytes of free storage at various place online. This makes a difference because it's not going to be so critical to keep your phone stuffed with videos or images. Keep those in the cloud storage and keep your phone storage for installing apps. If you really want to say money, this is certainly a solution. Check on Google Drive 15GB free or Microsoft Skydrive 7GB free, for starters. I would also suggest that storing file in a cloud means you can access them easier and from other devices. It's a win-win.

The flood gates appear to be opening on the prepaid iPhone bandwagon. Virgin Mobile is offering both the iPhone 4 and 4s. Starting June 29th, you will pay $649 for a 16GB iPhone 4s and $549 for the 8GB iPhone 4. As a refresher, the Virgin Mobile prepaid plans start at $30 a month. We are adding more details so stay tuned! In addition, there are stong rumors out there that in September Boost Mobile will also be adding the iPhone 4 and 4S to their prepaid line-up.

It's also worth mentioning that the iPhone 3GS is showing up at various prepaid carriers. It's cheaper and the iPhone 3GS can sport the latest iOS. It's something worth looking into. We see refurbished iPhone 3GS smartphones at Consumer Cellular and H20 Wireless for around $200.



A first full fledged prepaid iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are coming from Cricket Wireless on June 22. The prepaid iPhone 4S is 16GB and will cost $499 and the 8GB prepaid iPhone 4 will be $399. You need the $55 unlimited montly plan for the iPhone. This is very big news and we think it's the start of many more prepaid iPhone options for you! More details coming up! Check out the Cricket Wireless interactive coverage map here.

Prepaid iPhone FAQ and Guide:

With the growing availability of prepaid iPhones you are like a lot of people contemplating whether it's worth it. The question is, can you save money by going prepaid with an iPhone and opposed to being locked into a couple year contract. At this point you're going to be happy. You can indeed same money! Let's break down a few different comparisons so you can see clearly that saving money is another feature of a prepaid iPhone that makes it a great choice.

Virgin Mobile prepaid iPhone costs:

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4
Cheapest prepaid plan - $30
Cheapest prepaid plan - $30
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,369
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,269
Total Cost for 12 months - $1,009
Total Cost for 12 months - $909


Cricket Wireless prepaid iPhone costs:

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4
Cheapest prepaid plan - $55
Cheapest prepaid plan - $55
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,819
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,719
Total Cost for 12 months - $1,159
Total Cost for 12 months - $1,059


Straight Talk Walmart prepaid iPhone costs:

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4
$649.00 (16GB from Apple Store)
$549 (8GB from Apple Store)
Cheapest prepaid plan - $45
Cheapest prepaid plan - $45
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,729
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,629
Total Cost for 12 months - $1,189
Total Cost for 12 months - $1,089
Note: In order to use an iPhone with Straight Talk, you must have an AT&T or T-mobile compatible GSM iPhone, or an unlocked GSM iPhone. Make sure it operates on compatible frequencies (850 and 1900 MHz). You most likely can find better deals through eBay or for unlocked iPhones that are compatible with the Straight Talk BYOD program.


nTelos prepaid iPhone costs:

iPhone 4S
iPhone 4
$649 (16GB model)
$549 (8GB model)
Cheapest prepaid plan - $55
Cheapest prepaid plan - $55
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,969
Total Cost for 24 months - $1,869
Total Cost for 12 months - $1,309
Total Cost for 12 months - $1209

Note: The nTelos prepaid iPhone plan is unlimited everything.


How a prepaid iPhone compares to a 2 year contract: You want to know if prepaid is a better deal. The answer is yes. If you are looking at AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, you can get the iPhone 4S for $199 on a 2 year contract. However, to get a plan you would be looking at $60/month from AT&T (no messagin add-on), $70/month from Verizon and $70/month from Sprint. Note that the Sprint plan has unlimited everything for that $70/month. Given these numbers, you are going to pay from $1,639 (AT&T) or $1,879 (Verizon or Sprint) for a 2 year contract. Compare those numbers to the above prepaid iPhone prices and decide for yourself.

