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Cellphones Wireless (Apple) The Almighty Buck Hardware

AT&T To Offer No-Contract iPhone 193

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the pay-even-more-as-you-go dept.
rfc1394 writes "While the regular price of an iPhone is $199 if you take a 2-year contract with AT&T, if you're willing to pay a lot more you can get one without a contract. An article in InfoWorld mentions that 'Freedom will come with a price — $599 for an 8GB device and $699 for a 16GB — but this will mark the first time consumers in the United States are able to buy an iPhone without being tied down to a two-year contract. The phone probably would still be locked for use only on AT&T's network, said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. But buyers could choose a pay-as-you-go plan for voice service.' The question still remains, does it make any sense to pay that much for a phone that is still locked to AT&T's network even if you aren't bound to a contract?" Update: 07/05 18:21 GMT by T : An anonymous reader suggests that there is a convoluted but possibly cheaper route to an new, unlocked iPhone.
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AT&T To Offer No-Contract iPhone

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  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:19AM (#24065745) Journal
    So I buy a phone outright for $599/$699, or I buy a phone for $199/$299 with a 2 year plan ($36 activation fee) then cancel the contract immediately for $175...net cost $410/$510. Hmmmm.....
    • by Robert1 (513674) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:29AM (#24065825) Homepage

      Most phone companies have a stipulation in the contract that forces you to return the phone if you cancel the contract soon after starting it. In this case I would think that time would be about 6 months or so - enough time for them to squeeze out the 600/700 dollar cost.

      • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:31AM (#24065833)

        What if the phone gets "stolen"?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by grumling (94709)

          Well, you should have bought insurance.

          • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:53AM (#24066027)

            You can't buy insurance from the carrier for high dollar phones such as the iPhone. People that buy them will buy another one if it gets stolen ( Well, okay, I'm buying another one to replace my stolen iphone on the 11th ). And its not really profitable for them to charge you a $20 insurance fee for a phone that they actually have to pay for, unlike all the other give-away phones that they don't mind insuraning because they are so cheap that the fee they charge you when you make a claim is more than the phone costs them.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Sorry you're wrong. Insurance is definitely offered on iphones. I guess you don't know what you are talking about or regret not buying the insurance yourself because I have an iphone and I have insurance @ 4.95 a month w AT&T. That's pretty standard for a smartphone. Verizon charged me the same insurance fee when I had a treo.

              • by BitZtream (692029)

                If you have insurance, its because they don't realize you have an iPhone, did you have insurance before you bought the iPhone? Its likely the just didn't turn off the billing.

          • by Kawolski (939414)
            See those quotes around "stolen"? That means it's not REALLY stolen. So you buy the phone for $299, activate for $36, cancel for $175, and you can't be forced to return the phone because it got "stolen."

            Now from this point, is it as easy as going to another provider and having them swap the SIM?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          It's always possible to game the system if you're willing to defraud it sufficiently. I mean, hey, I need more money, what if my bank gets "robbed"?

          • by Yvan256 (722131)

            As long as it's your own bank account, I don't think anyone will mind.

            • I'm pretty sure the bank will mind greatly if you steal money from your own account, then report it as stolen and tell them you expect them to refund you for failing to protect it.

        • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert&chromablue,net> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:48PM (#24068783)
          Good luck using it when they blacklist the IMEI from their network (and then publish it to the other networks).

          Can't say I wouldn't laugh, either - entering into an agreement with every intention of breaking it, and being willing to file a fraudulent police report just to save yourself some money? What a world class fucking citizen you are.

        • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @06:16PM (#24070051) Journal

          What if the phone gets "stolen"?

          Then you might get accused of "fraud".

          There's no way (as of yet) to change the iPhone's ESN, so if you report the phone stolen, you can expect the ESN to be barred from US networks (and EU ones, come to think of it) -- and if you try to use it, an alert will be triggered (assuming that AT&T's policies are anything like the policies of the carriers in the EU when it comes to stolen phones.)

      • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:33AM (#24065863) Journal
        Maybe but in the case of AT&T they do not:

        Cancellations/Early Termination Fee: An Early Termination Fee of $175 may be assessed against you in the event that you terminate your Wireless Service Agreement and/or selected plan before the expiration of its term. For Service activated on or after May 25, 2008, the Early Termination Fee will be reduced by $5.00 for each full month toward your minimum term that you complete. You may cancel your service, for any reason and without incurring the Early Termination Fee, within thirty (30) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, PROVIDED, however, that if you cancel service you will remain responsible for any service fees and charges incurred. If you cancel within three (3) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, you will be entitled to a refund of your activation fee, if any. If you exercise this option, you may be required to return devices and associated accessories purchased in connection with your Wireless Service Agreement.

        So you wait until the 4th day.
        • ...If you exercise this option, you may be required to return devices and associated accessories purchased in connection with your Wireless Service Agreement.

          So if you cancel your contract you don't necessarily get to keep the iPhone after paying the Early Termination Fee.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by antifoidulus (807088)
            No, you don't get to keep it if you cancel within the 30 day "trial"(for lack of a better word), and DONT pay the early termination fee.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I see how you are getting this interpretation...

            It's interesting to see just how ambiguous this section of the contract seems to be. Obviously, AT&T would agree with your interpretation. A court may not. Of, course, we don't want to pay court costs just to argue to try and save $189 dollars.

            On the other hand, there have already been many iPhones bought and contracts cancelled, so if AT&T has NOT been demanding the hardware back after the 30 day period then they would be hard pressed to start
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Joren (312641)
            Hey, um...did you read GP all the way? He's saying wait until day 4. Go back and read about one sentence before the part you quoted; it says you have to return the equipment only if you want to exercise an option to refund your activation fee and cancel within three days. We're not using this option - we're cancelling the normal way, by waiting until day four and paying the activation fee and early termination fee, so this doesn't apply to us. Even with all those fees added up, it's still cheaper.

            I pe
          • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:28AM (#24066357) Journal
            This is getting better and better...

            They have a special iPhone section ((4) iPHONE TERMS AND CONDITIONS): Terms Applicable to AT&T Nation/FamilyTalk® GSM Plans: Credit approval required. Subscriber must live and have a mailing address within AT&T's owned network coverage area. An early termination fee applies if service is terminated before the end of the contract term. The fee will begin at $175 per device and decrease by $5 each month for the term of the agreement. If phone is returned within 3 days, activation fee will be refunded. If phone is returned within 14 days in like-new condition with all components, early termination fee will be waived. Service may be cancelled after 14 days but within 30 days and early termination fee will be waived, but equipment may not be returned. All other charges apply. Some dealers impose additional fees.

            So they explicitly say that you can cancel the service between 14 and 30 days, avoid the early termination fee, but don't have to return the iPhone. As an aside, this section also implies that the "you may be required to return devices" in the other part of the contract indeed only applies to the first 30 day period, but the explicit iPhone section makes the various interpretations of the other section mute for this question.

            So, we can buy the iPhone outright for $599/$699 or we can get a contract and cancel it after 14 days (but before 30 days) and pay a net of $235/$335. As my son would say Sweeeet.
            • Service may be cancelled after 14 days but within 30 days and early termination fee will be waived, but equipment may not be returned.

              thanks for digging that up.
              It is an interesting loophole and I wonder if they will close it or if it is there for some other reason it is worded like that.

              from the perspective of a Dealer, this seems like a raw deal. For example, lets say half the people who buy new iPhones bring them back on the 15th day and want to cancel their contracts.
              The Dealer has to do all thi
              • If this were code for a program, I would say that someone has been hacking at the code trying to work around a problem.

                It seems like no one at AT&T has reviewed the full contract and how it all works together. Or, as you say, there is could be a hidden issue that dictates those precise words. Maybe they're trying to avoid class-action lawsuits [informationweek.com] concerning unreasonable contract requirements?

                As to changing the contract, I assume that is possible. While they list the iPhone on their web site, you ca
            • by Coppit (2441)

              For the record, I canceled my service within the first 3 days on my iPhone and they didn't ask me to return it. I suspect they would with the new no-plan policy.

            • I suspect "return the phone" meant "return it for a refund". I bet still expect you to "surrender it" -- in other words, you don't pay the ETF, but you end up without a phone and without your $199.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mosherkl (1251628)

          It usually works that if you cancel within the 30 days, you return the equipment and you don't need to pay the ETF. However, if you decide you want to keep the equipment, you'll probably be required to pay the ETF even though you're within the 30 days.

