iPhone: Cheaper Than We Could Have Dared to Hope

Great news today on the iPhone front. I’m buying one, by the way, whatever

the reviews say, if only because I’ve officially and finally given up on ever

being able to get my Treo to sync with my MacBook. But I was worried about having

to switch to Cingular AT&T, a company with which I’ve had

bad experiences in the past, and which has generally had significantly higher

prices than my present carrier, T-Mobile. But to my astonishment and delight,


iPhone plans are decidedly reasonable:

Customers can pay as little as $59.99 a month for 450 minutes of cellular

time or as much as $99.99 a month for 1,350 minutes. The middle plan costs

$79.99 a month and includes 900 minutes… All plans include unlimited data

services, 200 text messages, and rollover minutes. There is also a $36 activation


My present basic plan with T-Mobile costs $40 for the phone calls, $20 for

the unlimited data, and $3 for the text messages – more than the basic

AT&T plan. And that T-Mobile package isn’t even offered any more: to get

anything similar today would cost $50

per month just for the unlimited data, plus an eye-popping 20 cents per

minute for all voice calls. What’s more, if you don’t have an iPhone, the AT&T

unlimited data plan costs $80

per month on its own before making a single call.

It seems that AT&T is being very smart here, and offering good-value plans

to iPhone buyers despite the fact that the company has a monopoly on the phone

and could therefore, in theory, charge pretty much anything they wanted. Instead,

they’re taking advantage of the fact that they’re not subsidising the handset,

and bringing their prices down in order to appeal to the widest possible audience.

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