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As someone who is familiar with the coverage that surrounds the iPhone, I was puzzled by Tuesday's announcement from AT&T about a new way to buy the gadget. My first reaction: Something must be missing. Second reaction: Why would anyone pay more for the iPhone if there's no additional benefit? AT&T said it will sell an 8 gigabyte iPhone for $599 and the 16 GB version for $699. Both are offered contract-free, meaning it sells without the usual two-year service agreement. It could be worth the cost if you dislike AT&T's service and wanted to use the phone on another carrier. But you can't.
Wouldn't it be nice if all mobile carrier contracts went away?... With no contract enforcement, carriers would be allowed to let the subscriber experience/satisfaction-level reflect in their revenue longevity.
Good point, but easy answer, if any of you have been in a bad credit situation, but have plenty of cash, ATT won't let you have a contract with bad credit, thus if you want an iPhone, you have to pay a bit more for it.
I'm sure they hedge their bets in that most people will sign up and keep the plan, if they don't keep the contract, they still have to have service thru ATT. (or unlock the phone and loose warranty)
Someone will find a way to unblock the iphone so it can be used on another carrier. That's why a lot of people will buy it without contract.
My guess is Contract-free = GoPhone. With a growing number of people unable to get a contract because of credit problems, this may be the only way for folks to have an iPhone... a prepaid plan, no contract.
DONT YOU PEOPLE EDIT/REVIEW WHAT GETS POSTED AND CALLED "NEWS" WTF this Eric Benderoff GUY SHOULD REALLY BE FIRED and CALLED A RETARD.
A different SIM card is not enough. It is not the SIM card that locks a phone to a particular network. It is the firmware of the phone that locks it down. That is how "jail breaking" works, the firmware is altered so that it will work on other networks.
I'm not sure how well it works, but I have heard of a couple of companies that have produced SIM cards that will trick a phone into thinking it is on the correct network, when it is not. Theoretically freeing the phone without the risks associated with altering the firmware.
I see a lot of comments on getting the iPhone 3G without a contract or unlocking it. If you don't want to use it on AT&T and don't plan to ship it out of the country I hope you realize it will not work on 3G in the US for any carrier other than AT&T. Sure if you get it unlocked (assuming it will be hacked quickly for unlocking) you will be able to put a T-Mobile SIM in it and use it on their 2G network, but it will not work on T-Mobile's 3G network. The specs on Apple's site state "UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)" T-Mobile uses 1700 MHz for 3G. Well to be clear I believe they use 1700 MHz for their downlink channel and 2100 MHz for their uplink. It seems some people are confused by this and think that European 2100 MHz 3G handsets will work on the T-Mobile network, but that is not so, the frequencies used by T-Mobile are not the same as those used anywhere else in the world. So if you don't plan to use it on AT&T and don't plan to ship it someplace outside the US, what are you going to do with it? It isn't a big improvement over the 2G iPhone if you leave out the 3G radio. Sure the GPS will be nice, but I am not sure if I can think of anything else.
I think the author of this story isn't as familiar with the iPhone as he claims. The SIM card most certainly is removable. I've done it dozens of times. For goodness sake, look at the huge grey market for unlocked iPhones
I think some of the previous comments hit the nail on the head with this pricing scheme. If you are the only one concerned with buying the new iPhone, and you are eligible for the discounted price with a 2-yr contract, then yes, it is cheaper for you to sign the contract then pay the cancellation fee. But you can only do that once. This 'contract-free' phone is for those people that want to buy them as gifts or ship them out of the country (I'm trying to figure out a scheme myself to get about 5 of them into the hands of some German friends). Since you are only eligible for the discount on your first purchase with the contract, this alternate method is the only way to get additional phones.
Also, just to note, I think that the 'roaming trick' could still be used to avoid the cancellation fee. There is a stipulation in the AT&T contract that says if you exceed 50% of your monthly voice time on out-of-network (roaming) systems, they have the option to terminate your contract. When you make calls that are roaming, your cell phone is transmitting over cell phone towers that are not owned by AT&T. The companies that do own the towers charge AT&T a fair amount for the time you're using them. AT&T provides free roaming since it's standard policy, but they don't like it when you make a lot of calls while roaming because you end up costing them more than what they are charging you per month. So if you make say 200 minutes of voice calls on AT&T networks, and 230 minutes on roaming networks in a month, you'll get a letter from AT&T to switch plans. If you do it for a couple of months in a row, they will just cancel your contract, and you don't have to pay the cancellation fee. The downside is you have to pay the AT&T contract service for 2-3 months, but you at least get service those months and don't get slapped with the $175 fee.