          Probably the same with the 3 day thing (though the wording is rather ambiguous). If you decide not to receive a refund of the activation fee, as well as pay the ETF, you can probably still keep the hardware.

        • by Lars T. (470328)
          Well, maybe you should check the current Terms of Service [att.com]:

          30-DAY CANCELLATION PERIOD/TERMINATION You may terminate this Agreement within thirty (30) days after activating service without paying an Early Termination Fee. You will pay for service fees and charges incurred through the termination date, but AT&T will refund your activation fee, if any, if you terminate within three (3) days of activating the service. Also, you may have to return any handsets and accessories purchased with this Agreement. If you terminate after the 30th day but before expiration of the Agreement's Service Commitment, you will pay AT&T an Early Termination Fee for each wireless telephone number associated with the service.

          Seems clear to me. You go through with the contract or you pay the Early Termination Fee or you "may have to" return the phone - period.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            It's better than I thought...current Terms of Service: ((4) iPHONE TERMS AND CONDITIONS): Terms Applicable to AT&T Nation/FamilyTalkî GSM Plans: Credit approval required. Subscriber must live and have a mailing address within AT&T's owned network coverage area. An early termination fee applies if service is terminated before the end of the contract term. The fee will begin at $175 per device and decrease by $5 each month for the term of the agreement. If phone is returned within 3
    • by xeena (979426) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:33AM (#24065869)
      You would need to pay for 1 month of your contract ($70 is the cheapest?), if you cancel before 30 days you have to return the phone. Also, there has been no confirmation of the early termination fee being $175 for the iPhone. (if it were to be $175 you would still end up getting the phone a bit cheaper than going with the no commitment option).
      • The contract reads: You may cancel your service, for any reason and without incurring the Early Termination Fee, within thirty (30) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, PROVIDED, however, that if you cancel service you will remain responsible for any service fees and charges incurred. If you cancel within three (3) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, you will be entitled to a refund of your activation fee, if any. If you exercise this option, you may be required to return devices an
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by isepic (117674)

          The 3 day "trial" is a full 100% refund. The 30 day "trial" is the same thing, but you don't get your activation fee refunded ($36) (for days between day 4 and day 30). Given this, after 30 days, you have to pay (1) 1 months worth of service (2) $36 activation fee (3) 199/299 for the phone, and (4) termination fee of 175 - and quite possibly a pro rated second month of usage (if any).

    • by Kagura (843695)

      So I buy a phone outright for $599/$699, or I buy a phone for $199/$299 with a 2 year plan ($36 activation fee) then cancel the contract immediately for $175...net cost $410/$510. Hmmmm.....

      They're tricking you into thinking you're winning... and you fell for it.

  • Still locked? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MacDork (560499) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:19AM (#24065747) Journal
    Fail
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arth1 (260657)

      Indeed. If the manufacturer won't sell you a phone that hasn't been locked to a provider /in the first place/, don't buy from that manufacturer. There are other phones than iPhone -- some of them far more convenient or flashy. That's two of the three reasons for buying an iPhone -- the third is if you're a lemming.

      I've bought my phones unlocked directly from the manufacturer. All features work, and I'm not fettered to a specific program on the computer, or subject to DRM.

      Planless phones and unlocked ph

  • by nweaver (113078) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:28AM (#24065815) Homepage

    As the ETF is probably only $150-200 or so, just get a phone for $200 and when you decide you hate AT&T, just break the contract.

    What I worry about is this is the "tax price", so that in CA (and other states), you may pay $200, but you are paying tax on a $600 phone, which would up the cost to the end user an additional $33.

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:30AM (#24065829)

    "does it make any sense to pay that much for a phone that is still locked to AT&T's network even if you aren't bound to a contract?"

    As Henry Ford once said of his Model T, "the customer can have any color he wants, so long as it's black." But only a cellphone company could call that a "custom color choice" and charge extra for it.

  • Bad PR and no skillz (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mattr (78516) <mattr@NosPam.telebody.com> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:33AM (#24065861) Homepage Journal

    The price quoted probably is a fair price. They are subsidising it. But that is priced out of the U.S. market, it is even at the high end of the Japanese market.

