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Rate plans start at $59.99 plus a one time activation fee of $36

The launch of Apple's iPhone is just days away and people are already starting to camp out for the next "it" device. Close to 400,000 units could be up for grabs on launch day from 162 Apple Store and roughly 1,800 AT&T locations.

In the mean time, Apple has been trickling out little tidbits of information regarding the iPhone to keep interest high. Over the past week, we’ve learned that the iPhone will ship with YouTube integration along with a higher-capacity battery and a 3.5” display screen with “optical-quality glass.”

Today, Apple and AT&T announced three rate plans that will be available for the iPhone.

"We want to make choosing a service plan simple and easy, so every plan includes unlimited data with direct Internet access, along with Visual Voicemail and a host of other goodies," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We think these three plans give customers the flexibility to experience all of iPhone’s revolutionary features at affordable and competitive prices."

The entry-level $59.99 plan will get you 450 anytime minutes along with 5,000 nights and weekend minutes. Stepping up to the $79.99 plan will get you 900 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends. The top-level $99 plan gets you 1350 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends.

All rate plans allow for unlimited data (email and web), Visual Voicemail, 200 SMS text messages, unlimited mobile-to-mobile and rollover minutes.

Also noted in the press release is that a one-time activation fee of $36 will be charged for the iPhone. Given the extremely high interest level for the iPhone, it's likely that not many will bat an eye at the charge which would usually irritate consumers.

In addition, Apple and AT&T also announced that new iPhone users will be able to activate their phone through iTunes -- there is no need to wait at the store to go through the activation process.

"Users will be able to activate their new iPhone in the comfort and privacy of their own home or office, without having to wait in a store while their phone is activated," said Jobs. "There are tens of millions of people in the US who already know how to sync their iPods with iTunes, and syncing their new iPhone with iTunes works the same way."

"iPhone’s user-driven activation is another example of how AT&T and Apple have partnered to bring innovative new features to our customers," said AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. "iPhone’s innovative activation and sync is just one example of how this is going to be a real industry game-changer."

Apple’s iPhone will be priced at $499 for the 4GB model and at $599 for the 8GB model -- both require a two-year service agreement.

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RE: absurd
By AmbroseAthan on 6/26/2007 12:32:45 PM , Rating: 3
And in other news, "In a sly move by Microsoft, the Apple iPhone does not have WHQL certification for Windows Vista, so Vista users are SOL" ;-)

But in agreement with SandmanWN; the prices for the phone and then the plan are absolutely ridiculously high. The ~$60 plan is terrible for what you get.

Does anyone know if family plans will be able to add in the iPhone? That is the only way I could see these becoming more reasonable.

RE: absurd
By crimson117 on 6/26/2007 12:48:13 PM , Rating: 1
The ~$60 plan is terrible for what you get.

I think it's actually quite competetive.

$40 for 450 minutes plus some text messages included, unlimited mobile to mobile, fair amount of nights and weekends minutes. This is pretty standard, although many carriers offer unlimited nights and weekends.

Then $20 for the unlimited data plan. Most companies charge $30 or more per month for unlimited data.

RE: absurd
By FITCamaro on 6/26/2007 4:14:42 PM , Rating: 3
Sprint which has far better data speeds only charges $10-15 a month for its unlimited data services for phones.

RE: absurd
By Treckin on 6/26/2007 4:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint is by FAR the best carrier for both data and voice...
If people know their history and market, verizon, ATT/Cingular, metro PCS, Boost, Cricket, et all, run their networks over sprint cables... Sprint stands roughly for Southern Pacific Rail and Information Telesystems... Almost 90 percent of the optic and copper datalines run under Southern Pacific railroads lines. While many/most carriers fight over location of transmitter towers, all of the data leaving the tower travels over a sprint backbone...

Sprint used to be Bell Communications for anyone who remembers them... Bought in liquedation by SPR

Anyhow, all the other wireless carriers were fed up with apples preening and self importance, and told them to go fuck themselves. ATT/Cingular is hoping that the IPhone will revitalize their failing company.

The only reasons I could see the IPhone taking off are:
1. IFLOCK. Never underestimate the herding behavior if the human being.
2. Simple sync of the phone though Itunes, which everybody has. Most phones are in the suck when it comes to syncing with a PC.

RE: absurd
By AlexWade on 6/26/2007 5:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
Sprint is by FAR the best carrier for both data and voice...

