Apple and AT&T have made a great deal of noise about the iPhone 3G: “Twice as fast. Half the price.” But that marquee $199 price could be elusive, depending on your current relationship with AT&T. With the rollout of their latest iPhone product pages and the “Get iReady” campaign, AT&T has pushed out some more pricing information. There are plenty of choices, and figuring out what your actual cost for this new gadget would be is non-trivial.
Start with the base price: $199 for 8GB, $299 for 16GB, if you fall into one of these categories:
- New AT&T customer signing a 2-year contract
- Existing AT&T customer who is “upgrade eligible” and signing a 2-year contract.
Upgrade eligibility depends on how long you have left on your current contract – and there don’t seem to be any published guidelines on that. So if you are trying to upgrade a current phone, come prepared to argue. Better yet, log in to your wireless account from the iPhone product page before July 11, and check your eligibility online.
Not eligible? Then you’re looking at $399 to upgrade to the 8GB anyhow, or $499 for 16GB. That’s with a two-year contract. If you just want to buy the darned phone with no commitment, that’ll be $599 for 8GB or $699 for 16GB.
Now that you’ve purchased the phone, you probably want to use it. Here again there are choices. The cheapest AT&T Nation plan gives you 450 minutes (plus 5000 night and weekend minutes) for $69.99 per month. There are a couple of steps up from there, ending at unlimited data and voice for $129.99 per month. And remember, “unlimited” doesn’t mean “unlimited everything” – as we pointed out before, text messaging is extra, from $5 to $20 per month. As Macsimum News reminds us, though, you can use an email or web gateway to dodge the text message charge.
A couple of other tidbits from the readiness information: you can only buy one iPhone per person in line at the AT&T store, and wireless phone insurance is not available.
Want to save a few bucks? Move to Hong Kong, where Hutchison Telecommunications will sell you the 8GB iPhone 3G for $377, with a 2-year unlimited data plan at only $64 per month. Over the course of the contract that will save you nearly $1400 over US prices.