So, the iPhone 5 was announced yesterday. Like they do every year, Apple is calling it the best iPhone ever. It's thinner, lighter, faster, has a better camera and works with LTE 4G networks. On stage at the press gala announcing the new iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook named the US carriers that would be getting the phone on Sept 21st as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
It turns out that's not the whole story on US carrier availability, Prepaid regional operator Leap Wireless announced today that their Cricket Communications subsidiary would begin selling the iPhone 5 on Sept. 28th, just a week after the big boys. There's no word yet on pricing. Cricket sells the 16 GB iPhone 4S for $499.99. Hopefully, the iPhone 5 will be priced the same and the 4S and iPhone 4 which is $399.99 at Cricket will get a price cut.
Because the new iPhone doesn't support the 1700 Mhz CDMA/EVDO band that Cricket uses in many markets, it will undoubtedly only be available in cities like Denver, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Houston, Salt Lake City and Kansas City where Cricket uses the 1900 Mhz band.
As for 4G, Cricket launched an LTE network in Tuscon AZ. Until now, Cricket hasn't offered any LTE phones and just one mobile broadband device. The carrier seems to have lost interest in LTE and hasn't expanded the high speed network past Tuscon. The iPhone 5 does support LTE Band 5
Update: Cricket is actually using Band 4 (AWS) for LTE not Band 5. The CDMA iPhone that Cricket is selling doesn't support Band 4 so it won't get LTE on Cricket's network. Both Cricket and Apple have confirmed that the Cricket iPhone 5 does not work with Cricket's Tuscon LTE network.
Sprint's Virgin Mobile is the only other US prepaid brand selling the iPhone 4 and 4S. There's been no word yet if and when Virgin will get the iPhone5. I suspect that Sprint wants to keep the new iPhone a post paid exclusive for at least a month or so.
Cricket Says Their Prepaid iPhone 4S is Unlocked for International Use
Cricket to be First US Prepaid Operator to Offer iPhones - But Only In PCS Markets