Chicago (IL) - AT&T today unveiled detailed information about iPhone 3G service plan pricing as well as other bits and pieces that are likely to answer most of the questions you may have about the new iPhone. It took us some time to browse through the information an digest all data, but we are no ready to provide you a list of what you should know before your decide to line up in front of an Apple or AT&T store on July 11.
If you have already made up your mind, you may want to mark your calendar on July 11 with an 8 am note, which is the time AT&T stores will begin selling the phone (check opening times of Apple stores for times.) If you arenâ€™t planning on camping out in front of a store, make sure you tell your employer that you may be late to work, as AT&T expects that it will need about 15-20 minutes for the sale and sign-up process. The handset will not be offered for online sale at the moment since customers are required to sign a service contract on the spot.
The iPhone 3G will come in two versions. The 8 GB model will sell for $199 and the 16 GB version for $299. You will have to sign up for a 2-year service contract, which will require a credit check for all new customers (You can visit AT&T store where you plan to purchase the handset before July 11 in order to pass a pre-qualifying credit check. This will reduce your wait time and the wait time of others standing in line on launch day.) The carrier will bill the new AT&T customers the usual activation fee of $36. Current AT&T customers who are eligible for upgrading to the iPhone 3G will have to pay an $18 upgrade fee.
The subsidized iPhone 3G pricing ($199 for 8 GB, $299 for 16 GB) is available to customers activating a new line, iPhone customers who purchased their handsets before July 11 and current AT&T customers who are eligible for an upgrade discount at the time of purchase. If you are a current AT&T customer, but not eligible for the upgrade discount (for example, if you have just recently purchased a different phone), AT&T will offer you "early upgrade" price of $399 for the 8 GB model or $499 for the 16 GB model, also requiring you to sign a new two-year service contract.
AT&T determines the eligibility for an upgrade by the amount of time left on your current contract and your payment history. You can check if you're eligible for an upgrade discount in your online AT&T account or by logging in to your online AT&T account.
The carrier said that it will soon offer the iPhone 3G to customers who do not wish to sign a two-year service contract for $599 (8 GB) and $699 (16 GB).
As announced before, the iPhone 3G no longer comes with an exclusive service plan that includes voice minutes, bulk text messages and unlimited internet. Instead, AT&T treats iPhone 3G like any other smartphone, meaning that customers get to choose almost any of the regular voice, data and text plans the carrier offers. However, some special plans are not available to choose from. For example, the GoPhone Prepaid plan is not available for the iPhone 3G at this time. Also, keep in mind that you will have to choose both a voice and a data plan. The unlimited 3G data plan is priced at $30 a month for consumers and $45 for businesses.
Besides individual service plans, AT&T confirmed that buyers they can also choose from four AT&T Nation plans and seven AT&T FamilyTalk plans that bundle voice minutes and unlimited 3G data transfer for web browsing and email.
Note: AT&T Nation and AT&T FamilyTalk plans do not include text messages. Users can upgrade their plan with 200 messages for $5, 1500 messages for $15 or unlimited text messages for $20 ($30 for FamilyTalk plans with up to five lines).
All AT&T Nation and AT&T FamilyTalk plans include Visual Voicemail, nationwide long distance, roaming, Rollover Minutes, CallerID, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Three-Way Calling, unlimited Mobile to Mobile calling and unlimited 3G data transfer for web browsing and email.
The following four AT&T Nation plans for individual customers are available:
- AT&T Nation 450: Includes 450 Anytime Minutes, 5000 Night & Weekend Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.45, $69.99 per month
-AT&T Nation 900: Includes 900 Anytime Minutes, unlimited Night & Weekend Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.40, $89.99 per month
- AT&T Nation 1350: Includes 1350 Anytime Minutes, unlimited Night & Weekend Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.35, $109.99 per month
- AT&T Nation Unlimited: Includes unlimited Anytime Minutes, $89.99 per month
AT&T FamilyTalk plans are available for family members. Each plan includes two lines and can be upgraded with three additional iPhone lines, priced at $39.99 per line. The following seven AT&T FamilyTalk plans are available:
- AT&T FamilyTalk 700: Includes 700 Shared Anytime Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.45, $129.99 per month
- AT&T FamilyTalk 1400: Includes 1400 Shared Anytime Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.40, $149.99 per month
- AT&T FamilyTalk 2100: Includes 2100 Shared Anytime Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.35, $169.99 per month
- AT&T FamilyTalk 3000: Includes 3000 Shared Anytime Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.25, $209.99 per month
- AT&T FamilyTalk 4000: Includes 4000 Shared Anytime Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.20, $259.99 per month
- AT&T FamilyTalk 6000: Includes 6000 Shared Anytime Minutes and additional minutes priced at $.20, $359.99 per month
iPhone 2.0 Software Update
The iPhone 3G will come with the iPhone 2.0 system software preinstalled, while the first generation iPhone users will get a free software upgrade through iTunes, starting July 11. iPod touch users will have to pay $9.99 for the software upgrade. The fact that the iPhone 2.0 firmware will work on both old and new iPhone models means everyone will benefit from the new end-user features it will bring, as well as additional enterprise features that will make the iPhone more secure and reliable business tool. The new firmware will bring out-of-the box support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol that is used to talk over the air to Exchange email servers that are found in most corporate environments.
The App Store application will be used to deliver third-party applications directly to your handset. Applications less than 10 MB in size will be delivered over the cellular network, Wi-Fi and side loaded through iTunes, whereas larger applications will be delivered through WiFi and iTunes. Most applications are promised to be either completely free or free to try. Commercial applications and games are expected to be priced at $9.99. The App Store will also automatically deliver updates to the existing applications users have installed.
Apple and AT&T have separate policies for business customers who should contact their AT&T business sales representative to get more details.
- AT&T What you need to know: Detailed guide about the iPhone 3G, pricing, service plans and other common questions for both the existing and new AT&T customers.
- "Get iReady" checklist (PDF document): Useful check list with everything you need to know before you buy iPhone 3G.
- AT&T iPhone Tips (PDF document): Tips on how to transfer contacts from your old iPhone to the new iPhone 3G, how to insert/remove the SIM card and how to hand off your original iPhone to someone else.
- Existing AT&T Customer (video): This video depicts iPhone 3G purchasing scenario for the existing AT&T customers.
- New AT&T Customer (video): If you're new to AT&T, you will want to visit AT&T store where you plan to purchase iPhone 3G prior to July 11 to undergo pre-credit check to reduce your waiting time on the launch day.
- AT&T myWireless Account: Online AT&T account where existing users can check their eligibility for iPhone 3G upgrade discount.
- AT&T Coverage Viewer: Check if there is 3G cellular network coverage in your area.
- AT&T Store Locator: Find the nearest AT&T store location.
- AT&T iPhone in the enterprise: Special site dedicated to the enterprise iPhone 3G customers.
- Apple iPhone 3G Guided Tour (videos): Guided Tour and What's New videos offer a 10 minute tour through the iPhone 3G and iPhone 2.0 software update features.
- iPhone 3G Country Locator: Show the official iPhone 3G availability in countries around the world.
- MobileMe: Description of a suit of $99 a year online cloud services that push email, calendar, contacts and photo to your computers and iPhones to keep them all in sync.