That was the funniest thing I've seen all day. I can give you the numbers of several unhappy Sprint customers. I've only met 1 happy Sprint customers, and that was only because he wanted a specific phone. Sprint is, by miles, the WORST carrier ever. I have a friend who has Nextel. Pre-Sprint, it worked great. Post-Sprint, 95% of my calls to his phone go to voice mail. I often asked him if he heard the phone ring. His answer was always no. His wife says the same things. I have more. And they ALL complain about Sprint nickel-and-diming them to death.

Landline quality has nothing to do with cellular quality.

RE: absurd
By darkpaw on 6/26/2007 5:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
This I have to agree with. If I relied on my Sprint phone for business I would have serious issues. At least have my calls never ring on the phone and half the time I'm roaming on Verizon even in a major city. Since its only for personal calls and the data works very good anytime I'm not roaming, I'm happy with what I pay.

Sprints quality of service blows though, at least in the DC area. I had T-mobile for years and got much better service, but their dataplans were insanely expensive and the data is more important to me then the voice quality.

RE: absurd
By retrospooty on 6/26/2007 6:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
Cellular quality is really regionally based... All these carriers are pasted together from previous companies that covered different regions. So the quality of service (both phone/data and customer service) all depends on where you live for any of the major carriers. You both may be correct.

RE: absurd
By RjBass on 6/27/2007 10:36:12 AM , Rating: 2
This is true, because where I live, Kansas City (home of Sprint), Sprint service is excellent. But then again I am with AT&T/Cingular because of better prices, and I don't have problems with it either. I rarely find myself in an area where I don't have service. Even my 3g service is excellent.

RE: absurd
By Hydrofirex on 6/26/2007 8:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
Have to agree with you about Nextel before and after Sprint. I worked for Them just before the buy out. I had unlimited minutes and internet, and I used the hell out of it. It was by far the BEST service. It was like selling water because the brand really had a reputation of quality behind it. At the time they were doing very well: they had the highest average monthly customer charge, the lowest churn, good customer service ratings, and a rapidly growing user base. I bought a little employee stock which more than doubled while I was employed there. The whole empire hinged on Direct Connect though - something you don't even hear about any more. For some reason the Walkie-Talkie feature which made Nextel has lapsed into oblivion with Sprint "Together with Nextel" (Our totally silent partner who we locked in a room and don't feed.)

It's sad, becuase to be perfectly honest the largest number of people who came into that store looking to switch - by far - came from Sprint. I've always laughed that they all got sucked back in, so to speak.

Nextel was definitely the best carrier to be with. You got paid well, unlimited minutes, you got a free phone and super cheap top-end phones, and they even had good health and commission rates. On top of that they had that killer service and brand loyalty. Especially in coprorate, construction, government, and education....

I have a feeling they just didn't have the money and resources to compete in the next-gen wireless network game. That, or the someone cashed out.


RE: absurd
By bigboxes on 6/26/2007 9:32:04 PM , Rating: 5
Ok, enough with the Sprint bashing. I am in the Dallas area and have had Sprint for 8 years. While not perfect, their service is a lot better than their competition. My calls sound clear and strong. Whenever someone who is not on Sprint calls I can immediately tell the difference. AT&T voice quality flat out sucks. Sprint has the fastest data speeds although I rarely use the phone's browser when I'm out, just use it to connect my laptop when out on the road. The only thing that Sprint could improve on is the phone selection. As far as Nextel goes... couldn't tell ya there, but I am guessing they'll faze out the Nextel brand within five years. As for the "walkie-talkie" feature, I'm sure it's great for when you are doing on-site construction or are out on the factory floor. But when you see morons using it to carry on a conversation at a sit-down restaurant or in line at the grocery store you just want to run the retards over with your cart. It's bad enough that idiots talk on cell phones everywhere. Now just throw in that stupid "walkie-talkie" feature and it goes something like this...

Idiot 1: *BLEE-BEEEP* Hey, what are you doing?
Idiot 2: *BLEE-BEEEP* Hey, standing in line at Wal-Mart.
Idiot 2: *BLEE-BEEEP* What are you doing?
Idiot 1: *BLEE-BEEEP* At AMC watching a movie.
Idiot 2: *BLEE-BEEEP* What are you watching?
Idiot 1: *BLEE-BEEEP* Some movie with Robert DiNiro. Just a second... WHY DON'T YOU SHUTUP?...
Idiot 1: *BLEE-BEEEP* Ok, I'm back. Some loser was getting in my face while I'm trying to watch the movie.
Idiot 2: *BLEE-BEEEP* I hear ya homie. Look I gotta go. I can't hear what the checkout girl wants.
Idiot 2: *BLEE-BEEEP* I'll call you back once I get to the restroom. I gotta go reeeal bad.
Idiot 1: *BLEE-BEEEP* Werrrd. Latez.

