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The iPhone experience may get a little sweeter

As Apple mulls over cuts to its Mac prices, iPhone partner AT&T is also looking to trim the contract prices on the Apple iPhone in the U.S.  The new decrease would reportedly accompany a new version of the handset hardware, that is widely expected to launch in June, along with Apple's new iPhone operating system.

Michael Cote of Cote Collaborative says that his inside connections at both companies reveal that there is a "strong possibility" that the price of the iPhone's introductory plan will be cut from $69 to $59.  He expects the cut to be announced, along with a new iPhone, at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 8.

The iPhone currently retails for $200 which is in line with its smartphone competitors.  However, the total cost of basic ownership -- the price of an 8GB phone and 24 months of the most basic iPhone voice and data plan -- amounts to a whopping total of $1,856.  A cut would sweeten the deal, dropping this slight to around $1,600.

Apple's previous cost cut proved to be very effective.  An early cost cut from $599 to $399 propelled the iPhone to sales of 4 million units in 2007.  A second cut in 2008, with the release of the 3G iPhone, saw even greater success, boosting sales to 17 million units.

Cost cutting is a painful, but growing necessity for companies competing in the smart phone market.  Research in Motion utilized Verizon's "by one, get one" promotion to propel its Blackberry Curve smart phone past the iPhone in total sales for the first quarter of 2009. 

With the much-anticipated Palm Pre set to hit the market, and strong competition from T-Mobile/Google's G1, which recently sold its millionth unit, Apple and AT&T have much at stake.  And analysts believe a price cut could be just what they need to restore growth to the iPhone's momentum.



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Wait a minute...
By quiksilvr on 5/10/2009 12:38:59 AM , Rating: 4
The INTRODUCTORY price to the phone plan is $70?! WHY?!




RE: Wait a minute...
By dagamer34 on 5/10/2009 1:06:37 AM , Rating: 2
Despite evidence to the contrary, the phone ain't really $200 pal.


RE: Wait a minute...
By akugami on 5/10/2009 1:23:03 AM , Rating: 1
Seriously, have you checked the plans? The minutes may suck on the introductory plan (450 minutes only) but it has unlimited data. ATT, Verizon and Sprint's unlimited data plans start at $30. That's without voice.

Now, granted the plans aren't really that great but they are not the rip-off you make it seem. At least no worse than the data plans from the other providers.

Part of the reason for the high prices in US data and voice plans is to help subsidize the costs of "free" or "low cost" phones. These high prices aren't just iPhone centric but rather something that's become a way of business for the cell phone providers.


RE: Wait a minute...
By Crotius on 5/10/2009 7:56:17 AM , Rating: 4
At the present prices according to the apple website, I can get an 8gb iphone for 199, 450minutes a month, unlimited data and text for 89.00 a month. Now, actually, I do find that price to be a little high, especially after all of the taxes that get attached to my cell phone bill. I'm presently on T-mobile, and I'm paying 74.98 a month with 300 minutes, myFave, unlimited web and texting. Granted, it's a sidekick, and not an iphone that I'm presently using, but I just couldn't see how accessing the company web page or doing my e-mail was any better on the iphone then it would be on the sidekick. The initial cost of a sidekick is 150, and it has a qwerty, and not a software keyboard, which I prefer

However, with a 10 dollar drop in plan rates, and the fact I can buy a refurb iphone for what, $99, it becomes a lot more attractive.


RE: Wait a minute...
By Crotius on 5/10/2009 7:59:08 AM , Rating: 3
Sorry, I feel i should clarify. I prefer a tactile qwerty over a software replica.


RE: Wait a minute...
By TheMan876 on 5/10/2009 2:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
ATT:
450 minutes = $39.99
unlimited data = $30
unlimited txts = $20

Total Monthly = $89.99

Sprint
450 minutes = $69.99
unlimited data = (included)
unlimited txts = (included)

Total Monthly = $69.99

The only way you win with AT&T is if they drop $10 and you don't need unlimited text messages. I find it discouraging that you can't customize your plan as much lately. I currently have a Sprint Mogul and I only pay $15 for unlimited data. I couldn't get this plan if I was a new customer.


RE: Wait a minute...
By AlexWade on 5/11/2009 8:14:25 AM , Rating: 2
You never win if you have Sprint. Sprint has the highest amount of turnover because of abysmal (and rude I might add) customer service and because their phones do not work well. What is the point in paying anything at all if you cannot make or receive calls?


