What will the iPhone 3G cost current AT&T customers?

Iphone_3g_trioWe’ve all gone gaga over the cheap new US pricing of the iPhone 3G and rightly so.  Given the original price of the iPhone, $199/ $299 is downright cheap and has more than a few contemplating purchasing an iPhone for the first time.  This feeling of euphoria may be misplaced in current AT&T customers if the information that Gizmodo is getting from the carrier proves accurate.  Word has gradually leaked out of AT&T that the cheap iPhone 3G prices that Steve Jobs taunted us with are in fact carrier subsidized prices and that the real price of the iPhone 3G is much higher than that.  AT&T is indicating that they are subsidizing quite a bit of the real price, although they have yet to admit what that might be, to get the pricing down to Jobs’ quoted level.  This doesn’t matter to new iPhone/ AT&T customers but according to the most recent information Gizmodo has obtained from AT&T it should matter to existing customers of the carrier.  They are reporting that AT&T will handle the new iPhone like they handle any other phone which means that if current AT&T customers do not qualify for a low-cost upgrade of their existing phone then they must pay full price for the new iPhone.  This price is not yet known but speculation puts it in the $500+ range for customers who don’t meet the detailed qualifying criteria which seems to mean anyone who hasn’t had their current phone for 21 months or so.  This frankly sucks and while I’ve been forthcoming that at the low quoted price from Jobs I would almost certainly be picking up an iPhone 3G at full price I can guarantee I will not do so.  I suspect that none of the original iPhone customers will be upgrading either at full price.  I wonder how Apple can state that the price of the two iPhone 3G models is $199/ $299 if in fact that is a subsidized price.  That is false advertising at every level and it also leads me to wonder how they are going to sell the phone in their online store if they can’t guarantee the quoted pricing?  Makes you think.

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