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AT&T offers plethora of iPhone 3G details

updated 06:00 pm EDT, Thu June 12, 2008

More iPhone 3G details

An internal email leaked on Thursday offers more details (and confirms others) about the pending iPhone 3G launch, including an "unbrick" procedure by AT&T/Apple at first purchase, higher data pricing plans (especially for corporate customers), a three device limit at AT&T stores, and a colloboration between the two companies on GPS-enabled applications. The email, first noted by Boy Genius Report, confirms that the iPhone 3G will be activated at the point of sale when the device is purchased at an AT&T or retail store; however, it does note that some users may be required to use iTunes at home if in-store activation fails, suggesting that Apple may allow in-home iTunes-based activations -- touted last year by Steve Jobs and used for all previous iPhone activations -- sometime down the road.

Interestingly, the required in-store activiation at both AT&T and Apple retail "includes a a short tether process to unbrick the 3G device will be performed in all AT&T stores (tether cords will be provided)."

The $199 and $299 prices offered for the 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3G will require a new contract activation or that customers be "upgrade eligible" based on contract tenure, the memo confirmed: the one exception is the all active postpaid customers in good standing with a 2G iPhone will be eligible to receive the qualified upgrade pricing for a 3G device regardless their current eligbility status, effectively offering most iPhone customers the subsidized pricing. AT&T said that it has not determined upgrade pricing for non-eligible (and non-iPhone) customers, but stated that there would not be a "no commitment" price for those just looking to buy the device without service.
Unfortunately, the memo says that prepaid and "Pick Your Plan" options will not be allowed on the 3G device.

AT&T appears to have made some concessions to customers, but quietly raised prices behind the scenes. AT&T has extended the return period on the new iPhone to 30 days (from 14 days on the current iPhone), but as noted previously, has increased new iPhone 3G data plan to $30/month, which includes unlimited data and visual voicemail.

However, the memo says that "customers intending to use the iPhone 3G for access to corporate e-mail, business applications, or access to corporate intranet are required to activate with Enterprise Data Plan for iPhone," which costs $45 per month. It's not clear how AT&T will regulate this, but the pricing is inline with Blackberry service. All data plans, of course, will require a companion voice plan.

In the memo, AT&T also said it would keep both the legacy 2G data rate plan at $20/month and 2G iPhones as in-store display models around "until further notice."

In general, BGR notes that launch day precautions and festivities will mirror last year's launch, with extended store hours, crowd controls, etc. and that security will be provided to stores requesting armed police or guards.

For those who purchased a 2G iPhone from AT&T stores after May 27th, the memo provides a wealth information regarding the previoulsy announced "free" upgrade policy, which charges 10 percent for some and offers it for free to others (depending on the date of purchase).

Of course, activating your new iPhone 3G will not brick your old first-gen iPhone: users will be able to use iTunes to activate the phone on another account or sign up for service.

[iPhone 3G storage capacity corrected]

by MacNN Staff




  1. BradMacPro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    2G plan for 3G iPhone?

    What if there is no 3G coverage near you? Can you buy a 2G plan for $20/month or do you have to pay $30/month even if you can't take advantage of it until 3G is rolled out in your area? Seems unfair to people in suburban areas not yet covered by 3G.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    You're buying a data plan, not a 3G specific data plan. Whatever is available is what will be used.

    And AT&T has got to make up for all that money they now have to pay apple up front on sales, rather than on a monthly basis. Its the joys of standard subsidization!

    Its also standard pricing fare. They charged only $20 for data because (a) they wanted to make sure people would buy the iPhone, and didn't want to kill it with their standard data price, and (b) pressure from Apple to keep the price low, to make sure the iPhone sells.

    Once they hooked people in, then they can raise the price. At this point, Apple doesn't care. The iPhone has become the new fad device everyone needs, so they want to make it available to as many people as possible. The app store is where they're going to make their cash, so they don't really care what AT&T does with its pricing.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And remember, with the new plan, you don't get any messaging built-in, so if you text, you'll be paying $20 more for the plan then the G1'ers.

    And if you don't have 3G, you'd probably be better off trying to get the G1 phone, as it will do everything the new one will (with the exception, I believe, of GPS), and if you can't handle the concept of people seeing you without the latest gizmo, you can always spray paint the back black or white and pretend you've got the new one.

  1. chotty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Holding on...

    to my 1st Gen iPhone for now... perhaps they will entice G1 users with a better deal later in the summer or fall... If not, sell it.

  1. MacnnChester

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I guess

    We'll see how big of a deal GPS is for those who cried about it. I think it is the slew of apps that will really trigger the 3G phone conversion, not data plans or whatever.

    I'm almost there, need a bit of a raise to pay for any smart phone plan - but since I hate messaging this is finally the phone for me.

  1. Da Cajun

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Anything but AT&T

    When do the Iphones get to use a real network? AT&T sucks here, but Verizon has superb coverage. I'm awaiting Iphone available on Verizon. Please, oh please - Steve, let us have networks with reasonable coverage.

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