RE: Wait a minute...
By AmbroseAthan on 5/11/2009 9:36:50 AM , Rating: 2
I wish I understood people's troubles with Sprint; I have been with them for 8 years now and never had any trouble with signal or the actual phones, or customer service. Currently I use an HTC Diamond, which Sprint let me add unlimited everything (besides voice, so data, texts, email, etc) for $20 a month ontop of the family plan I am part of, bringing our total to $115/month.

I looked into how much it would cost my family to switch providers (4 people) and it was astronomical to try and do it on anyone else's service at the time.

It all depends on where you live I guess. So far, the entire East Cost I have been perfect with Sprint no matter where I am, and then myself and my father were the only ones to have service when we were in the backwoods of Colorado for a wedding (of the extended family).


wait a second
By QueBert on 5/10/09, Rating: 0
RE: wait a second
By AlexWade on 5/10/2009 9:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
Really? I have AT&T and I got a BlackBerry Bold and nobody even hinted that I had to get a data plan. I added the data plan several days after I had the phone, it was never forced upon me. In fact, I know of several people on AT&T with BlackBerries and they do not have the data plan. Why you want a BlackBerry without a data plan is beyond me.

Overall, I find AT&T to be very reasonable. I have a family plan with my mom, my brother, and his wife. My brother lives out of state and we've been on the same family plan for 4 years. I have used my BlackBerry to tether my laptop without a tethering plan. From my personal experience, AT&T forcing you do anything is out of character.

You might be stuck with AT&T's customer service incompetence. I find AT&T's customer service is inept but not rude. In a few incidents, I have had contradictory information from customer service. It was very frustrating. The only training some of these people get is how to read down a list and then they are not empowered to use common sense to make a situation right.


RE: wait a second
By theapparition on 5/10/2009 1:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
As of recently, all major carriers, AFAIK, force you to buy the data plan (coincidentally, all are also $30/mo) with the purchase of any phone that is remotely interesting.

For example, Verizon mandated it in Nov(?), AT&T I believe was in Jan. Sprint and TMobile also mandate it now. So watch when upgrading contracts.


RE: wait a second
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2009 1:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad I don't buy phones from carriers anymore. They never have any of the good ones anyway.


RE: wait a second
By AlexWade on 5/10/2009 9:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
I got my Blackberry in February and it was a renewed contract. I got in online and there was no requirement for a data plan. In fact, I've been on the exact same plan for 6 years and I have never once been told to change plans or get a data plan or anything extra. I think you are dealing with the incompetent help AT&T has.

(P.S. I stay with AT&T because where I live the cell quality is as good as everyone else, probably because AT&T, er Cingular, er BellSouth was the first carrier to offer digital phones and it was GSM. I also stay with AT&T because I can get by with so much without being charged extra. But I won't recommend AT&T to everyone because they aren't good everywhere.)


RE: wait a second
By theapparition on 5/11/2009 7:17:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I got my Blackberry in February and it was a renewed contract.

There's your answer.

If your plan allows, you can upgrade phones without modifying your contract. Try walking in cold to any AT&T store and ask that question. You won't like the answer. Data plans are now mandatory for all "internet" enabled devices.


RE: wait a second
By AlexWade on 5/11/2009 8:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
You got me curious. So I tried to get a Blackberry without a data plan online and I could. You talk about walking into an AT&T store, that is why I say it is the incompetent help AT&T has and not an actual requirement. I know my local AT&T store has new people working in it every time I walk in. So I really think it is the stupidity of the store.


RE: wait a second
By MrSmurf on 5/10/2009 9:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
With any Blackberry on any carrier, you have to have Blackberry service ($30-$50). That is the data plan! If you don't have it, you can't browse the web, receive email or even send MMS messages.


RE: wait a second
By bruce24 on 5/11/2009 12:52:49 PM , Rating: 2
Why would someone want a Blackberry Bold without a data plan?


Obscuring the facts
By tdawg on 5/10/2009 3:32:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The iPhone currently retails for $200 which is in line with its smartphone competitors. However, the total cost of basic ownership -- the price of an 8GB phone and 24 months of the most basic iPhone voice and data plan -- amounts to a whopping total of $1,856. A cut would sweeten the deal, dropping this slight to around $1,600.


