Coverage Comparison between Cricket and Virgin Mobile: Obviously this should be one of your main considerations. Will you get satisfactory coverage where you live or where you spend most of your time with your new iPhone? Virgin Mobile uses the Sprint network and you can use their coverage map . Cricket and the prepaid iPhone will have limited coverage. It may not work in your city! You need to check the Cricket website to see if your area will get coverage or not. Cricket coverage map can be found .
Summary: It's quite possible the Cricket will be forced to offer cheaper prepaid iPhone plans. It appears that there is a big difference in savings between Virgin and Cricket. When you consider Boost Mobile might be entering the prepaid iPhone market, there is going to be even more pressure on the companies to drop their prices. This is great for everyone who is shopping for prepaid smartphones!
Phones are more expensive
While the monthly plans for prepaid iPhones are much cheaper than plans from the major carriers, that situation is reversed when buying the phone itself. The major carriers subsidize the price of the phone, meaning they pay Apple the full price of the phone and then discount it to customers to entice them to sign two-year contracts. Since prepaid carriers don't have contracts, they have to charge closer to full price for the phones. That means a 16GB from a prepaid carrier will cost around $450, as opposed to $99 from a carrier that requires you to sign a contract. Big difference.