updated 04:30 pm EDT, Mon June 9, 2008
ATT iPhone 3G Plans
AT&T today expanded on Apple's announcement of iPhone 3G by revealing that the carrier will increase data rates for iPhone customers. A data plan for standard users will cost $30 per month versus the $20 per month paid on existing plans; a separate, business-focused data plan will be available for $45 per month. The change reflects the iPhone's development into a full-fledged smartphone and is "business as usual" for AT&T, company President of National Distribution Glenn Lurie tells Electronista. The executive points to the BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices, which also receive similar pricing for unlimited data; without third-party apps, the iPhone is said to have been a more limited device.
Both home and business users will require a phone plan that starts at $40 per month but which will share the same terms as for the 2G model, which includes at least 450 minutes of calling time, 5,000 evening and weekend minutes, 200 SMS text messages, and Visual Voicemail. All iPhone 2G users will be grandfathered and won't be required to pay more per month for as long as they choose to use the service, including past the end of their contract.
AT&T has also revealed that it will have "several" apps of its own available along with the App Store in early July, including a YellowPages.com app for finding contacts and other unnamed applications. Pricing for those packages hasn't been announced.
The added speed of 3G service is believed to introduce concerns about bandwidth usage for carriers, which will have to support both typical browsing habits over the faster connection as well as an increased amount of downloading and streaming from additional services such as the App Store and YouTube. When announcing the App Store, Apple established a 10MB cap on downloads available through the online service and limits larger downloads to Wi-Fi; AT&T isn't specifically responsible for this threshhold but has "worked with Apple" on the iPhone 3G's development, Lurie says.
The official says that specific details of the iPhone's July 11th launch day are unavailable, though last year both AT&T and Apple opted for a coordinated 6PM launch that temporarily closed their respective retail stores.