Differences between Cricket and Virgin Mobile plans: It's important to realize that there is a difference with the two plans. Yes it appears the price difference is a lot but let's break down the plans to make sure the Virgin Mobile plan is right for you. To get that $30 Virgin Mobile prepaid plan you must pay by automatic monthly payments using a credit card, debit card or Paypal account.

Cricket has the prepaid unlimited plan which is why it's $55. The cheapest Virgin Mobile prepaid plan at $30/month has 300 voice minutes. If you went to the Virgin Mobile $40/month prepaid plan you would bump up to 1,200 voice minutes. The Virgin Mobile plans all have unlimited texts. Data, which is the imporant factor especially when buying an iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, is virtually the same on either company. Cricket gives you 2.3GB and Virgin Mobile gives you 2.5GB. You can use more data than that, but your speed will be throttle (slowed down) when you go above these monthly limits.

Coverage Comparison between Cricket and Virgin Mobile: Obviously this should be one of your main considerations. Will you get satisfactory coverage where you live or where you spend most of your time with your new iPhone? Virgin Mobile uses the Sprint network and you can use their coverage map here. Cricket and the prepaid iPhone will have limited coverage. It may not work in your city! You need to check the Cricket website to see if your area will get coverage or not. Cricket coverage map can be found here.

Summary: It's quite possible the Cricket will be forced to offer cheaper prepaid iPhone plans. It appears that there is a big difference in savings between Virgin and Cricket. When you consider Boost Mobile might be entering the prepaid iPhone market, there is going to be even more pressure on the companies to drop their prices. This is great for everyone who is shopping for prepaid smartphones!


About Straight Talk and iPhone:

Yes it's true that you can get a prepaid iPhone. You will be using the Straight Talk sim and plans. Currently they don't offer a lot of flexibility for data and you will just be able to use mobile internet. That means no video or music streaming or downloading. Straight talk says unlimited but in reality you have about 2GB or you're possibly getting cut off.

What iPhone models will work? Here is a quote from a Straight Talk representative:

"As long as it is an AT&T, T-Mobile compatible GSM phone or an unlocked domestic GSM phone, it will work with the BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) Program"

How much data do you get with the Straight Talk prepaid plans? Great question. Here is where it gets tricky. You get unlimited, but it's web access data. They have a list of things that you're not supposed to do with data like streaming and downloading. We have a direct quote from the policy which you should read. It's on our dedicated Straight Talk page.

What do you need to do? We can tell you it takes a bit of tweaking, but it certainly can be done. There are a few excellent guides online which we will direct you to, but first here are a few faqs regading the illusive but highly demanded prepaid iPhone.

  • you need a Straight Talk sim card which will cost you about $14.99 although you can find cheaper on eBay.
  • if you've heard that you need to jailbreak your iPhone that isn't true. You need to jailbreak only if you want MMS picture messaging.
  • you can do this for any iPhone model
  • your iPhone needs to be unlocked, however if it's from ATT, it does not need to be unlocked. A factory unlocked iPhone will also work.

Visit these fantastic tutorials here and here.

Prepaid iPhone News & Rumors:

April 9, 2012 - Another option worth looking at for prepaid iPhone fans is H2O Wireless. You're looking at paying $50 per month prepaid data plan giving you 250MB and unlimited picture messaging or the $60 per month prepaid data plan giving you 1GB of data. You are going to find the best tutorials and guides for setting up an unlocked iPhone on the H2O Wireless website. The iPhone you need is an AT&T and FCC approved GSM 850/900/1900, dual, tri, or quad-band, unlocked GSM Phone.

February 6 - Not sure what to say about this news story. There are rumblings about the possibility of a prepaid iPhone. We've seen this story on so does that mean finally the prepaid iPhone has arrived?