    That price is what the Apple should sell the phone for to other phone companies, and they will then be able to provide service and subsidize some portion of it. The only value this announcement has is to tell people how much the subsidy was. The other poster has it right, Fail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hkmarks (1080097)

      It's a comparable price with a high-end Blackberry, Treo, or HTC, and those sell just fine in the US market. It's not riding coach, but it's not riding first class either. Expensive... but it's a smart phone, not a plain cell.

      I don't use my cell much -- I could easily get away with 50 minutes a month. I don't text much. I don't need much data transfer since I'm usually have wi-fi access. But I love a PDA. Sticking the two together but letting me stay on a pay-as-you-go plan would be perfect -- it'd sa

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by perlchild (582235)

      If only I had mod points.
      The only thing that makes sense is for Apple, to sell in-store, the unlocked model. AT&T selling it(and locking it) just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

      The phone is made under agreement to Apple. It should be supported by Apple(with full Apple care please) for use on any network. Period.

      What it also tells us is that AT&T is hurting for publicity. Everyone knows it's an Apple iPhone, not an AT&T iPhone. I want AT&T to shut up about "iphones" they are providing GS

  • In the UK, it looks like O2 will offer the iPhone on pay-as-you-go (that is, without contract), but for £199-ish (~$399), or, at the outside, £299 (~$599). The first is looking more likely. Nothing's been confirmed yet, though.
  • $80 to cancel in Oz (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nighty5 (615965) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:46AM (#24065959)

    Australians will enjoy the ability to buy a pre-paid iPhone and unlock it to work on any network for $80.

    They have allowed unlocking because the laws here don't allow you to lock a phone to a given provider without a reasonable option.

    • by Corporate Drone (316880) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:30AM (#24066375)
      Australians will enjoy the ability to buy a pre-paid iPhone and unlock it to work on any network for $80.

      Yes, but you'll be paying 800 $Aus (just for the phone) to do so, won't you?

      at $880 (which is about $840 USD), that's a heck of a difference from the AT&T price!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Absolutely it is.

        But in Australia, Apple fans are used to being bent over by Apple:

        • MBP, 17"
          • US: $2,799
          • AU: $3,799 (US$3,660 - 31% markup)
        • 2GB memory upgrade for same
          • US: $200
          • AU: $300 (US$289 - 45% markup)
        • Apple 30" Cinema Display
          • US: $1,799
          • AU: $2,798 (US$2,696 - 50% markup)

        Blame it on shipping? No. Shipping from Asia to Australia is cheaper than to the US. Tariffs and taxes? Fifty per cent tariffs on this stuff? I think not. Apple just is quite happy to gouge the holy hell out of anything it can.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      Apple should ask itself "We are shipping a new concept and device in 2000s, it is our first phone, why do we need to do things which are even forbidden by law in some countries?"

      Of course, if there is anyone at Apple iPhone business division with a sane mind.

  • Why buy an iPhone (Score:2, Insightful)

    by desertrat_it (650209)
    When an OpenMoko is cheaper and has better hardware specifications?
    • by nuggetman (242645) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:58AM (#24066077) Homepage

      Because there's something to be said for having walk-in support at the Apple store, the Apple user interface, access to the app/music store... shall I go on? People buying an iPhone likely aren't buying it based on specs.

    • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:02AM (#24066103)

      Because the software is shit? No one can even make the example videos of it look like its decent. I expect my phone not to lag, have you seen OpenMoko in use? Its a joke.

      I know I'm going to be modded as a flame, but seriously, no one who wants a phone to USE will want OpenMoko. It looks cool as hell from a developer/hacker point of view, one of the guys I work with ( who loves his windows mobile phone, heh ) intends to order one to play with, but he just replaced his old phone with another Windows Mobile phone so he had one that actually worked along side the OM phone he hacks around on.

      But ... no one who just wants a usable phone wants to deal with an OS thats ... pre-alpha at the very best, and will come with absolutely 0 support from your carrier.

      The people who will buy an OpenMoko device are developers, not users. The people who buy an iPhone are users who don't want to be developers to know how to use their phone. They just want a phone thats intuitive and works.