RE: absurd
By Devo2007 on 6/27/2007 4:38:44 AM , Rating: 3
You've just illustrated quite well the reason why I loathe the walkie-talkie service.

It's bad enough hearing one person shouting into their phone -- it's a million times worse to hear the other side at maximum volume (and the annoying beep that precedes each message).

RE: absurd
By BillyBatson on 6/26/2007 9:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
I totally disagree with you! I had Cingular (Pacbell) back int he day and before that AT&T. My Mom went from being with AT&T for 5 years to Nextel. My dad had Pacbell (cingular), Sprint, and is now very unhappily with T-Mobile. My sister left Nextel and is with me now on Sprint. Sprint is by far the best service we have ever had!!!!!!!!!! They did screw with my dad several times but it was all mistakes that were quickly fixed but due to that and him wanting more minutes with his GF he switched to tmobile. I am VERY happy with sprint, I get coverage nearly everywhere (except a 1 hour stretch on the 10 in Texas, data is the best, plan pricing is a little high but competitive.
I LOVE SPRINT!!!! and no iphone will get me to switch even though in the last 2 years phone quality itself has dropped on their service, they went from having the best phones to nothing. I had the Samsung Blade for the last 1.5 years and now have the Samsung Upstage. Been with them 3 years and counting.

RE: absurd
By djc208 on 6/28/2007 2:08:32 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree, I've had Sprint for about five years now and while I won't sing their praises from a rooftop they've been good to me. Their pricing is some of the better I've seen, coverage might not be as good as Verison but it works just everywhere I need it to. Best part is they'll through out some decent extras to get you to re-sign. I've gotten a few free upgrades to my calling plan over the years to renew my contract.
I do wish the phone selection was better but part of that is me, I can't have a camera phone at work, so a lot of the ones I like I can't get unless I don't take them to work (which kind of defeats the purpose of having a cell).

RE: absurd
By FITCamaro on 6/27/2007 7:08:20 AM , Rating: 2
I have Verizon btw. We had Sprint but for some reason in my parents house we couldn't get a signal. Just there. I could be under the building of where I worked at the time and get a signal, but not at my parents house. So we switched. Verizon is just as good as Sprint though. I worked for Sprint as a sales rep though for a year in college and found out all the nasty secrets that the other carriers don't tell you (Verizon didn't have any). I'll never use Cingular/AT&T or T-Mobile.

RE: absurd
By Schrag4 on 6/27/2007 9:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
I find it interesting how people say one service stinks and another rules. Call my cynical, but I basically view all cell companies as the same. Sure their rates differ and the coverages differ, but in the end, a lot of people will be satisfied but some will be screwed over royally.

About verizon: A co-worker of mine had a terrible time with Verizon's customer support. Short story is that they payed their bill via bill-pay at their bank, and Verizon could find no record of it (even though they took the money). He jumped through hoops for months obtaining data from their bank, etc, but in the end Verizon would never accept the data that THEY REQUESTED as proof that they paid. They even called corporate headquarters and the person they talked too laughed at them when they suggested legal action because they Verizon has an army of lawyers and they're just some peeved customers. Their customer support even told them to 'F Off'. No kidding.

So maybe your verizon service is great, but don't get in a dispute with them. You'll get bent over the futon...

None of the companies have a reason to improve their support because they all stink. It's kind of like price fixing. If they all agree to not improve their customer support then none of them have to.

RE: absurd
By cochy on 6/26/2007 7:05:31 PM , Rating: 2
Man...Unlimited data plans don't even exist here in Canada.


RE: absurd
By Devo2007 on 6/27/2007 4:31:36 AM , Rating: 2
....and if it were, we'd be charged $200/month to use it.....and that's probably not exaggerating too much (based on current Canadian data rates)

RE: absurd
By peldor on 6/26/2007 12:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
I would guess the $60 plan is intentionally low on minutes (relative to the typical intended user's needs) to get people to pony up for a higher plan.

