Apple’s new handset has been extremely popular since it launched last month. Carriers are still struggling to keep up with the demand for the device. To put things plainly: consumers love it.

They love it so much, in fact, that many of them are willing to break their previous carrier contracts to get one. A recent study shows that some 45% of people surveyed paid an ETF to get their iPhone 4S

Marketing research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners recently surveyed 4,600 iPhone 4S owners across AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint networks in regards to how they came about the handset. The results of the query are actually pretty interesting.

According to the research, a staggering 45% of the people surveyed broke their contract with their current or former wireless carrier to get their iPhone 4S. And 77% of those folks paid more than $100 in early termination fees (ETF) on top of the price of the device.

Even though that sounds expensive, paying an ETF is typically the cheapest way to go when you’re still in contract. Full retail iPhones start around $650, and an ETF, at most, is $350. Add that to the iPhone’s $199 carrier pricing and you’re still saving $100.

Perhaps even more intriguing is that 71% of the contract-breakers were previous iPhone owners, demonstrating once again how loyal Apple customers can be.

How did you get your iPhone 4S? Did you break contract? Pay full price?

[Cult of Mac]