There is a story today in that indicates Straight Talk (Walmarts exclusive prepaid brand) will launch a SIM card that will work in any AT&T or T-Mobile GSM phone. The new sim card would offer unlimited prepaid voice and data for $45 per month.

In other words, soon you might be able to use the iPhone with Straight Talk. That's pretty big news. Getting a used iPhone from eBay for use with Straight Talk could become a huge market soon.

AT&T charges $90/month for 450 minutes of voice, unlimited text and 3GB of data compared to unlimited voice/text and data for half the price at $45/month [on Straight Talk]. There is nothing on the Straight Talk website or in our discussions with their customer service representatives that indicate there is any cap or throttling that occurs when using Straight Talk. AT&T customers could cut their bill down to $70 if they eliminated the text part of the bundle but this is still a material upcharge from StraightTalk’s $45 rate plan. The disparity in pricing between Straight Talk’s $45/month and AT&T’s is simply too great to ignore and Straight Talk is clearly indicating that the customer will be using the same network. -- source:

If it's real then you are going to hear a lot more about it over the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned everyone!


Previous 2011 Updates:

October - Update Oct 4: Sorry folks, the Apple iPhone was an updated iPhone 4 to 4S. Nothing regarding a prepaid iPhone at this big announcement event. Trust us, we're disappointed in a big way also. :-(

We truly want to believe that there is going to be a prepaid iPhone. In fact there are likely millions of us who want one. As you may or may not know, the iPhone 5 announcement is just a few days away and guess what? The rumors keep persisting about another iPhone 4 looking phone which is "cheap". Obviously the word "cheap" indicates that a prepaid iPhone is at least possible. It's also possible that an iPhone 4S is a cheaper model for other areas of the world that aren't able to afford expensive iPhone models. You can read a translated article about the production of a mystery iPhone 4 in Brasil on Gizmodo Brazil.

iphone 4s

August - Well there is plenty of news about a new iPhone 5. Rumors shall we say? Thrown into the Apple mix of rumors is of a iPhone 4 with 8GB memory which will be a cheaper model. Interesting. Nothing official and nobody has suggest that might be a prepaid iPhone, so we will say it! Perhaps this budget iPhone 4 could in fact be a prepaid model. It makes sense if they make it cheaper that it might be able to crack into the prepaid market. This story has huge potential if it's true. Read more at CNET and Reuters. The stories indicate that a budget iPhone 4 would be going to emerging markets. That wouldn't include North America, but nothing is confirmed at this point.

March 3 - As we've mentioned on our homepage, this week had some exciting news about the possibility of a prepaid iPhone coming to the market. It was this week that Apple spoke officially about the prepaid smartphone market and how a prepaid iPhone might see the light of day.

prepaid iphone

The fact that a pay as you go iPhone is more than rumor and speculation is a really great development. Based on what Apple said this week, it sounds like the company is at least open to the idea of having a prepaid iPhone. The quotes from Tim Cook which including Apple working hard to "figure out" the prepaid market, spending "huge energy" analyzing China and its "classic prepaid market", and that Apple realizes that "price is a big factor in the prepaid market" all seem to point to the obvious. The prepaid iPhone is coming. It's just a matter of when.

A few things to consider about a world that has a prepaid iPhone. The fact with the iPhone is that it's an amazing piece of hardware. That hardware comes at a cost. In fact smartphones are based on amazing technology and hardware and that doesn't come cheap. It's been a large reason that a lot of prepaid smartphones have been slow to the market. So when you consider the cost for Apple with the iPhone itself, you must realize it's these contracts with service providers that offsets a lot of the costs of the hardware.