      These two devices do not in any way target the same market at this point in time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gruntled (107194)

        Except, in my opinion, it doesn't work. Or, to be more precise as a pocket computer, it's amazing. As a phone, however, it's craptacular. Phone calls on it are unbelievably bad. Like Eighties analog cell coverage in the mid-West bad. It's inexcusable.

    • Re:Why buy an iPhone (Score:5, Informative)

      by cos(0) (455098) <pmw+slashdot@qnan.org> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:02AM (#24066107) Homepage

      Are the hardware specifications of a cell phone the only relevant thing? Absolutely not. Hardware defines the device's potential, but the device's quality is determined in a large part by its software. And Openmoko Freerunner's software stack is pretty sucky right now.

      Right now Freerunner's battery life is something like 5 hours [openmoko.org], and there are many other issues [slashdot.org].

      A great example of why all but a handful of people may prefer an iPhone to a Freerunner is this month's discussion of filesystem images [openmoko.org] on the mailing list. Apparently there's an FSO image ("make and receive calls. That's about it."), an ASU image ("qtopia apps don't start if I have the SIM in the phone"), a GTK image ("more or less what the phone came preloaded with"), a ScaredyCat image ("mostly works"). This should make it pretty clear that a Freerunner is not a consumer-ready device and is definitely NOT an iPhone equivalent.

      A Freerunner should only be purchased by those who are fully prepared to deal with it as a hobby rather than as a consumer-ready phone/PDA. Posts like yours are misleading and do a disservice both to the consumer and to the Openmoko project.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:49AM (#24066007)

    Once you are out of contract, they are required by law to unlock your phone for use on any carrier, so selling a no-contract phone thats locked doesn't make a whole lot of sense, as they'd just have to provide an unlock code at your request anyway. I guess they'll probably do it just to make people who don't know any better use AT&T anyway.

    Either way, the price makes buying an unlocked phone absolutely retarded. You pay the $199/$299 and pay the $175 contract early termination fee and save yourself some money. After paying the termination fee, they have to unlock your phone so you can take it where ever you want, sans visual voicemail of course.

  • Here in the States, you are always locked into a provider, even if the phone is popular enough to be sold be more by than one provider. If the iPhone is supposed to be the future of computing in general, I don't know why it's only being sold as a phone. Or is it really only best used as a phone with a few other features? With the software base so limited, it's hard to tell. I would think Apple would sell these outright to people who want a portable computer (and then force you into AT&Ts maw if you
    • by plover (150551) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:03AM (#24066115) Homepage Journal

      Here in the States, you are always locked into a provider, even if the phone is popular enough to be sold be more by than one provider.

      No, you can buy a phone directly from a manufacturer without it being locked to a carrier. I purchased my unlocked Z6 from the on-line Motorola store. Of course nobody subsidized me for $175, either, so I paid full price for it. But I now have a phone that I can actually use if I travel abroad and buy a local SIM.

    • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:32AM (#24066401)

      The iPhone is certainly not a general computing device. I love my iPhone, and I actually enjoy the iPhone SDK, but ... it will never replace my laptop when I want to get something done.

      Typing on any phone sucks. Some suck less, but they all suck, even the ones with the keyboards that cover the full size of the phone ( HTC Tilt as an example ).

      The iPhone does some tasks great. Its a good 'phone' imo. Its obviously a great iPod, some would argue that there are better portable audio players, but I've never used a non-iPod player so my opinion is obviously biased. Its not as good as my old Palm V or Windows Mobile devices for taking notes or managing tasks by a long shot, but it does the job well enough.

      With the SDK release, it'll have a few cool/good apps for it come out soon, but its not a PC and never will be.

      As far as Palm being great because of open development, this is a double edge sword. Do you know how many absolutely crappy palm apps exist? I'd guess about 10 crappy apps exist for every half way decent app. The advantage to making it 'harder' to developer for the iPhone is that in itself will weed out many of the crappy apps written by people who wont put much effort into it.

      With Job's evil grip over apps with the AppStore and digital sigs, some types of malicious apps can be stopped as well.

      The only apps that may not be released on the iPhone are ones with a GPLv3 or like license due to the retarded restrictions in it that are supposed to help support my 'freedom' to do what I want with the software, but ARE restrictions to what I can do with it. Any GPLv2 or BSD or (insert any of the thousand other sane distribution licenses here) will be available, if not by the original authors, by someone else who is part of the SDK program, someone will probably make a service for OSS developers who don't have the money to blow on the iphone dev program.

