Blog Post

The REAL Scoop on iPhone 3G Pricing

After reading some of posts around the ‘Net about iPhone 3G pricing, I started to get worried. As a current iPhone owner and AT&T customer, I was really excited about the price drop. Then I heard from multiple sources that current AT&T customers who are not qualified for an upgrade would have to pay $399 or $499 respectively for the 8 or 16 GB models (or worse yet, full price).


Well, I just got off the phone with AT&T customer service and asked what qualifies you for an upgrade. Being a current iPhone owner with an account in good standing does. I definitely qualify for the $199/$299 iPhone 3G price, and will be upgrading on Friday morning.

People that do not qualify for upgrade pricing would be someone who just bought a different subsidized phone from AT&T less than a year ago and are still under contract, or someone whose account is not in good standing. Since the previous iPhone was unsubsidized, AT&T has no reason not to give current iPhone customers the full discount off an upgrade.

However, if a customer just got a phone 2 months ago, then AT&T has not recouped their money from the subsidized phone yet. If you are a current AT&T customer and do not qualify for the upgrade discount (i.e. you switched a couple of months ago and got a LG or Treo) you can still get the iPhone at the “early upgrade” price of $399/$499 ($200 off retail) if you get one soon.

That’s still a better deal than the 1st generation 4GB/8GB iPhones that I bought a little over a year ago which were $499/$599 (at half the capacity, mind you).

8 Responses to “The REAL Scoop on iPhone 3G Pricing”

  1. Jason, you can’t receive an iPhone 3G as a gift (not easily anyway). You will be required to activate the device INSIDE the AT&T or Apple stores, and will have to sign a 2-year agreement on the spot, before you get out the door with your phone.

    If you’ve been given a 1st generation iPhone, you can definitely just activate it and change your plan. I switched to Cingular in February of 2007 (shortly after the Keynote) and was under contract for the Treo I got when I bought my first iPhone in June, 2007.

    I think your phone has to be 1 year old to upgrade with discount, or at least that’s what it was for me. My 1 year on the Treo (that I don’t even have anymore) was up this February.

    Chris, the AT&T representative told me I could buy it at any Apple Store or AT&T store. They will both honor the “upgrade discount” and be able to activate the new iPhone 3G.

  2. So to qualify for the “upgrade” discount do we need to purchase it directly from a Cingular Corporate store? What if we buy it from an Apple Store? Do we pay full price and are later reimbursed from Cingular when we activate?

  3. Doug Petrosky

    It amazes me how confused people have been about this. The iPhone is exactly like any other subsidized phone except that AT&T is offering the subsidized price to more people, not fewer. Technically all current iPhone owners still have a year on their contract before they are eligible for a subsidized price. Further, it appears that people with less than a year left on their contract who are in good standing may also qualify.

  4. Jim Wallentine

    why is this phone only available on ATT? this ticks me off. I guess if the phone was a typical phone, I would care less. Darn the luck…..

  5. jason

    Hmm.. I wonder what happens if you get an iPhone as a gift, but currently are under contract with AT&T for another phone you got about a year ago?

    hopefully you can just change your plan and it doesn’t cost anything more.

  6. According to my account page on AT&T i will not be eligible for the discount price until I have had my phone (SE W300i) for at least two years (the length of my contract). Does this sound right? I wonder if there is “wiggle” room.

  7. That’s such helpful news! Based on what I’d been reading on various blogs, I thought I was going to get stuck with the higher price…which didn’t make any sense at all. Now I feel like I’ve got useful, accurate info.