RE: absurd
By Phynaz on 6/26/2007 2:15:58 PM , Rating: 2

How much are you paying for an unlimited data plan?

RE: absurd
By Circle T on 6/26/2007 2:32:53 PM , Rating: 4
I pay $65 a month for 500 anytime minutes, and then unlimited EVERYTHING else. Thats unlimited text, IM, mobile-mobile calls, web browsing, pic and video messaging, and GPS use. All while being on a 3G network. This is all with Helio, on my Ocean.

I think the iPhone device prices are fine. Its got a lot of great stuff going on, so thats fine with me. But the plan prices are a bit high. Thats less anytime minutes, a limited number of night and weekend minutes, VERY limited number of texts, and no 3G coverage. No thanks.

I like Apple, and think the phone looks great. But, like many people, I'll wait for version 2.0 at the earliest. Then maybe, once they at least get some 3G in there, it will be worth it for me. Not until then though.

RE: absurd
By Hoser McMoose on 6/27/2007 10:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
a limited number of night and weekend minutes

Is 5,000 minutes really "limited"? I mean, does anyone actually talk on the phone for more then 83 hours a month outside of business hours? That's just a bit shy of 3 hours a day, each and every day of the month.

Maybe it's just me, but I just don't have enough happening in my life to talk to anyone that much! :)

RE: absurd
By Circle T on 6/27/2007 10:52:32 PM , Rating: 1
Is 5,000 minutes a lot? Totally. But, there IS a limit. And, when you work 8-5 M-F like I do, many of the minutes I talk on my cell are during those times. I don't believe I've ever gotten anywhere close to 5,000. But just knowing it won't matter if I do is nice.

I didn't mean that to sound like I was saying its "limited" as in problematic. Just that there IS a limit in their plan, which I do not have. Aside from the 500 anytime minutes I get, every single other use of my phone is unlimited for me. And "UNLIMITED" is much better than "LIMITED" in my book. Regardless of how high the limit is.

RE: absurd
By darkpaw on 6/26/2007 3:05:09 PM , Rating: 3
Actually I'm paying $30 a month for almost the exact same plan from Sprint. 450 minutes, unlimited data/pic/video/mobile-to-mobile, 250 txt messages.

RE: absurd
By gramboh on 6/26/2007 4:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
Unlimited data on a device like this is worth more than it is on your normal cellphone. This will be used for email and 'real' web browsing which use more bandwidth that minibrowsing on a cell phone.

RE: absurd
By darkpaw on 6/26/2007 5:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
Hm, cause the email works fine on my phone. The web browsing leaves a lot too be desired, at least until I hook it up to my laptop and browse for no added fee on a 15" screen.

RE: absurd
By Rugar on 6/27/2007 10:12:42 AM , Rating: 2
I'm using the same plan that darkpaw is (SERO for the win!) with my PPC-6700. Screen-wise, the iPhone isn't much better than my 6700 so it's pretty comparable. $30 for 450 minutes, unlimited mobile to mobile, and unlimited internet. I use my phone for a standalone web browser when I'm waiting somewhere and I tether it to my laptop for internet on the road.

The iPhone is pretty and has lots of nice functions, but those are clearly "early adopter" rate plans. If Cingular ever brings the rate plans down to what I am paying now with Sprint and Apple integrates 3G into the iPhone then I might consider buying one. No way I'd switch right now.

RE: absurd
By Spyvie on 6/26/2007 2:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
As reticent as I am to defend Apple/AT&T, the plan pricing seems reasonable to me.

I’m paying $70 a month for 1000 minutes and unlimited data on my T-Mobile Wing, 39.95 for voice and $29.95 for data. And that doesn’t include SMS, which I use very little with 3 email accounts I have set up on my phone.

I wonder if you can access any POP email from the iPhone?

RE: absurd
By Circle T on 6/26/2007 2:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if you can access any POP email from the iPhone?

It will do both POP3 and IMAP.

RE: absurd
By ksherman on 6/26/2007 2:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
I have the Blackberry Minutes and Mail package... $60 a month, unlimited internet, unlimited text messaging (incl IM) and 1000 anytime minutes. Its really the perfect plan for me. My only complaint is that T mobile's internet is not all that fast.

Oh, and T Mobile allows you to tether your phone to your computer for the internet at no additional charge! Basically, I can get internet any where, and I love it!

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