Can we please finally put this "argument" to rest? If you're starting a contract with AT&T and want a smartphone for $199 with unlimited data and 200 text messages a month, it's the same damn cost. My blackberry and my blackjack cost me the same amount per month that my iphone does now. There's no price premium here! Any new phone subsidized by AT&T is a 2-year contract, there is no cost difference between the iphone and other smartphones on AT&T.




RE: Obscuring the facts
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2009 6:12:40 AM , Rating: 2
True, but I don't believe you are forced into this unlimited data plan either. You don't even have the option if you get the iPhone. And it's all about your options.


RE: Obscuring the facts
By RDO CA on 5/10/2009 2:21:29 PM , Rating: 2
When the first I-phone came out it was $20 per month for data and did not go to $30 till the 3G model.


RE: Obscuring the facts
By Natfly on 5/10/2009 6:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong..... why don't you go actually look at the plans?

iPhone requires $30/mo "iPhone" unlimited data plan.
ATT's standard unlimited data plan costs just $15/mo. Or $30/mo for their unlimited data plus unlimited messaging.

ATT is gouging an extra $15/mo simply as an "iPhone tax" on data. Whether or not this goes to Apple as payment for their exclusivity, I don't know.


RE: Obscuring the facts
By QueBert on 5/11/2009 2:01:59 AM , Rating: 1
wrong wrong and wrong. AT&T does not offer a $15 data plan on Smartphones. They may or may not offer one for $15 on regular phones. But seeing how regular phones can't do shit in terms of internet you can't compare. YOU CANNOT get a Smartphone on AT&T with an unlimited data plan for $15. ANY Smartphone on AT&T with a Data plan will cost you exactly the same, weather it's an iPhone or a Tilt. The 1g iPhone had a cheaper Data plan because it was Edge, 3g plans cost more. The iPhone isn't more money, and anyone who got a Blackberry without the Blackberry plan recently got LUCKY, because they require it now, period.


RE: Obscuring the facts
By tdawg on 5/11/2009 2:22:18 AM , Rating: 2
I'm an AT&T customer, I know the plans available to me, whether on an iphone, blackberry, or windows mobile phone. As has been pointed out by an earlier post, data plans for all smartphones on AT&T's network cost $30 a month, minimum (more for blackberry-specific plans that include tethering and such). And FYI, the $30 data plan does not include text messaging, which sucks. It's a minimum of $5 a month to add 200 incoming/outgoing text messages to any phone on AT&T's network.

The $15 data plans are for medianet access and are (were?) only available on "dumb" phones that can't handle html internet.

Next time, please do 30 seconds of research before you post your "facts". Thanks.


And in other news....
By Ozziedogg on 5/10/2009 3:33:39 AM , Rating: 4
Siberian Phone vendors are considering selling Nokia phones for .50 cents cheaper...

/sarcasm

How is this even vaguely interesting?




RE: And in other news....
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2009 11:08:17 AM , Rating: 2
It's interesting because a lot of people own iPhones, and other, what I consider to be crappy, Apple products. I'm not sure why it's a news story though. I doubt they are going to post when any of the other companies change their price, whether up or down. Not sure why ATT and the iPhone are so special.


RE: And in other news....
By Motley on 5/11/2009 7:25:24 AM , Rating: 2
Well considering this is daily TECH, and the iPhone is the 2nd best selling cellular phone in the US, this would affect a large portion of the readers. Even more if you consider any price change by AT&T for the iPhone may start a similiar change for the blackberry, and then I would assume that would cover a good 70-80% of the readers.

I'm assuming you are of the "other" 20-30% that owns neither the blackberry, iPhone, and don't use AT&T as your cellular provider.


Makes Sense
By flgt on 5/10/2009 1:12:41 PM , Rating: 3
Now that Apple is now longer deriving revenue from monthly contracts you can see Jobs putting pressure on AT&T to lower plan rates and boost sales. In the end AT&T is taking the hit and Apple is the winner with more per unit phone subsidies it is receiving.




.
By StevoLincolnite on 5/10/2009 1:14:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook




Doesn't matter . . .
By blueboy09 on 5/11/2009 2:48:48 AM , Rating: 2
Even if they drop their price its still too damn expensive, and besides I would never get a phone from a corporation who belittles the consumer's intelligence by charging insane monthly fees and insane accessory fees for their phones too. If the AT&T/Apple population wakes up, maybe they'll realize that they are being taken for granted!!




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