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AT&T Announces ‘No Contract’ for iPhones

It seems all the jailbreaking and the rising popularity of Apple iPhones has ultimately had some effect on AT&T’s latest announcement to offer iPhones without a two-year contract. Confirmed reports from AT&T suggest that ‘no contract’ iPhones will be available from March 26, 2009.

However, industry analysts believe that there is not much to be elated as there is a catch in the deal proposed by AT&T. The inside story is that, the iPhones in spite of the announcement ‘no contract for will still be locked to AT&T’s network. You will still require a regular AT&T iPhone account to operate the iPhone, even though AT&T boasts of keeping a provision where one can cancel their account the next day.

iPhone users believes, the deal is worth taking as you can only do without activation fees and a month’s worth of service, rather than two years worth of service. AT&T at the same time is sure that this will to a large extent help in curbing the ‘jailbreaking’ phenomenon of iPhones. With this ‘no contract’ deal from AT&T in place, you can even choose to use cheaper options like Wi-Fi networks if not you are willing to unlock it for other networks.

The AT&T ‘No Contract’ Offer comes for a price

However, there is still suspense over whether AT&T would avail similar offer at Apple’s retail stores; and clarification from media sources seeking Apple Inc’s response on this, did not yield much result. Again, AT&T is clear that the ‘no contract’ offer is not to come without a price.

A latest report – the Boy Genius Report quoted that the 8-GB model is expected to cost $599 instead of the original rate of $499; the 16-GB version will be priced at $699 in lieu of the present AT&T inclusive contract rate of $599. The report has also quoted that the offer (no contract) will be made available only for existing AT&T customers; which however, is pending confirmation from AT&T.
Moreover, on further analysis it is found that the price is not so exaggerated in comparison the price value of other high-end, non-subsidized smartphones like Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1 at $799; or Nokia’s N96 at $700 to mention a few.

How successful will be the ‘no contract’ option

However, amidst all the hoopla, there is a confused undertone if the ‘no contract’ option will be able to achieve the desired popular acclaim; especially considering the alleged version of its restricted offer only to the existing AT&T customers. The reason being, there are not many options for the U.S. iPhone users to take the iPhone 3G considering the carriers or providers. An iPhone 3G can get only 3G on AT&T’s network, while users will be able to get voice and EDGE service on T-Mobile.

Frankly speaking, this ‘no contract’ offer from AT&T is no surprise as the carrier company had already indicated about a possible no-contract option before the launch of the iPhone 3G. Even though the second version of the iPhone added GPS and 3G connectivity, industry experts attribute the retail success of iPhone to the initial price of $199 + the AT&T contract.

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