Thursday, May 01, 2008

AT&T Makes Move To Less Expensive iPhone

According to Fortune magazine - AT&T is talking about giving customers of the new iPhone model (rumored to be introduced next month) a $200 rebate in exchange for a 2 year contract.

Hmmm.... it's not APPLE giving the rebate, but AT&T. And, if you activate your iPhone via Apple, you still have to make a 2 year commitment... so... hmmm.

What is AT&T thinking?

Well, since it's customary here in the US for carriers to subsidize $100 to $200 on handsets (give them the razor, sell them the blades) anyway, and given the average bill for an iPhone customer is $100 per month - it's a pretty good bet.

Granted, AT&T doesn't get to keep all that money - they still have to fork over a percentage to Apple of the monthly revenue - but even if their payback is 3 months - it's still a good investment for them.

It's funny - but as of now - Apple won't be promoting the rebate in their stores - and it sounds like you'll have to buy the new iPhone directly from AT&T to get the discount. Or not. It's still unclear on the procedure for the rebate - but if I were AT&T, I'd make them come into the store.

That way I can sell them a headset, mobile charger, iTunes gift card and more. Oh, and I'd also lock the phone so that people can't just buy the phone, unlock it, and change carriers - OR charge a huge early termination fee and tack the extra $200 rebate on to the penalty.

Since the release date of the iPhone 2.0 hasn't been announced, and the feature set has not been announced (but will probably be a 3G compatible phone with GPS built-in), AND AT&T has been building out their 3G network for the past year... it will be interesting to watch.

Besides all the 'squishy' information that is available (read: speculation) - Apple is absolutely jonesing to sell 10 million iPhones THIS year.

I'll reserve my judgment until things are more firmed up (read: announced) - but there might just be an iPhone in my future...

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