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FreedomPop, Cricket offer new ways to save money on iPhones

FreedomPop, Cricket iPhones
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Love the iPhone but hate the high monthly service price? There are a couple new options coming that could save you money.

Months ago, I told you about new startup from one of the Skype founders called FreedomPop. Among the things FreedomPop is doing is selling a $99 sleeve for the iPhone that’s due out later this summer. But this is no mere protective case for that kind of money.

This sleeve will significantly increase your battery life by up to six hours. And it comes with a freemium offer of half a gigabyte of data for free. (You pay $10 for each additional GB.) That means you can reduce your data plan with your cell phone provider and save yourself a meaningful amount of money with your iPhone — unless you’re on Sprint which has no data cap for now.

Meanwhile, struggling wireless company Cricket has a signed deal to buy $900 million worth of iPhones from Apple. The goal is to launch no contract unlimited talk and text service with a generous amount of data for $55 a month in select zip codes around the country. No word yet on which zip codes those will be. (If you exceed your monthly data limit, you’ll be throttled.)

Because Cricket is no contract, you’ll pay the real unsubsidized prices for the phone, so that means either $399 or $499 depending on which model you get. But the monthly service is almost less than half what you might pay for AT&T and Verizon, both of which average out to be about in the upper $80s or more a month.

Based on what you pay for the Cricket phone, you should be able to figure out when you’ll break even by paying $55 a month to them instead of $80 a month to the big guys.