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Rumor has AT&T lopping $10 off future iPhone rate plans

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 
A new report is rejuvenating chatter of cheaper iPhone service plans from AT&T that could be announced alongside the introduction of new models in the coming months, such as a $10 drop in the cost of the most basic service plan.

Cote Collaborative analyst and pricing strategist Michael Cote said this week there's a "strong possibility" the exclusive US iPhone carrier will drop its entry-level iPhone plan to $59 from $69, adding that the announcement could come as early as next month at Apple's annual developer conference.

The move, which would theoretically shave 14% off the cost of owning an iPhone -- dropping combined 2-year service fees to $1,640 from approximately $1,880 -- would represent a concerted effort on the part of both Apple and AT&T to push the iPhone into the hands of consumers who find the pair's current offerings too pricey for their shrinking budgets.

In particular, Cote noted that sales of the touch-screen handset have thus far proven disappointing at Wal-Mart, the largest big-box retailer in the U.S. catering to a less than affluent demographic. Wal-mart has proven critical to Apple's iPod business and is believed to move considerable volume for the Cupertino-based company each quarter.

Cote's comments on the matter are fairly inline with earlier remarks from a couple of his peers. In February, Kaufman analyst Shaw Wu similarly characterized current iPhone service plans as "too high" for the handset to have broad market appeal. He cited sources who said Apple and AT&T were therefore mulling a plan that would offer future iPhone customers the option of selecting from a tiered set of data plans rather than continuing to pitch the current $30 take-it-or-leave-it option.

Less than a week later, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi sat down with Apple interim chief Tim Cook, chief financial officer Petter Oppenheimer, and marketing chief Phil Schiller, who similarly told him that the company was considering "different pricing/price points" for the iPhone this year, with Cook reportedly adding that he was "examining iPhone's business model" to see if there was room for other possible changes.

A rocky economy and pullback in discretionary spending on the part of consumers aren't the only factors that may compel Apple and AT&T to rethink their pricing strategies going forward. The 1 billion+ global cell phone market is quickly becoming saturated in certain regions, meaning carriers will need to begin offering existing wireless subscribers heftier incentives to switch carriers rather than fishing in a evaporating pool of potential new customers.

In recent months, Apple has also faced increasingly worthy competition from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which sold twice as many smartphones in its most recent quarter than the iPhone maker.
post #2 of 108
That would be awesome -- I live in an area that doesn't have 3G, if I could have unlimited 2G with some limit on my 3G usage, it would workout perfectly without limiting my usage.

Moreover, I get more minutes I can use each month (most phone conversations are with AT&T customers which don't count), so if I could get less minutes for less money it would be awesome.

Add to that I know my pops is waiting for a cheaper plan to get an iphone (he wants one, but is retired and can't justify it). I think that this could be a worthwhile plan going forward.
post #3 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A new report is rejuvenating chatter of cheaper iPhone service plans from AT&T ...

sounds believable, but also sounds like the old "bait and switch."

When iPhone 3.0 is announced, the possibility of multiple devices on one plan goes up also. So they lower the price by ten bucks, then (surprise!), you are allowed to add a device for your partner or kid or maybe even a tablet for yourself, for... twenty bucks more.
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post #4 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

- dropping combined yearly service fees to $1,640 from approximately $1,880

That's not the yearly service fee; it's the estimated total 2-year contract amount.

And while we're talking about bad writing, must Apple constantly be referred to as "the Cupertino-based company"? This is nothing more than a pointless verbal tic. It's irrelevant to the story whether Apple is based in Cupertino or Colchester, and anyone who cares already knows.
post #5 of 108
Good. The raise in service charge when the 3G came out is the reason I haven't upgraded. I never really saw the reason to pay more for less.
post #6 of 108
One of the things that has kept me from getting an iPhone 3G is I don't have 3G coverage anywhere near me and I am NOT going to pay for something I cannot get on a daily basis. Thats just ridiculous! Until they fix that, I refuse to get a new iPhone. I'll stick with my original iPhone with my pay-as-you-go plan w/unlimited data.
post #7 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

And while we're talking about bad writing, must Apple constantly be referred to as "the Cupertino-based company"?