      Even GPLv3 apps aren't ruled out. The original authors can do whatever they want with the software, they are not under the restrictions of the distribution license so they CAN release an iPhone version should they choose to, OR, they can grant someone else the right to do so.

      BUT ... in all of these, 99% of the apps out there, don't belong on the iPhone. Its a phone/entertainment device, with some basic computing abilities, nothing more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Palm was brilliant to open development to all comers, but Jobs' need for control is crippling an otherwise highly advanced piece of electronics.

      Hey, that's paraphrasing me: Gates was brilliant to open development to all comers, but Jobs' need for control is crippling an otherwise highly advanced piece of electronics.

  • by foniksonik (573572) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:55AM (#24066043) Homepage Journal

    Just FYI... the new data plan with AT&T is $30/month while the old plan (Edge) was only $20/month

    SO with the new phone you're already paying $120/year more than previous... which means people are actually paying more money over the 2 year period... $199 + $240 (2 year contract) = $459

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by philhyde (986376) *

      Just FYI... the new data plan with AT&T is $30/month while the old plan (Edge) was only $20/month

      ...and what's wrong with a 3G data plan costing more than a 2G data plan? I personally don't have an issue with paying more $ for a faster connection.

      • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @01:06PM (#24067271)

        What's wrong is that it's simply too expensive. I'd like to get an iPhone 3G but there's no way I'm going to pay $70/month for a telephone. $60 was right on my threshold for buying, and $70 is just too much. It may be necessary, reasonable, or whatever, but from my perspective as the customer it's just too much money.

        The cell phone situation in the US sucks pretty hard right now for a medium-light user. There's essentially no way to spend less than $45/month (including taxes) on a cell phone, even though I use perhaps 1/5th of my plan. Prepaid might save me a little money, but they don't get to be really sensible until you're calling much less than I am each month.

        • You are paying $70/month for a portable communications device with full internet access, just about anywhere you go.

          There could be many people who do not care or need internet access. But I would think most Slashdot readers would not be among them.

          • by darkwhite (139802)

            There could be many people who do not care or need internet access. But I would think most Slashdot readers would not be among them.

            We care a lot about internet access. We're just not willing to pay $70/month for it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Cyberllama (113628)

            Except that I'm getting the same thing out of my current iphone for $20 bucks a month (Gophone ftw). Sure a speed boost would be nice, but not 50 bucks a month worth of nice -- especially when the $20 bucks I'm paying per month now will work just fine an an iphone 3g for unlimited 3g data if I can get one without a contract.

            Not only that, but with gophone once every 45 days I can buy $10 bucks worth of credit on my sim card for only 2-3 bucks (via ebay, using a new prepaid code) and that I get periodic bon

            • I recall reading that the Gophone plans are extremely expensive if you use data. Do you just avoid using cellular internet, or am I mistaken on this?

              • If you don't pay the 20 bucks for unlimited data, then yes, it's very expensive -- 10 bucks a megabyte.

          • An utterly locked-down portable communications device, let's not forget.

            If Apple would let me load any code I felt like onto the thing, I might be willing to pay $70. But the thing is extremely restricted, and I certainly don't feel like paying $70/month so I can get e-mail, a web browser, and not be able to put my own code on it.

        • by Tumbleweed (3706)

          What's wrong is that it's simply too expensive. I'd like to get an iPhone 3G but there's no way I'm going to pay $70/month for a telephone.

          Yeah, I have the same problem with Ferrari. They should make them cheaper so I can afford them.

        • The other big problem with this is that there is no US carrier where a "$70 unlimited plan" means that your monthly bill will be anything less than $90+, what with "taxes, fees, service charges, taxes on fees, taxes on service charges, service charge for collecting tax on service charge, etc, ad infinitum). My wife and I are on a "$90" plan. Our monthly bill is usually $130 (with no 'overages').
    • In addition to the added $10/month for the 3G plan, the new iPhone plans do not include any SMS. For $5/month you can get the 200 message plan that was included in the original iPhone data plan.

      Although there has been a lot of talk that corporate/educational discounts will be available on iPhone plans for the 3G. So that could be a bonus, or in some cases could end up making the differences a wash.

