Could Boost Mobile be in line for the iPhone too?

It turns out that Cricket might not be the only US prepaid carrier to offer the Apple iPhone. While Cricket will get it sooner than any other prepaid carrier — June 22, just under three weeks from now — they could be followed in generally short order by Boost Mobile. The site Techno Buffalo has a “trusted source” who claims that the Sprint subsidiary will begin offering the device in September. While the rumor is nothing certain yet — and another source called it “purely fiction” — it’s an interesting concept for a number of reasons. Sprint, as we’ve learned, has an enormous commitment to the iPhone: $20 billion to cover 30.5 million iPhones in four years. They’re going to have to unload as many as they can. Of course, this fall we’re supposedly going to get a new iPhone, which Sprint will undoubtedly offer. What, then, of its iPhone 4S stock? The source who called the Boost iPhone rumor purely fiction offers up this rationale: “Why would Boost start carrying the current iPhone right as the new one is launched?” The question fundamentally misunderstands the prepaid market. Prepaid carriers do not get new high-end smartphones. What they get is a mix of former high-end phones that have fallen to the middle tier, and a slew of new mid-range and low-end smartphones. Apple, of course, does not offer a mid-tier or low-end smartphone. Instead, they offer their previous models to fill those niches. Given both of these market realities, it actually seems likely that Boost would carry the iPhone 4S after Apple announces the iPhone 5. It would fit with their target audience, and it would fit Apple’s model of offering older models as cheaper alternatives to the new new thing. If the iPhone does indeed reach Boost later this year, the biggest question will involve its pricing tier. Will Boost really offer it on the current Android plan, which costs $55 per month? Further, customers could have the iPhone for as little as $40 per month, provided they’ve paid their bills on time for 18 months. If this is indeed the case, then Boost’s offering will trump that of Cricket. If not, they’ll be on a similar tier. In either case, it will be significant in the advancement of prepaid services. We’ll await further word on this. Chances are we won’t hear a peep out of Boost or Sprint until we’re much closer to the anticipated release date. ]]>

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