As clichés go, it beats "the Apple faithful," though not by much.

To the story, this would be an encouraging move if it happened. Lowering rates is so much more important to increasing adoption of the iPhone than lowering handset prices. The current AT&T iPhone rate plans are designed for people who live on their mobiles. It has always puzzled me why AT&T assumes that only heavy mobile users would be interested in owning an iPhone. It's why I don't own one. Give me a two-phone plan for $70-80 a month with limited minutes and I'm in.
Please don't be insane.
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post #8 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

And while we're talking about bad writing, must Apple constantly be referred to as "the Cupertino-based company"? This is nothing more than a pointless verbal tic. It's irrelevant to the story whether Apple is based in Cupertino or Colchester, and anyone who cares already knows.

What?
When did Apple relocate to Colchester?
Colchester, Essex, UK ?
Colchester, Vermont, USA ?
Colchester, Connecticut, USA ?
Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada ?
post #9 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

As clichés go, it beats "the Apple faithful," though not by much.

To the story, this would be an encouraging move if it happened. Lowering rates is so much more important to increasing adoption of the iPhone than lowering handset prices. The current AT&T iPhone rate plans are designed for people who live on their mobiles. It has always puzzled me why AT&T assumes that only heavy mobile users would be interested in owning an iPhone. It's why I don't own one. Give me a two-phone plan for $70-80 a month with limited minutes and I'm in.

Didn't we learn anything from tiered iTunes pricing?

Tiered pricing is a way INCREASE customer costs, not decrease them. Sure, they'll offer a $10 cheaper plan, but that plan will include 2MB of data. And then they'll charge you $2 for every MB you go over that. If you want unlimited data, look for the price to be even higher than it is now.

What we need is a more reasonable price for unlimited data, not multiple pricing levels, with only one practical one that's even more expensive.
post #10 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by DestructoTex View Post

Good. The raise in service charge when the 3G came out is the reason I haven't upgraded. I never really saw the reason to pay more for less.

Same here. $60 per month is what I pay now.
post #11 of 108
That's nice, but I don't think 10 bucks, constitutes "lopping off.
post #12 of 108
Yes, charge the same rate for 3G as they do Edge, throw in more free texting and im sold!
post #13 of 108
wow 10 bucks...thats it?

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post #14 of 108
my 1 year iPhone 3G contract is nearing its end.
This is what I plan to take from Orange after it expires:
Basic voice plan: 7 eur/month;
iPhone data plan: 25 eur month;
Mobile TV: 6 eur/month;
-------------------------------------
Total: 38 eur/month ~ $51.
Ok, because it's still better than what ATT proposes, I'll redeem some my Orange fidelity points for unlimited SMS option.
Sorry AT&T you're not there again

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #15 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by DestructoTex View Post

Good. The raise in service charge when the 3G came out is the reason I haven't upgraded. I never really saw the reason to pay more for less.

How would you be getting less?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

To the story, this would be an encouraging move if it happened. Lowering rates is so much more important to increasing adoption of the iPhone than lowering handset prices. The current AT&T iPhone rate plans are designed for people who live on their mobiles. It has always puzzled me why AT&T assumes that only heavy mobile users would be interested in owning an iPhone. It's why I don't own one. Give me a two-phone plan for $70-80 a month with limited minutes and I'm in.

The emphasis should be on plans, not rates as $30 for unlimited data is not excessive in the US. But I know people that have iPhones that they use excessively at work on the company's WiFI so they don't need multiple GB from AT&T each month. Having a cheaper plan that is limited would be great for many but I hope that they just lower the unlimited rate for the iPhone back down to $20. Since it's required, unlike other phones, and it currently accounts for an estimated 14% of their subscriber base (as I've been told) they are collecting on 10M data plans a month just from the iPhone. When you consider how many phones are smartphones on AT&T and how many people have optioned for an unlimited data plan it's possible that the iPhone by itself is more data revenue than all their devices data revenue put together (excludes SMS). If that isn't the case it can't be far off from the truth, especially with the next iteration of the iPhone looming.
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post #16 of 108
$10 off would be nice, but what they need is an option without a data plan.

