The Future of Smartphones on No-Contract Carriers: Cricket Wants WP7 and iPhone

The big carriers naturally have the newest and ostensibly best smartphones available. However, smaller, regional carriers that often have no-contract plans want in on the fun. After all, the future of phones is smartphones so they cannot afford to get left behind. Cue Cricket Wireless. The company relies on roaming deals to provide nationwide coverage, but that doesn’t seem to phase it. It wants a CDMA iPhone model and Windows Phone 7 (WP7) phones.

With the rumors of a CDMA compatible iPhone heating up and even the Wall Street Journal claiming that Apple is producing one for early next year, an iPhone on Verizon seems like a done deal. Cricket Wireless uses CDMA technology as well (as does Sprint) but unlike Verizon and Sprint, does not subsidize its phones. That is the downside to pay as you go plans. Will any of Cricket’s customers even be able to afford an iPhone without it being heavily subsidized? I really don’t see its customers paying upwards of $600 just for an iPhone when AT&T will sell you one for $200. Sure, a contract is a contract, but with smartphones costing more than many laptop computers, having a contract makes sense.

The WP7 idea from Cricket Wireless seems a little more reasonable. However, whether or not Microsoft and a manufacturer can or are even willing to make a cheap WP7 smartphone remains to be seen. I would doubt to see anything solid on this until next year sometime. Again the same problem crops up: who wants to pay over $200 for a smartphone without contract that has much lower specs than what you can get with a contract on a carrier that subsidizes.

However, pay as you go customers are certain to be wanting smartphones and the company is rolling some out. Can Cricket Wireless and other, regional carriers that do not subsidize phones compete as smartphone prices keep rising? AT&T just changed its policy to make early upgrades cost $200 instead of $75 and cited rising smartphone costs as the reason.

So there you have it. Cricket Wireless and certainly other, regional carriers want smartphones. Cheap, dated BlackBerry models don’t look to be cutting it. Android, iPhone and maybe even WP7 are what is in right now. The question is, will people be able to afford them? Cricket Wireless iPhone anyone?

Tags: , , , ,