Originally Posted by samab
Did you even read the AT&T press release that I cited?
It specifically said that AT&T is the exclusive provider of the 3G iphone in the US.
AT&T said that it will take a hit on earnings for the next 2 years by about 10-12 cents a share.
AT&T also said that they won't be making money of this deal until 2010 --- so at the very least the exclusive agreement goes beyond 2010 to make any sense for them.
Well, it's pretty easy to see what this amounts to.
AT&T has basically subsidized the phone by around the margin it's expecting to make on the 2 years worth of contract everyone who buys one is expected to sign. Profits on the phone starting in 2010 means its expecting on earning it's money from iPhoners close to the end of that contract, or once the contract expires and they keep paying the same rates.
Other questions I have - what will the "upgrade" price be for folks that are still under 2-year contract for their first generation phone who want to but the new phone? Or will that even be an option?
I don't see Apple ever offering unlocked phones again - I'm sure a lot of their problems in getting contracts made with phone companies internationally with the first gen phone has been the fact that unlocked phones have been so well publicized and making it difficult or impossible for Apple to bargain with companies on the grounds of giving them exclusivity. The AT&T deal is what all the other telecoms in the world have used as a preview, and round 1 was not a success. Now they're trying a more agressive strategy.
Requiring a contract to be signed at purchase will basically force unlockers to pay the broken contract charge of around $600 and make unlocked phones cost upwards of $800-1000 online via eBay, etc.
I don't think it's that hard to believe that the 3G iPhone will only be available online in the US via AT&Ts website, or some sort of AT$T apple hybrid zone on the apple store which also requires activiation. That's standard practice at pretty much all phone companies' websites already.
If you're thinking of ordering from out of country, expect the phone to be much more expensive, as most EU countries have a legal limit of 6 month mobile contracts, which I assume means the phone will be less subsidized here, and therefore cost a fair bit more. And broken contract fees in Europe are much higher than in the US...