But that likely won't happen until AT&T is forced to compete for iPhone customers.
post #17 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

One of the things that has kept me from getting an iPhone 3G is I don't have 3G coverage anywhere near me and I am NOT going to pay for something I cannot get on a daily basis. Thats just ridiculous! Until they fix that, I refuse to get a new iPhone. I'll stick with my original iPhone with my pay-as-you-go plan w/unlimited data.

but you paid double for the actual phone than 3G buyers paid.

first gen iphone people tend to leave out that nugget of info when complaining about costs of the new plan.

so over two years of you using the first gen phone, for $10 less a month, I saved $200 on the initial cost of the phone. end of the day, over 2 years, the difference is only $40. so you are complaining about $40 over 2 years, or less then 2 bucks a month to have the newer phone...
post #18 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In recent months, Apple has also faced increasingly worthy competition from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which sold twice as many smartphones in its most recent quarter than the iPhone maker.

Correction:

RIM "sold" fewer smartphones than Apple but also "gave away" a bunch of them. Or you could look at it like they sold more phones at half price. Either way, the result was that they "shipped" more units than Apple, but profit took a big hit.

If they had to do it in order to sell iPhones, Apple could also do a "buy one get one free" promotion. Apparently, they don't need to.

Thompson
post #19 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

wow 10 bucks...thats it?

If the article had said 'ATT says you can have the iPhone for $59', would you have thought it was a good deal?*


*Assuming zero time discount rate, for simplicity.
post #20 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Lowering rates is so much more important to increasing adoption of the iPhone than lowering handset prices. The current AT&T iPhone rate plans are designed for people who live on their mobiles. It has always puzzled me why AT&T assumes that only heavy mobile users would be interested in owning an iPhone. It's why I don't own one. Give me a two-phone plan for $70-80 a month with limited minutes and I'm in.

The good Dr has quickly become one of my favorite contributers here, I would jump at the two phone plan described.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

Tiered pricing is a way INCREASE customer costs, not decrease them. Sure, they'll offer a $10 cheaper plan, but that plan will include 2MB of data. ...What we need is a more reasonable price for unlimited data, not multiple pricing levels, with only one practical one that's even more expensive.

I'm not sure I'm following you, are you saying unlimited data is the only practical plan? I don't want to see a rate hike, hopefully your worst case scenario stays confined to these boards.
post #21 of 108
I really hope this is true in some aspect. I'm paying way too much for what I'm using. I love my iPhone and use it almost constantly (replying to emails/text messages, listening to music/podcasts, checking info online or thru and app). What I don't do is make phone calls. I have the 450 minute plan with unlimited text messages and my bill comes out to about $95/mo.

Over the past month I've used almost 30 minutes of voice, 20 of that from the 5000 Night/Weekend minutes. I've accumulated over 4000 Rollover minutes. I wish I could sell them to someone who would use them.

I've used less than 20MB of unlimited data. That can vary greatly, but I doubt I would go over 100MB using my 1st gen iPhone. That may go up when I upgrade this summer at the end of my contract. I'm fine with paying for unlimited data.

I've used over 500 of unlimited text. I use the hell out of text and am fine paying for an unlimited plan for that, although it's a total rip-off charging as much as they do for text as it's such a small amount of data used.

Now, why doesn't someone offer custom plans? Tiered and pay-for-what-you-use plans, and separate ones for each service (voice, data, text). If you're a heavy phone user, say, then you might opt for one of the tiered packages so you can save a little money, whereas I would be happy to pay a little more per minute for calls as it would still be less overall than paying for excessive minutes I never use. I'll save a little on tiered/unlimited data and text plans, but will really use those anyway.

Or better yet, start with a basic service plan (say $9.95/mo.) just to have service, then be billed for exactly what you use. Usage and loyalty would earn discounts, price per could be tiered during certain hours and to specific customers (same carrier is a lower rate than across carriers, etc.). Data rates could be based upon type of data; text messages would be really cheap whereas audio/video would be at a premium rate. The more bandwidth you use, the more you pay. Just an idea.
post #22 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by thompr View Post

Correction:

RIM "sold" fewer smartphones than Apple but also "gave away" a bunch of them. Or you could look at it like they sold more phones at half price. Either way, the result was that they "shipped" more units than Apple, but profit took a big hit.

