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Summary:

We’ve got about two hours left before the expected arrival of a 3G iPhone, so let’s use that time constructively, shall we? It’s a given that a new iPhone model will offer support for AT&T’s HSDPA network. It’s no coincidence that the carrier is about to […]

IphoneWe’ve got about two hours left before the expected arrival of a 3G iPhone, so let’s use that time constructively, shall we? It’s a given that a new iPhone model will offer support for AT&T’s HSDPA network. It’s no coincidence that the carrier is about to complete a full HSDPA upgrade to their infrastructure, right?

So what happens to the iPhone’s data rate plan? Currently, it’s an all-you-can-eat $20 a month for slower EDGE service. (By way of comparison: EDGE will get you around 200 Kbps or so… HSDPA will move data roughly three to seven times faster) Clearly, AT&T has to make up the billions they’re spending on the network and it won’t be made up solely by Laptop Connect customers using HSDPA modems.

I’m guessing that you’ll have a choice of data tiers since your 3G phone can support legacy EDGE connections. I think the same $20 a month plan will exist (it has to for first-gen phones) and you’ll see a second data plan with unlimited HSPDA service for $40 to $50 a month. Note: "unlimited" means around 5GB of data in a month for Laptop Connect users, so the same cap may apply. Apple likes to keep things simple, but I can’t see how the original data plan can go away. It might only be applicable to first-gen iPhones, thus removing the choice I alluded to for second-gen iPhones. I’d love to see the monthly HSDPA plan come in under $40, but don’t see it happening. Oh, and I don’t see "phone tethering" as a official (or third party) option, although that would be great. I’d love to be wrong on that one.

So what are you expecting from a data plan perspective today? What’s the pricing "sweet spot" that might compel you to upgrade or purchase a new 3G iPhone? Talk amongst yourselves. Well, not literally… do it in the comments so I can follow ‘k?

  1. I think the plan will remain the same, and if it does go higher, it will only be by ten bucks.

    Most carriers already offer 30 dollar plans for consumer-types. I think they’ll have to keep the plan in this range to keep it in line with the competition.

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  2. If it is the same price or higher than Laptop Connect cards then the iPhone had better have tethering. If you are paying the same price, why would they restrict what platform you can access the data with?

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  3. Unlimited 3G on an AT&T Windows Mobile phone is $40 a month. With my 8525, it includes an app for tethering. I would hope that we would see something similar for the iPhone.

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  4. If I remember correctly, I haven’t seen any US carriers charge more for the speed only. In CDMA camp, 1xRTT and EVDO cost the same for both Verizon and Sprint. AT&T charges more for smartphones, but no differentiation between EDGE (GPRS for that matter too) and 3G. I will be disappointed if AT&T want more for 3G iphone.

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  5. I believe that with the price that we pay is enough, I am not willing to pay an extra 20 dollars to my plan. By charging more what AT&T will do is scare its customer away. Companies like sprint has a very fast Internet on their network and they dontt charge extra as far as I know.

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  6. $99 unlimited just like sprint

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  7. Serious? People don’t know why higher speeds equal a higher cost. There has always been a price difference between 2G and 3G. EVDO and 1xRTT are both 3G (1xRTT is an upgrade to the EVDO protocol).

    I am surprised that T-mobile isn’t charging more for their 3G network, but it’s only in NYC right now. So that might change.

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  8. 3G on at&t was out years before iphone 3G came out. Therefore, I suspect there won’t be a difference in pricing because the network is already paid for. at&t was probably already using iphone revenue to pay for the new network rollout anyway.

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  9. Higher speed does not necessarily mean higher cost. Does AT&T charge more for using data on 3G phones compared to on EDGE only phones? I don’t think so (unless it’s a PDA phone), so it is not reasonable that they should charge more just because of the iphone. If they did charge more, I should be entitled to a discount if I use data on an EDGE only phone instead of a 3G capable phone.

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  10. iphone is that the users would be able to download much more due to a user friendly interface. I know I use my WM phone for a lot of data transfer but I’ve used an iphone and I can surf and watch youtube and many other data hogs alot easier.

    Making it easier and showing users how easy it is to chew up bandwidth will only cause them to chew up more bandwidth.

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