Choice is a beautiful thing. Case in point is the fact that now you can get Apple’s latest smartphones at mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) without a contract at prepaid prices. Are you ready for unlimited talk, text and data* for a fixed low-cost? Well, the data’s actually limited to a couple gigabytes, but still.

You probably didn’t know that the nation’s first carrier to offer the iPhone on a prepaid basis is Puerto Rico’s Open Mobile went live on May 18.

However, it will be getting some company and soon. According to a Bloomberg writeup, Leap Networks subsidiary Cricket will begin offering the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on a prepaid basis from June 22. As the Apple smartphone is only compatible with a limited subset of the number six US carrier’s network, the rollout will be limited, specifically to Houston, Austin, Portlandia, Pittsburgh, Denver and Salt Lake City.

Cheap and cheaper still

Those coverage areas represent about 70 percent of Leap’s 6.2 million subscribers, which isn’t bad. Though you will have to pony up at least $400 for the iPhone, or bring your own, the monthly charge is only $55 and that nets you unlimited text, talk and data (*2.3GB, actually).

“By making iPhone available on pre-paid plans through Cricket Wireless, we are making the best smartphone more accessible to an even broader market in the US,” said Apple representative Natalie Harrison in a statement picked up by LoopInsight.

That said, Techno Buffalo is reporting that Boost Mobile will be adding prepaid iPhone plans to its offerings come September, though for $5 less per month.

So, we have one carrier offering, another announced and a third rumored. With the MVNO seal breached I expect to see, virtual carriers tied with all of the big four carriers — Leap runs mostly on Sprint’s CDMA network — in the not too distant future.

If you’ve been holding out for an iPhone with a prepaid plan, your time has almost come…

What’s your take?

image Cult of Mac