If they had to do it in order to sell iPhones, Apple could also do a "buy one get one free" promotion. Apparently, they don't need to.

Thompson

RiM is clearly making less profit per device sold but each BYOGF offer is a valid sale. Especially when you consider that a 2-year plan is required for the deal.
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post #23 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

Didn't we learn anything from tiered iTunes pricing?

I don't know, have we?

Quote:
Tiered pricing is a way INCREASE customer costs, not decrease them. Sure, they'll offer a $10 cheaper plan, but that plan will include 2MB of data. And then they'll charge you $2 for every MB you go over that. If you want unlimited data, look for the price to be even higher than it is now.

What we need is a more reasonable price for unlimited data, not multiple pricing levels, with only one practical one that's even more expensive.

For you, maybe -- but not for the millions of people who don't need and therefore don't want to pay for unlimited service.

And in fact a recent study showed that the average cost per minute for mobile phone use was close to $3.00. People are buying a lot of service they aren't using.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The emphasis should be on plans, not rates as $30 for unlimited data is not excessive in the US. But I know people that have iPhones that they use excessively at work on the company's WiFI so they don't need multiple GB from AT&T each month. Having a cheaper plan that is limited would be great for many but I hope that they just lower the unlimited rate for the iPhone back down to $20. Since it's required, unlike other phones, and it currently accounts for an estimated 14% of their subscriber base (as I've been told) they are collecting on 10M data plans a month just from the iPhone. When you consider how many phones are smartphones on AT&T and how many people have optioned for an unlimited data plan it's possible that the iPhone by itself is more data revenue than all their devices data revenue put together (excludes SMS). If that isn't the case it can't be far off from the truth, especially with the next iteration of the iPhone looming.

Again, lower unlimited rates would be great for people who use their iPhones a lot, but would still be wasted money for those who don't.

We have two phones with AT&T, with a combined monthly service charge of $55.00. These are old, very limited plans which happen to serve our needs very well. We almost never exceed the minutes. The phones are old and clunky and ready to be replaced. I'd be delighted to replace them with two iPhones if I wasn't forced to more than double our monthly charges. I just won't do that. Give me an iPhone plan with far fewer minutes than the current plans and limited data for no more than about $20-25 above what we're paying now. Otherwise, we replace our current phones with whatever phone AT&T offers for cheap and allows us to keep our existing plan. I bet millions of current AT&T customers are in a similar situation.
Please don't be insane.
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post #24 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by DestructoTex View Post

Good. The raise in service charge when the 3G came out is the reason I haven't upgraded. I never really saw the reason to pay more for less.

Same here. If I upgraded to the 3G, I would have turned off 3G anyway to conserve battery life.
I'm not going to pay $10 a month for a feature I won't use.
post #25 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradym View Post

Over the past month I've used almost 30 minutes of voice, 20 of that from the 5000 Night/Weekend minutes. I've accumulated over 4000 Rollover minutes. I wish I could sell them to someone who would use them.

I've used less than 20MB of unlimited data. That can vary greatly, but I doubt I would go over 100MB using my 1st gen iPhone. That may go up when I upgrade this summer at the end of my contract. I'm fine with paying for unlimited data.

I've used over 500 of unlimited text. I use the hell out of text and am fine paying for an unlimited plan for that, although it's a total rip-off charging as much as they do for text as it's such a small amount of data used.

I use about the same amount of voice and only pay for the 200 SMS because some people like to talk with me that way. I think charging for SMS when you get unlimited data should end. I do use the hell out of my data, though. I'm writing this message on my Mac tethered to my iPhone while downloading this week's The Unit and Criminal Minds (which aren't available on Hulu et al.).

PS: One thing I wish that carriers would do, and I think this would go a long way to assist consumers with peace of mind, is "smart tier accounting". Meaning, if you have no SMS plan and are being charged 20¢ a text, that the system should update you to the 200 text plan for $5 as soon as you use 25 texts ($0.20 x 25 = $5). If you then go over the 200 texts it should bump you up to the next rate plan automatically. I don't have a problem with them keeping you at the plan for the follow months as you did show a usage patten, but these outrageous bills that get posted every now and then are silly.
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post #26 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

RiM is clearly making less profit per device sold but each BYOGF offer is a valid sale. Especially when you consider that a 2-year plan is required for the deal.

