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Apple iPlans keep it simple

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Trust Apple to turn something as mundane as a phone plan into a marketing coup.

Apple and AT&T have announced three calling plans to match with the iPhone, which is all set to launch at the end of the week. The three tier plans are $59.99 for 450 minutes, $79.99 for 900 minutes and $99.99 for 1,350 minutes. It includes unlimited data (EDGE) and 200 SMS messages and other trimmings.

These plans are no different than what AT&T actually offers right now on its website, except that the array of choices on their website can give any one a headache. Apple has kept it simple.

However a word of caution for heavy SMS users – unless you upgrade to the the $10-for-1500 messages (or $20 for unlimited messaging) offer you are going to be served up when activating the phone, you are in for a nasty surprise and a big tab at the end of the month. AT&T typically charges $0.05 for every message – so for extra 100 messages you end up paying $5.

And how these new plans stack up against other phone companies’ offerings? We are plowing through the details, and have found one plan that is better than the basic iPlan: Verizon’s “America Choice Select” calling plan is similarly priced AND includes unlimited messaging. Neil is right – it doesn’t include data and wifi. Sorry about that. Jeff Nolan thinks his T-Mobile plan is saving him money when compared to the iPlan, so check it out.

Update: Read the damn fine print. TUAW reports:

Can you buy an iPhone and just use the built in WiFi and iPod features? Apparently not. According to the small print on Apple’s rate plan webpage, you need to purchase a 2 year wireless service plan. This means your iPhonePod will cost you at least ($60/month * 24 months) + $500/iPhone = $1940 + $36 activation fee + tax.

28 Responses to “Apple iPlans keep it simple”

  1. From my point of view, even though surveys indicate that only 3% of US internet users are highly interested in buying the ipod for $499, iphone’s early adopters have the right profile to set the trend. I believe that status symbols have no price: $499 will be a good start for apple.
    (see my blog for data).

  2. Everything that came out after the initial WWDC announcement has been a disappointment as far as I’m concerned.

    I commented on the neutered (Autocannibalistic, even) “feature set” of the iPhone (Albeit only as conjecture) within a few days of the keynote on my disastrously under-read blog (

    Sadly, I seem to have been right (Down to the Safari-as-software-platform fiasco, although my guess was MacOS widgets as the chosen platform).

    Anyhow, done venting. Also, as an aside;

    Om, looking forward to meeting you next week in Israel, should be a fascinating conference :)

    • Oren
  3. From Mossberg’s review, the iPhone currently doesn’t have a SIM card (which I thought every GSM phone needed).

    When the unlocked ones are released here in Asia, I’ll be sure to let you know.

  4. jcohen

    My intention is not to be harsh, sorry if it came that way. I am new to your blog. I see only references to big guys Vonage, Nintendo, just to quote from the front page.

    I am wondering, do you write about a small startup that comes with something new (no rock star founders) nobody has written about it. Do you listen to your gut or wait for the traction. Just want to know core mission of your blog, since I dont hear about these small companies on your blog.

    Best wishes,

  5. Don’t forget the power of seduction. Apple will seduce people to use the iPhone in every way possible to use voice and SMS. Oh, see that really cool Google map (which is downloaded thanks to your unlimited data plan)? That’s a nice little Google map. Now call that SUSHI RESTAURANT OR ELSE! Or else AT&T will wack you. Use those minutes! Use those minutes or else you will be whaled on. Yum yum the devil is out and everyone thought Microsoft was the only devil in the capitalist system. Oh poor Steve, he had to do a deal with the devil. We really feel sorry for him.

  6. techuntangled

    BTW, why do you give credit to Apple for AT&T’s phone plans “Trust Apple to turn something as mundane as a phone plan into a marketing coup.”?

    As AT&T’s chief-price-plan-analyst, I have worked my @#%^& off to narrow down the existing price plans to just 3, and now you are giving credit to Apple??? Huh…

    Just kidding. But I’m sure someone in ATT worked really hard to pick 3 price plans for the iPhone. I don’t see why Apple should get the credit.

  7. techuntangled

    Comparing data plans across wireless carriers is very difficult because different wireless operators use different technologies with different bandwidths/speeds. For example, Cingular is still on EDGE, while Verizon W and Sprint Nextel are mostly marketing their EV-DO services that have much higher speeds. A Better comparison is Verizon’s and Sprint’s 1xRTT data services but these are probably not marketed online.

  8. The iPhone ichat client is running via SMS. Even runnign through 1500 messages will be pretty easy if you treat it like an iChat client.

    I believe AT&T charges .15/message for a la carte SMS, so you really don’t want to go over.

  9. jcohen,

    you are right… totally slow day for me. I wrote too much last night and now all worded out. Hey once in a while i should be allowed to post a lame post – come on. be kind and forgive and wait for regular programing

  10. The iPhone cannot be unlocked as it is but I wouldnt be suprised if there is a custom ROM released in the near future where hackers could take the network lock off….

  11. jcohen

    Is it slow day for you Om to discuss calling plans.

    Looks like bloggers are turning more like paparazzi behind Paris and celebrities. I dont know your mission people can read about iphone anywhere. It makes sense if you can talk about obscure startup which has great value proposition. Good for your readers and startup which doesn’t have marketing muzzle.

  12. No, in fact the iPhone is locked to AT&T’s network, so you’re stuck with AT&T (which personally I believe to be an evil, warrantless-wiretapping-enabling, net-neutrality-destroying company) for two years.

    We just launched a campaign this morning, telling Steve Jobs to free the iPhone. Check it out here:

    I think it’s in Apple’s best interests to get OUT of the exclusive relationship with AT&T as soon as possible, and let their phones be used on other carriers.

  13. I wonder what the cancellation terms are for AT&T. Usually for carriers it’s $150 or something like that. Am I wrong?

    Assuming that one buys an iPhone,cancels the subscription and then sells it on ebay the cost could really be $710 ($500 + $60 + $150).

    The purchaser would then just have to put in his/her SIM card.

    BTW does anyone know whether the iPhone can be unlocked?

  14. My Gosh! This is fraud! No iPod (or wifi) without a data plan!

    Just made my decision a lot easier.

    Apple really is a money grabber. Just when I was ready to bite off the big Apple!*&

  15. Ooh you apple fanboys are hilarious. How is this any different from all the plans offered today. Tomorrow if Jobs sneezes, i am sure you will have something great to write about it. Get a life…

  16. It doesn’t include wifi? Please elaborate.

    You saying we can’t hook up to a free wifi hotspot or home wireless network like any ordinary laptop without a “wifi plan”?

  17. The SMS thing many not be a major issue, depending on how the iPhone handles certain functions. On my T-Mobile BlackBerry, for instance, if I use T-Mobile’s IM client, each message I send and receive is billed as an SMS. If I use the IM clients I downloaded from BlackBerry’s website, all the messages are sent and received over the data plan. They are not considered SMS messages.

    Incidentally, T-Mobile recently increased their SMS charges to a whopping 15 cents per msg – sent or received! On the other hand, for $60, they give 600 whenever minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, PLUS unlimited data!

  18. Om, you said “Verizon’s “America Choice Select” calling plan is similarly priced AND includes unlimited messaging,” which is completely false because VZW’s plan doesn’t include unlimited data and wifi support like the iPhone’s plan does…which in my opinion is above and beyond more important then txt messages (at least for something like the iPhone that is so dependent on wifi and edge)