People have been buying IPhones in the US and taking them to Europe for resale. Because the conversion rate of the dollar VS the Euro this can be very profitable. Steve Jobs made the statement the new IPhone will cost $199 (8 Gig) anywhere in the world. AT&T will most likely limit the number of IPhones a single person can buy. The only way to track this is via a contract. A contract limiting the number of phones that you can buy is really limiting volume so why not just push the price up for unlimited volume.
"As someone who is familiar with the coverage that surrounds the iPhone ..."
Why blog about something if you are not familiar with the subject matter. SIM cards? Overlapping plans?
So I'm really confused by this statement from ATT:
"contract-free phones will work only on AT&T's network"
How is that possible? If you can remove the SIM, you can switch to another carrier, right? And you guys claim that the SIM can be removed.
So is ATT being deceiving? Is there something else that could prevent you from switching to another carrier?
IIRC, the voicemail functionality - the ability to choose which voicemail to listen to out of all of them, rather than having to go thru them in the order rec'd - is an AT&T only feature, since it required a system change of some sort.
Other than that, I do not know of any features that are AT&T only... but is it not true that still the only other US carrier it will work with is TMobile?
On the Apple Website's 3G iPhone pages, under the Tech Specs page, there is a list of things that come "in the box." That list includes a "Sim Eject Tool."
I've had experience with ATT and they work like this: say you are a new subscriber, you sign up for a 2 yr contract, get the 8 gig iPhone 3G for $199. You are for some reason unhappy with ATT or the iPhone, you have 30 days to essentially 'try' the equipment and provider out, and you can cancel in this 30 day window and not have to pay an early termination fee of $175 or whatever that costs these days. But, if you cancel within the first 30 days, you have to return the equipment, or be forced to pay exorbitant fees to keep the equipment. However, say you decide to cancel on day 31 of your contract, you have to pay the early termination fee, but you can keep the equipment. So, like you, I don't get why you'd pay $400 more for a contract free iPhone, cause when I do the math, I could get a $199 8 gig iPhone 3G, cancel a contract after 30 days, pay $175, and have a contract free and carrier free iPhone 3G for $374. I just laugh though at these companies, no matter what they do, the hacker community will always be one step ahead. I would bet a grand that the iPhone 3G will be unlocked on the day of its release by 8:30 am!
You're forgetting something. The $374 does not include paying for one month of service or any activation fees charged for opening a new account. So... one month service $69 activation is $40, throw in taxes and your up to about $485. After all that, you still have to set it up on your new network. The time delay and inconvenience may not be worth the price difference.
It's fairly obvious why AT&T is offering the iPhone without a contract at $400 more than with contract. They realize for those that want the iPhone but not their service, will simply cancel their contract and absorb the $175 termination fee. So this was their opportunity to gouge the consumer even more by giving us a "no contract" iPhone at a higher cost (those that have plenty of money or naive enough will go for it). What AT&T doesn't seem to realize is if they kept the 1st gen iPhone plan, many more people will buy the iPhone but increasing the cost by $15 per month for the same service will price many of people out, considering the economy. I own an iPhone and for me it is the best multi-function device out there but I wont upgrade due to the additional cost. By the way, you may want to take a look at an iPhone, both generations have user removable SIM cards.
You're missing two things. First, some current iPhone users are not eligible for the $199 upgrade price. In order to get the 3g iphone, they have to pay off their entire old contract PLUS buy a new contract. This option allows them to get a new iPhone and then use it with their existing contract. Second, it's probably a tacit admission that some people want an iPhone but not AT&T. Apple can't come out and say 'this is a phone for jailbreakers', but everyone knows that it is.
You are not correct, I have an Iphone that I got xmas time, My account as per att and their website indicates I can upgrade for $199. Where does it say you have to pay your current contract then buy another. Check out att website, they have an upgrade tool. I need only pay 199 for the new model
This is not the case. The SIM can easily be removed from the first iPhone with a paper clip. Look for a hole at the top of your iPhone, stick the end of a bent paperclip in it and push. You'll soon have your SIM card in your hand.
It would seem that another sim card wouldn't work? What is your or anyone's experience with this?
Yes as I have a broken iPhone that has worked perfectly with the sim from my old network. No real need to upgrade to 3g as all the features I need work well and I have downloaded many really great programs that make the old phone just fantastic.
I got my Iphone to work with T-mobile