I'm glad they outsold Apple because this will put more downward pressure on Apple/at&t to lower prices or sweeten the deal.
post #27 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

What?
When did Apple relocate to Colchester?
Colchester, Essex, UK ?
Colchester, Vermont, USA ?
Colchester, Connecticut, USA ?
Colchester County, Nova Scotia, Canada ?

As noted, it does not matter because it is irrelevant to the story.
post #28 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Same here. If I upgraded to the 3G, I would have turned off 3G anyway to conserve battery life.
I'm not going to pay $10 a month for a feature I won't use.

It's been pointed out, you're paying $40 more over two years, that is it.
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post #29 of 108
Sounds as though you don't really need an iPhone, you just need something with a qwerty keyboard and an unlimited texting plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradym View Post

Over the past month I've used almost 30 minutes of voice, 20 of that from the 5000 Night/Weekend minutes. I've accumulated over 4000 Rollover minutes.

I've used less than 20MB of unlimited data. That can vary greatly, but I doubt I would go over 100MB using my 1st gen iPhone.

I've used over 500 of unlimited text. I use the hell out of text and am fine paying for an unlimited plan for that, although it's a total rip-off charging as much as they do for text as it's such a small amount of data used.
post #30 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I'm glad they outsold Apple because this will put more downward pressure on Apple/at&t to lower prices or sweeten the deal.

The deal is already pretty sweet. They started with $20 with the average data plan was $40-$50. Now they are all about $30, with the iPhone dropping by $200 for the customer but then going up $240 in data fees over two years meaning a small jump by $40. (Really it's $360 over two years if you count the $5 for 200 SMS that was excluded with the iPhone 3G)

On the plus side, all iPhones come with data so AT&T can offer lower rates and still bank, but iPhones also use considerably more data so charging more for usage does make sense. Regardless, I won't quibble over $10. Hell, I pay for $60/month for an AT&T 3G card as it is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

As noted, it does not matter because it is irrelevant to the story.

I like it, I don't want to see the word 'Apple' 400x in an article.
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post #31 of 108
I don't think RIM puts all that much pressure on Apple. RIM should be outselling Apple, they sell many more models of phones, at many different prices, on every carrier.

I don't think Apple is distressed about RIM giving away phones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I'm glad they outsold Apple because this will put more downward pressure on Apple/at&t to lower prices or sweeten the deal.
post #32 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Cote Collaborative analyst and pricing strategist Michael Cote said this week there's a "strong possibility" the exclusive US iPhone carrier will drop its entry-level iPhone plan to $59 from $69, adding that the announcement could come as early as next month at Apple's annual developer conference.

I'm willing to bet that AT&T is actually going to begin advertising their lower cost plan already in place as an option. Currently they don't offer it unless you ask for it. It is their 550 minute tier and I have it on my phone. Between that plan and the reductions offered through my employer my wife and I each have an iPhone and we are paying $125 per month for the talk time, data, unlimited text, etc.

So a reduction... I doubt it. Just a wider availablility of this already in place tier.
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post #33 of 108
The key to the saturation problem is to increase the 3G network coverage. I'd have an iPhone if the coverage was outside the cities and off the main highways. Why should I worry about how much 3G cost if there is none. The only rock solid network in my area is Sprint. Now, what does that tell you. Give me coverage!
post #34 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

The only rock solid network in my area is Sprint. Now, what does that tell you.

That you are in one of the very few areas that Sprint has better coverage than AT&T and Verizon.
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post #35 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Sounds as though you don't really need an iPhone, you just need something with a qwerty keyboard and an unlimited texting plan.

Except for the fact that I do use quite a few apps (unavailable on any other phone) as well as the iPod part of the iPhone. I pretty much have headphones on most of the day. I could go with a generic phone but then would have to carry around that and an iPod, whereas now I only have the one device.

