updated 09:40 am EDT, Thu August 4, 2011
Total value less than unlocked US 3GS hardware
3 Sweden has announced a "half-price" sale on the iPhone 3GS while stock lasts. The carrier is in fact giving away the phone; the discount applies to a two-year contract, which costs only 99 kronor per month, or about $15.42. The total cost of the phone and plan bundle is therefore only $370, which also includes unlimited data. Reduced speeds apply after 1GB though, and users pay for each voice minute or SMS message.
In the US an iPhone 3GS costs $49 with a two-year contract, or at least $395 unlocked, ignoring the price of a monthly plan from AT&T which may cost several times the rate 3 is charging. Many European countries charge comparatively less for cellular service than the US.
3's 3GS deal, however, is cheaper than usual and appears to be an attempt to clear out 3GS stock as soon as possible. The device dates back to 2009, and has only been kept around as Apple's low-end iPhone. One or more new iPhones are expected to launch next month, possibly including a new low-end model that is not just a discounted iPhone 4.