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Verizon, Cricket Add Twists To Today’s iPhone Launch

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus went on sale today with a couple more twists.

Verizon is launching the phones on an installment-payment plan that incorporates the carrier’s first annual-upgrade plan, and Cricket Wireless became the first prepaid service brand to offer a new iPhone on the same day as postpaid carriers.

The developments follow T-Mobile’s announcement that it is offering a 16GB iPhone 6s on lease for $5/month and Sprint’s announcement of a $1/month lease.

At Verizon, the carrier’s two-year installment plan will include the right to upgrade the phones on an annual basis to a new iPhone. Consumers who choose not to upgrade annually will still have the option to pay off their phones in 24 monthly payments.  “That’s a better option than those lease plans offered by other companies, which can include surprise balloon payments just 18 months into your agreement, or ask you to turn over your phone without getting anything for it,” a spokesperson claimed.

Verizon’s first annual upgrade plan is available only with the new iPhones. And once consumers trade up, they begin making payments on the new model over a new 24-month period, and a new annual-upgrade offer goes into effect. Users also get the option to upgrade once they have paid half of the device’s value and had it for at least six months.

Monthly payment start at $27.08 for the 16GB iPhone 6s and $31.25 for the 16GB 6s Plus.

For its part, Cricket began to offer the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on its website and in select Cricket-brand stores, though it admitted that supplies are “very limited.”

“This isn’t the first time Cricket has offered iPhone,” a spokesperson said. “We’ve had other models before. But it is the first time we’ve been able to launch with the big guys on the first availability date.”

The change “is a nice vote of confidence for no-contract/prepaid, and it helps show how important this segment of the industry has become,” she added. 

Apple “has normally reserved the first day of availability for the postpaid carriers,” the spokesperson added.

Cricket is offering the iPhone 6s 16GB at $649.99, iPhone 6s Plus 16GB at $749.99, and iPhone 6s 64GB at $749.99.