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Apple Stores reportedly offer no-contract iPhones

updated 03:00 am EDT, Fri March 27, 2009

Apple: no-contract iPhones

Some US Apple retail stores have reportedly begun selling iPhone 3Gs without a contract. AppleInsider reports the 8GB model is available for $599 and the 16GB for $699, the standard retail price without AT&T subsidies.

The iPhones are still locked to AT&T service, but third-party unlocking tools could theoretically allow the phones to work with other GSM carriers including T-Mobile and Metro PCS. However, those networks do not support the higher 3G data speeds offered by AT&T.

Thursday's news comes on the same day AT&T planned to start selling iPhones without a contract to existing iPhone users, with a one-per-customer limit. According to AI, Apple retail stores have no such restrictions. The new policy could be an attempt to sell off the remaining inventory of the current iPhone 3G model to make room for a new version. There is no word whether all U-S Apple Stores are selling the contract-free models or if the supply is limited to a few stores.

by MacNN Staff





  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How come plenty of other countries have unlocked iPhones for sale, but we're stuck paying the full price for a "no-contract" phone that you still need a contract with AT&T to use? Sure, it's a rhetorical question, answered by our total lack of consumer protection regulations in the US. But seriously, why wouldn't someone instead get a regular contract and just pay the early termination fee if they need to get out of it at some point? It'll still come out cheaper... Am I missing something? Are there some special cheap rates available for no-contract phones? What's the point?

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: WiseWeasel

    It's pretty simple. Apple has to honor their contract with AT&T, which more than likely has clauses providing that should Apple sell phones out-of-network, then they have to provide some disincentive with the price. That wouldn't surprise me in the least.

    Personally, I'd love to pick up an iPhone to use for its media functions, if not the 3G Connection. For now and the foresee-able future, I'm stuck with Verizon, so the option is attractive. The question remains, though, whether or not the cell technology in the phone and this and other carriers would be compatible.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It may be contract-free, but what's the point if you're still stuck using AT&T?

    I use T-Mobile, as does my entire extended family, so it would suck having to use up minutes listening to my mom complain for half an hour about squirrels on her roof (or bats in the belfry?). Seriously.

    The heck with it. I'm waiting for a 32GB iPod touch to be delivered this morning! The GF can inherit it when Apple completely unlocks the iPhone!

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: danviento

    They've got another option for you: iPod Touch. Much much cheaper too.

    And even unlocked, the iPhone will only work on AT&T or T-Mobile anyway and on T-Mobile, 3G would be seriously handicapped.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: WTF

    Apple signed a deal with ATT to get concessions out of ATT in order to sell/promote the phone (remember how Visual Voicemail was all the rage, and it was all "They had to do the deal, otherwise VV wouldn't work!"). And they wanted part of the monthly fee as well. And total control over repair/warranty (this is why if your Razr breaks, you can just go to ATT for a replacement, but if your iPhone breaks, you have to go to Apple to get it fixed).

    Nothing prevented Apple from just selling unlocked phones around the world. Bring your own plans, people! Apple just didn't want that.

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