So what is the answer to getting a prepaid iPhone into the marketplace? It would appear, based on what Apple said this week, that a cheaper model of iPhone could be released as a prepaid iPhone. Would that disappoint people out there? Probably not or at least likely not provided the price point was fair for what you get. Apple seems more inclined to open themselves up to greater market share. A prepaid iPhone would certainly open the doors for a lot more people out there to own an Apple phone.

prepaid iphone appleThis recent interview with Tim Cook (current sit in as head of Apple) which happened this week had a few tell tale comments. Apple is apparently open to the idea of cheaper version of some of their products. He specifically said that Apple doesn't want to just be for the rich. That sounds optimistic so far but it gets better.

He later says that Apple has plans to enter the prepaid market. Add this to recent rumors out there that Apple is developing a smaller version of the iPhone. It is also said to be buttonless. Those details are only rumor at this point. When you combine the rumor with the quotes about Apple interested in the prepaid market, you can put it together. It certainly sounds to us like a prepaid iPhone is around the corner.

Prepaid iPhone Means Losing What?

The rumor on the internet is that this new iPhone will be this entry model for the prepaid phone market. The key is in low cost smartphones remember. If Apple goes out of there way to take the iPhone, shrink it and remove expensive hardware, viola, the prepaid iPhone is born. Ah, but the rumors about a smaller iPhone version for the prepaid market were all but squashed by another Apple insider. They counter arguments for a smaller iPhone was that it doesn't cost more money to make a bigger iPhone, apps are designed for a specific size screen and the usability of a smaller screen is not ideal. So expect this new prepaid iPhone to feature less fancy components like cameras and storage.

So what about a name of this prospective prepaid iPhone? People over this and last month have talked about this being the iPhone Nano. Possibly, but what about the consumer confusion with the iPod Nano? Does Apple really want two Nano's in different product categories? Think think Apple is pretty smart and a prepaid iPhone Nano is likely not the top choice on their naming lists.

So what about a prepaid iPhone release date? We know Apple makes big splashes and we would expect this to be a small splash along with a bigger splash announcement. So with the iPad 3 speculation for the 2011 holiday season, it's quite possible that a prepaid iPhone could also hit stores at that time.

Never second guess what Apple is capable of. A prepaid iPhone would be a smash hit. Think of all the apps! They obviously do things right, which means it has to mean profit. And for this prepaid iPhone to take flight, they will need to ensure maximum profits. Tweaking, reducing and cutting costs while still maintaining excellence is the only reason it hasn't be unveiled yet.

Apps Make Prepaid iPhone Make Sense (pun intended)

Apple will be putting a lot of effort into the prepaid iPhone line for one reason. It's all about Apps. The Apps are the key to longevity and success with the mobile devices of today. The more money for the App developers the more likely they will work on a Apple App vs. an Android App. So think about a prepaid iPhone and how that could really increase the users of Apple Apps. It's a massive yet under realized potential that Apple is yet to utilitize. Obviously with the head honcho talking about the prepaid market, Apple has everything to gain in terms of Apps users rather than cashing in on the hardware itself. Just wait and see but I think I'm right. Apple cares about getting out a prepaid iPhone simply to expand their App domination.

Stay tuned with us as we follow this exciting story in 2011.

Please Add Your Thoughts About
The Upcoming Prepaid iPhone


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Where can you currently buy
a prepaid iPhone?

Virgin Mobile (as of June 29)

virgin iphone 4


Cricket Wireless (as of June 22)

cricket iphone 4


Straight Talk (setup required)

straight talk iphone


nTelos (added July 7, 2012)


Prepaid iPhone Poll


Summary of Current Prepaid Smartphones:

(see homepage for updated list)

Face it. The iPhone is a brilliant piece of hardware. The other phone manufacturers have been catching up but there is still a lot to like about the iPhone.

So what about a cheaper iPhone. How is this possible? What hardware changes could you like with not having for the sake of getting that infamous prepaid iPhone? Share your thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Check out these iPhone 4 photos and think. Think hard about what a prepaid iPhone is going to look like and what Apple will have to sacrifice in the name of cost.


prepaid iphone


prepaid iphone from apple



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