BestBuy Offers iPhone 3GS for Free

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Best BuyBig box retailer Best Buy is offering Apple’s iPhone 3GS for free with a two-year service contract in a one-day promotional offer on Monday. Apple currently sells its older iPhone model for US$49, and AT&T sells the refurbished iPhone 3GS for $9, making Best Buy’s free offer an enticing deal for smartphone buyers on a budget.

Unlike AT&T’s $9 offer, Best Buy is selling new iPhone 3GS units. The phone includes 8GB of storage, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, built-in GPS, a 3 megapixel camera, and more.

The iPhone 3GS became Apple’s discount iPhone model when the iPhone 4 was released in June 2010. When the next iPhone model is released, the iPhone 4 will most likely take the 3GS’s place as Apple’s lower cost smartphone model — but at a higher price point than the company has currently slapped on the 3GS.

iPhone 3GSApple’s iPhone 3GS

Assuming buyers are fine with buying an iPhone model that could be two generations old within the next few weeks, and locking themselves into a two-year AT&T contract as part of the deal, they can get a smartphone running iOS in their hands for just the cost of a service contract.

Best Buy’s free iPhone 3GS offer is available in-store, but you can check it out through the company’s Web site on Monday only.

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Not bad - if you add in the cost of the AT&T contract (~$75/month for two years) then it’s only $1800 vs. $1850.

Of course, that omits the tax; if you live in a state which charges sales tax on the *unsubsidized* price, then that will add a bit more than expected, e.g. ~$25 on your “$0” phone (which had an unsubsidized price of $300.)

So yeah, you’re saving $50 the first month, and then you’re locked in to $75-77/month for 23 months. (It’s nominally $69.99 but that’s before taxes and random monthly AT&T fees like a “carrier charge recovery fee.”)

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