UPDATED: iPhone 3G in the USA: Full Price for You!

AT&T Mouth of Sauron Speaks!

Hot on the heels of O2 in the UK offering FREE iPhones, and T-Mobile in Germany offering ONE Euro-buck iPhones, AT&T waddles up to the plate to remind these upstart old-worlders how a carrier is supposed to behave:

The company is treating the iPhone 3G pretty much just like any other phone in that people who are ineligible for upgrades have to pay the full, unsubsidized price for the phone. [...] AT&T hasn't specified what the unsubsidized price is.

Based on European conversions, however, let's expect that to push $700+

How do you know if you're eligible? AT&T continues to rock it old-school with nigh-impenetrable explanations.


Anthony sent us in a note about his conversation with an AT&T rep who confirmed/added the following: Eligible upgrades get you the sweetheart deal within your existing contract, if not you may get the price, but with contract extension.

Hey AT&T, murky much? How about just posting a nice, clear, concise breakdown of the process per subscriber situation? Not Telco enough?

Check out the read link for the deets.


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

UPDATED: iPhone 3G in the USA: Full Price for You!


I don't really understand this. That giz article makes it sound like the people who pay the new price are A) new customers and B) ANY existing customer who is eligible for an upgrade.
Previously, someone said that AT&T would charge the SUBSIDIZED price for any previous IPHONE OWNER, but now it has turned into only users eligible for an upgrade?
Guess I'm not getting an iPhone 3G until next February...

They will charge the SUBSIDIZED price for any previous iPhone owner- because they already paid full price for their phone. (And if you think about it, AT&T would love to get you switched over off your $20/mo revenue-sharing data plan to a $30/mo non-revenue-sharing data plan ASAP.)
However, if you got the SUBSIDIZED price (i.e. $200 off) some other phone by agreeing to a 2-year contract, then you won't be eligible for the SUBSIDIZED price on the iPhone 3G until you fulfill your obligations under the terms of your previous contract (or pay some sort of fee).
This is no doubt what will happen to users who buy the iPhone 3G now and then decide they want to upgrade to an iPhone 3G 32GB that might possibly arrive in the Fall: you'll have to pay the unsubsidized price.
I'm very interested to hear what the unsubsidized price is as I really want a 32 GB iPhone and also will no doubt want iPhone 2009 (which I hope will include hardware as well as software upgrades). I don't want to get stuck with no upgrade path until 2010.

What about sales at the Apple Store? I spoke with workers at several different stores and all said they would have the iPhone 3G for sale on July 11th at th $199 price. Will they have access to ATT's customer files to ensure you are eligible for an upgrade before they sell it to you?

DC: hmmm... well, considering that iTunes had access to your data to let you activate it previously, perhaps they'll do the same thing but only allow store staff to do it?
I guess maybe I will get the cheap price... still think I'll wait a bit :)

I just shot an email to ATT customer service since I won't be eligible for an upgrade until this October. If that's the case, then I'll wait to see if mo' better hardware is coming out (I'd love 32GB as above if it's coming this year). I'm not paying $400 or $500 now and then turn around and get hosed 6 months later, so maybe waiting is a good thing until I'm clear of the AT&T death star cash removal weapon.

I'm a bit confused...I'm not an ATT customer but am going to get the new iPhone when it comes out...do I still pay the 199 price or what?

Yes, you pay $199 because you are new. The only people that are in danger of this are existing, non-iPhone At&t customers that aren't eligible for contract renewal/upgrade.
This is the one rumor that needs to be demystified above all the others. It is driving me crazy that they can't just give us a damned price... I can't understand how Apple had all their stuff together to present the keynote, unveil the product, announce the subsidized prices, and give a release date; yet At&t still can't get their end of it straight. What are they going to do, wait until July 9th or 10th to tell us existing, non-iPhone customers that we are screwed?
So, so, so irritating.

@ Drew
Drew, yes, as a new ATT customer you will either pay 199 or 299 depending on which model you want (8GB or 16GB). Be prepared to also see ATT's $36 activation fee on your first bill.

Tom, you are 100% correct -- this is just disgusting. I'm not eligible for an upgrade until October. I'm willing to sign a new contract to get the usubsidized price. I'm also happy to pay full price if I can keep my old plan. Either way, ATT needs to let us know clearly what's the deal!
Argh! Why didn't Apple just release an unlocked phone?

Look at it this way,the worst an existing non-iphone customer will have to pay is $175.00 over the $199 or 299 price.In other words cancel your present contract,pay the $175.00 cancellation fee and do a new contract.
The e-mail I received back from one I sent to AT&T stated I could upgrade to the i-phone with no problem.Even though I have 15 months left on my contract.

i had an iphone, i called att and asked them if i sold it if it would be ok for me to get the new 3g iphone when it comes out without a problem. they confirmed to go ahead and sell it and that everything would be ok. then to call them back when i got my old phone to call them back and change the data plan. ok i call them change the plan and everything is ok. when i log on my acct. i see i'm not eligible for an upgrade since i switched back to my old phone until october ! i was livid that they'd con me like that. i am furious. i am awaiting a call from the manager bc that is just so wrong on so many levels. i am going to fight this to the death.

I help you. I am pay $ you. you send post box india. iPhone 3G 8GB will be now available for $ or iPhone 3G 16GB will be now available for $.
Regards and thanks
ajit pal singh