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Rivals may force sane iPhone plans, says analyst

updated 11:25 am EST, Mon February 23, 2009

Kaufman on iPhone rates

Competitive pressure from rival carriers may force AT&T to create more affordable iPhone plans, suggests Kaufman analyst Shaw Wu. While an iPhone plan typically costs a minimum of $70 a month, Wu notes that it can cost as much as $130 to gain both unlimited voice and data. These plans are now woefully out of date next to options from Sprint and T-Mobile, says Wu, and may be the cause of slowing iPhone sales, given a terrible economy.

T-Mobile is said to be testing a $50 unlimited voice plan, paired with a $25 unlimited data option; Sprint's Boost Mobile division is meanwhile offering a combined plan costing only $50. AT&T would likely gain increased iPhone adoption if it lowered costs, Wu argues, in the same way that broadband is said to have exploded when plans as cheap as $15 to $20 became available.

Apple and AT&T are in fact said to be considering tiered iPhone models and plans, according to sources, though the details remain in flux. Kaufman is meanwhile predicting iPhone sales of approximately 3 million for the March quarter, though general expectations are between that and 3.5 million. Wu comments that the mid- to upper range of this is supported by current sales figures, but expectations should be tempered by economic worries.

by MacNN Staff



  1. appleuzr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    too expensive

    I'm one customer that AT&T has pushed out of the iPhone. It's an amazing device but it's just too expensive to maintain at AT&T's plan pricing.

  1. Jittery Jimmy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Crazy talk.

    Broadband exploded when it was as cheap as $15 to $20 a month? When exactly was that? My last broadband bill was about $55 per month.

  1. milhouse

    Joined: Dec 1969



    When my iPhone contract is up this summer, I won't renew unless there are less expensive plans available.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Used to be on AT&T

    I used to be an AT&T customer, but the quality of their service went through the floor so I left. Calls would be dropped, or my phone just wouldn't ring at all, and the problems were everywhere, from out in the country, to the middle on Manhattan.

    A friend of mine tried to purchase several iPhones within a few days on each other and put them on the same family plan. AT&T insisted on charging him an extra month fee of $75 to make the changes, so he returned and canceled everything.

    We are all much happier now on the more reliable Verizon network, which costs about the same as AT&T, so I don't think cost alone is the issue here.

    While I think the iPhone is an amazing device, I won't buy one while it is tied to the AT&T network. AT&T simply does not care about its customers or investing in technology. It simply wants to extract money without adding any value of its own, so they won't get my money until they wake up and improve their business practices.

  1. resonator

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T is Greedy

    AT&T is greedy and milking the people who have money (and the people who need to have the latest, greatest device) for all they are worth. The price they are charging is absolutely ridiculous. Hopefully Apple's contract with AT&T and the iPhone will expire soon and they will allow other carriers to sell the iPhone and we will hopefully see the prices on these plans drop.

  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Verizon is no better

    Everybody harps on how expensive AT&T is and how bad their service is, but in the final analysis, Verizon is no better. We have my mother-in-law on our Family Plan; where she lives, there is zero Verizon coverage but AT&T coverage is pretty decent.

    Sprint and T-Mobile have been forced into lower plans because it's the only way they can compete against the two behemoths. I wish them all the success they can get because the more people they can attract, the lower AT&T and Verizon will be forced to go on the prices of their plans.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I said "Fck you" to AT&T (more like AT$T) long ago, and never looked back, and never plan too. T-mobile is the only sane carrier but of course, even though the best carrier only gets a C rating.... but that just goes to show how sh!tty phone companies really are. Networks are fcking it all up for people.

    And because of this, people, we as the people should create our own networks, since it can be done, costs less, and the people can vote for the best features, packages and phones!... sounds like a dream, but the reality is that IT CAN BE DONE!

    Time to UNITE! Who's with me??

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Hopefully Apple's contract with AT&T and the iPhone will expire soon and they will allow other carriers to sell the iPhone and we will hopefully see the prices on these plans drop.

    Um, what competitors? The only other 3G company out there is T-Mobile. Everyone has said in the past that they can't go verizon, since they use some other c***, and it would be way too costly to change the chips in the iPhone.

    And rumors at the time were that the ATT contract was for 5 years.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    AT&T and others

    I suspect things will sort themselves out this year. Yes, there are people who couldn't have afforded an iPhone in the first place and shouldn't have bought one. But there are others, like the UAE who bought 25,000 of them and they don't care about cost--they are after a great experience. Do you have a great experiences with your Blackberry or Palm, etc.? Probably not.
    I have a friend who was in training class for AT&T CSR recently and they fired him for wanting to help a customer (no joke, his superv. said he was spending too much time on an issue with a customer... so you can see what their mentality is like). The friend is an ex-sales rep. and understands the importance of customer service. AT&T, at a certain point, doesn't want to be bothered. However, it must be said that some customers "never get it" too.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let's hope...

    My GF and I would get iPhones in a heartbeat if the plans were cheaper. A minimal data plan would serve us perfectly.

    As it stands now, an AT&T plan would at least double what we pay for our T-Mobile plan.

    The cost of an iPhone itself is what it cost me to buy an unlocked cell phone, so that's not an issue.

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