Apple Offers Contract-Free (Full Price) iPhone 3G & 3GS in U.S.

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Apple has begun offering full price iPhone 3G and 3GS units without an AT&T contract at its US Apple Store locations, and without customers having to show ID. Gizmodo reported that Apple sent an internal memo to employees announcing the change on Monday.

The phones are still locked, however, which means they will still work only on AT&T’s network. Apple used to require an AT&T contract for its phones, even for the ones being purchased without a contract subsidy.

The FAQ included in the memo specifically states, “Q: Do you have to be an AT&T customer to purchase an iPhone at full price? A: No. Any customer can purchase one device only full price iPhone.”

Apple offers its 8GB iPhone 3G for US$499, the 16GB iPhone 3GS for $599, and the 32GB iPhone 3GS for $699. Customers are limited to one such purchase per day.

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Comments

Donna

How is this any different than the full-priced iPhones that have been selling at buy.com and countless other companies… all along?
 
(And for less money.)

vasic

Finally! And surprisingly enough, prices are quite reasonable, compared to their equivalents in other markets where the laws require unlocked, contract-free offerings (Belgium, Italy, etc).

At last, there is a LEGITIMATE offering of an unlocked, contract-free phone in the US, unlike all those gray-market devices that have been sold online in the US (unlocked EU models re-imported into US, with questionable warranty and support).

Intruder

Vasic,

They are not unlocked. They just come without a contract.

vasic

I stand corrected. Locked to AT&T? Then it is pretty much pointless. AT&T’s pay-as-you-go (prepaid) plans aren’t any cheaper than their standard two-year (with subsidy) plans.

Who in their right mind would want to spend extra $400 on a phone, and then pay AT&T for the full regular plan, when they can do exactly the same thing, only spend $100 for the phone instead? The monthly plan includes the subsidy part either way (around $20 per month), which one would be giving as a gift to AT&T every month. I really don’t see the value of this offer, until they actually offer truly unlocked device. On the other hand, without any changes to the phone, an unlocked iPhone will ONLY be usable on AT&T in the US. T-Mobile is the only other GSM carrier, but their 3G network is incompatible with AT&T’s, and therefore the iPhone would be falling back on the old (and slow) GPRS.

daemon

Vasic, the iPhone also has a 2G radio. According to Steve Jobs the iPhone only needs 2G and is amazingly fast.

vasic

That’s exactly what I said:

iPhone would be falling back on the old (and slow) GPRS.

Many people are complaining that even the current 3G is often slow. The old EDGE (GPRS) is much slower.

I shall assume you’re being sarcastic.

brett_x

So I can pick one of these up, throw my AT&T SIM card in it and have an iPhone without a data plan, right? That will free up space in my pocket (and allow me to hand down my iPod touch).

vasic

That’s about the only benefit; not being locked into that $30 per month data plan. In a way, you could recover the difference between subsidised and unsubsidised phone ($400) in a bit over a year (as long as you NEVER use any data services). With some judicious usage of data (occasional e-mail, Google Maps lookup etc.), you could come out ahead after about two years or so.

So, is it really worth it?

Vince

brett, yes you can but you would most likely get a nag text message from AT&T saying that you’re using an iPhone without a data plan. I think you also need to know that the iPhone is data-centric so IT WILL USE DATA. You can jailbreak and switch the data off but that’s another story…

brett_x

It wouldn’t use data because I’ve already blocked data access to the phones on my account. I did that because 1) I don’t text pictures, and 2) my phone mistakenly (don’t know how) used 1kb of data once and it cost me $2. I only let that happen once.

I know it’s not the ideal situation, but once I see what the next generation iPhone does, I’ll make up my mind. I can live without visual voicemail and the other data features. I’ll still have wifi like my iPod touch. And my wife can have my iPod touch.

Dennis

This is Great News for us that bought WiFi iPads! Forget my iphone contract at $30.00 times 2 for me and my wife, and the $30.00 I would have had to pay for the iPad. The plan now is to pick up a Sprint 4G MiFi unit and share the internet between all these devices. Oh yeah and my wife and I can also use it with Laptops!
So I will have to carry another small device for our internet connection. It’s well worth it to me just knowing that I am not giving AT&T ALL my money! As far as carrying the MiFi?How about a iPad case with a Pocket for your MiFi unit. Looks like I need to quit typing and getting to the drawing board.

ravi chandra

i want to buy an iphone 3gs 32gb in usa and use it in india

as i want an unlocked iphone which can be done later also!

so i need to know whether i should but contract free or not

as i am not going to use it even for once in the usa

so plz tell me should i buy contract free or not??

thanks in advance!

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