  • The iphone was always available WITHOUT the 2 year contract from apple. I certainly never paid a 2 year contract when I bought my phone 9 months ago. Some people were able to activate w/ att without a contract is their credit was bad. Now, with the new plan, they're going to allow a subsidized version with a contract.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by devjj (956776) *
      FWIW, the iPhone box clearly states a 2-year agreement is required, as did/does the web site. One can be forgiven for not knowing about the prepaid option.
      • by Auckerman (223266)

        The box I keep my Slashdot Karma in says any readers of my posts have to give me $10, by contract, every month for the next two years.

        • by devjj (956776) *

          Your analogy doesn't hold. The 2-year mobile phone contract is fairly standard at this point, and governs what is fundamentally a data service that costs money to provide to a device that cost money to build. It is not like an EULA that dictates the use of software as it might be enforced by DRM.

          I don't like mobile phone contracts, or agree with Apple and AT&T's handling of the iPhone 3G. That doesn't mean they can't legally enforce the terms they've outlined. There's no justifiable claim of plausib

      • by slashkitty (21637)
        Huh? My iphone box says nothing about a contract. When I ordered it, it said I needed a contract for phone service with AT&T, but the hardware itself was no strings attached. Sure, there was the minor bit of software locking to prevent other cellphone providers, but that fell quickly.
  • No thanks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mrslacker (1122161)

    Just ordered my FreeRunner. Yes, it's $400, and yes it doesn't work perfectly yet but it's a big step up from what I have now (no phone at all) and the approx $10/month I will make in calls will be just fine with T-Mobile's PAYG vs being locked into yet another telco service contract.

  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kingcool1432 (993113)
    Wouldn't it make more sense to get the phone for $199 and pay them $200 for the contract termination fee?
  • Because I seem to hear lots of people laughing. Or are they crying? Hard to tell...
  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:32AM (#24066403)

    The phone probably would still be locked for use only on AT&T's network, said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. But buyers could choose a pay-as-you-go plan for voice service.

    AT&T has explicitly said that even without a contract you still have a locked phone and the same choices for plans [yahoo.com] (i.e. minimum $70 a month +taxes and fees for voice/data, with no sms).

    That doesn't sound like pay-as-you-go is allowed to me. Which is a shame, because if it was I might actually be interested. A $500 phone, $30 a month for data, and a hundred bucks for a year worth of minutes and SMSes is a better deal for me than a $200 phone plus $75+taxes+fees every month for more minutes than I use in a year.
    AT&T needs to let people who don't use their phone as a phone that much buy what they want.

  • rediculous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jessica89 (1319331)
    So even if you fork out the full price for an unlocked iPhone you can still only use it on AT&T anyways? Absurd! With all of iPhone/Apple/AT&T restrictions it's amazing that people are still flocking in masses to buy the gadget. SHEEP!
    • I think people are operating under the assumption that the newest iphone will be quickly hacked like the original in order to allow unlocking. Though I will say, AT&T's prepaid is currently about the cheapest way to get unlimited data (if data is your primary point of concern).

      There is actually a way to hack the original iphone to use a proxy server with T-Mobile's "T-zone" which basically gives you unlimited data for only 6.99 -- but T-Mobile frowns on this and will eventually find you and cut off you

  • "The question still remains, does it make any sense to pay that much for a phone that is still locked to AT&T's network even if you aren't bound to a contract?"

    Even a penny would be too much to pay for a locked phone.

  • With their "Slider" you have to buy a $100 'everything plan. So you get the phone for $130 and then you fork out $1200/year for the service.

  • It's the law in France that handsets have to be sold unlocked. So if you find yourself on the continent anytime soon, it would probably be a lot cheaper to just buy one there.

    (Incidentally, I'm going to France in October and plan on doing exactly this. Anyone do this with the 2.5G model and any tips? Thx)

  • I am sorry to say that the "update" from www.phonenews.com looks like a bit of a scam.

    First of all because the whole sceme depends on your ability to sell multiple items through eBay. And secondly because the "story" is pushing readers to sign up for a contarct using a direct link in the article - but the link looks very much like an "affiliate link" for AT&T.

    If that is correct then www.phonenews.com is making money every time a users signs up for that contracts. And their credibility goes right down th

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