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AT&T confirms sale of contract-free iPhones

updated 04:50 pm EDT, Thu March 19, 2009

Contract-free US iPhones

AT&T has confirmed earlier rumors of a contract-free iPhone, says the Associated Press. Under the new scheme -- set to begin on Thursday, March 26th -- an 8GB iPhone 3G will cost $599, while a 16GB model will cost $699. The prices are a full $400 more than the $199 and $299 options, which should remain available under the limits of a two-year contract.

While pre-paid and other contract-free iPhones are sold in a number of countries, residents of the US have always been forced to accept two-year agreements. The new prices also mirror the costs of the original 4GB and 8GB 2G iPhones, which were set high due to a lack of subsidy payments on AT&T's part. The new contract-free iPhones may retain subsidies, as with other iPhone 3Gs, but AT&T has not disclosed this information.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +9

    Don't get excited...

    "Contract free" does NOT mean "unlocked"

  1. Ernieboy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    ernieboy

    But seriously what can one do with it if it is not unlocked?
    Go back to AT&T some time later for the contract?
    I got my unlocked iPhone 3G thru the carrier 3 in HK and use it in Shanghai, i think they are doing the same thing here. Use it wherever u like.

  1. Ernieboy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    ernieboy

    But seriously what can one do with it if it is not unlocked?
    Go back to AT&T some time later for the contract?
    I got my unlocked iPhone 3G thru the carrier 3 in Hong Kong and use it in Shanghai, i think they are doing the same thing here. Use it wherever u like.

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Either way...

    This is a sign of progress--hopefully.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: ernieboy

    You could then get a phone without a data contract. Let's do the math. $30 a month times 24 months comes to $720. The iPhone itself costs $400 more. So you save $320. Now take into account that's $320 over 2 years, so the present day savings is actually less.

    And you could decide to save more if you want to get a cheaper phone plan, or a pay as you go plan, or some such thing. Or maybe you don't want a phone or data plan, but want unlimited texting (because, well, you're an idiot who texts 3000 times a month). You can do that too (in theory, I don't know whether ATT sells texting by itself).

  1. Loren

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    ah, what's the diff?

    But you're not going to use this with anybody but ATT, you're not going to find an ATT iPhone plan for 30/month. They know iPhoners can pay more. iPhone plans start off around what? Minimum 60/month?

    Either way, your investment in a fully operating iPhone 3G remains around 1500 over two years. It won't change until Apple's agreement with ATT allows other vendors in.

  1. bluejammm

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Testudo

    Are you sure they won't require a data plan?
    I think one will still be required to sign up for one. You just aren't committed to a two year agreement. Big deal.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: what's the diff

    But you're not going to use this with anybody but ATT, you're not going to find an ATT iPhone plan for 30/month. They know iPhoners can pay more. iPhone plans start off around what? Minimum 60/month?

    iPhone plans are $40 for phone, $30 for data. Which is exactly the price they charge for every other 3G phone out there (despite the howls that ATT is overcharging iPhone users).

    The only difference is that only the iPhone has the REQUIREMENT for the data plan. And that, I'm sure, is straight from Apple. To Apple, the iPhone is more an iPod Touch with phone capabilities. They push the apps (which is good, since the phone isn't that hot). And the data plan makes the apps more useful.

  1. howiej

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Get rid of ATT Apple !

    The iPhone will only really take-off when they get rid of the over-charging, poor service carrier ATT. I can't believe how much you all are willing to shell out for crappy ATT 3G service. Sprint and Verizon both have way better, consistent coverage and , um , my bill on Sprint is 1/3 for a Treo than what y'all pay for ATT. ATT sucks. Period, and I can not imagine paying more for so-called "3G" than I pay for my DSL line at home.

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