The iPhone has a lot of advantages that I'm grudgingly, and happily, paying for:

- Seamless sync with my computer and MobileMe account
- Simple audio & video syncing (say what you want about iTunes, but it's very easy to use for music, videos and podcasts)
- Access to many things no matter where I am: add a movie to my Netflix queue, check radar weather (storms pop up fast around here), update Facebook/Twitter/blog, keep up-to-date with different news sites, snap a decent photo if need be, access to all my email accounts, Google Maps rocks, the list goes on.

There aren't many phones that do that, even fewer that do it well, and none with as excellent an interface. And once OS 3.0 comes out, who knows how much more it'll be capable of. I see my iPhone as more than a mobile phone that I can send texts with. Could I live with less - sure. But there would be a considerable lack of quality of life if I was carrying around an iPod and a generic mobile phone that together still did less than the iPhone.
post #36 of 108
I pay T-Mobile $59 a month for two phones. I do not use data. From my subjective experience neither does most people. So if AT&T wants me on board it needs to give me something comparable to what T-Mobile currently offers me. I want to use the iPhone without a data plan. I would rely strictly on Wi-Fi as I currently do on my iPhone on T-Mobile. Forcing people into the data plan will cripple Apple sales unless Apple gets rid of it's exclusive deal with AT&T. Most Americans who want an iPhone and are willing to pay AT&T's rates already have one. So sales are going to start dropping unless Apple 1) gets rid of AT& T as an exclusive partner or 2) the rate plans become far more flexible. A mere drop in ten dollars a month isn't going to do it for me. I might consider it if tethering was allowed.
post #37 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PS: One thing I wish that carriers would do, and I think this would go a long way to assist consumers with peace of mind, is "smart tier accounting". Meaning, if you have no SMS plan and are being charged 20¢ a text, that the system should update you to the 200 text plan for $5 as soon as you use 25 texts ($0.20 x 25 = $5). If you then go over the 200 texts it should bump you up to the next rate plan automatically. I don't have a problem with them keeping you at the plan for the follow months as you did show a usage patten, but these outrageous bills that get posted every now and then are silly.

And there's another great idea. Why are we able to come up with these ideas yet no carrier seems to be able to, or willing to? I bet if T-Mobile invested in upgrading their system and offered plans like what we've suggested they could put a serious hurt on AT&T and Verizon.

"We may not yet be the fastest or more widespread (but we're working on it), yet we won't charge you for what you don't use!"
post #38 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I might consider it if tethering was allowed.

Tethering will be available on OS 3.0, but it's up to the carrier to allow it. We'll see what AT&T will have to say once the new OS is released.
post #39 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That you are in one of the very few areas that Sprint has better coverage than AT&T and Verizon.

Yeah I'll give you that one. You're probably right, but my ethnocentricity can only speak for its experience. Actually the major carriers in all areas get a bad rap due to a person's time-dated review.
post #40 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

I pay T-Mobile $59 a month for two phones. I do not use data. From my subjective experience neither does most people. So if AT&T wants me on board it needs to give me something comparable to what T-Mobile currently offers me. I want to use the iPhone without a data plan. I would rely strictly on Wi-Fi as I currently do on my iPhone on T-Mobile. Forcing people into the data plan will cripple Apple sales unless Apple gets rid of it's exclusive deal with AT&T. Most Americans who want an iPhone and are willing to pay AT&T's rates already have one. So sales are going to start dropping unless Apple 1) gets rid of AT& T as an exclusive partner or 2) the rate plans become far more flexible. A mere drop in ten dollars a month isn't going to do it for me. I might consider it if tethering was allowed.

guess what you don't have? a smartphone with t-mobile. if you did, they would force you to pay for a data plan too. You can't buy a blackberry or a windows mobile phone, or even a sidekick without a dataplan. AT&T will gladly sell you a $20 phone to get you on a contract for 2 years without requiring a dataplan. Unfortunately you want a smart phone, but you want to continue to pay regular phone pricing.

When/If the iPhone comes to t-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint, and the customers are told they will need to upgrade their plan to one that includes data just like they do on AT&T what will you complain about then?

Does it suck? Yes. But it's the way it is. Don't lie to yourself and say that your RAZR phone monthly bill will stay the same if t-Mobile offered the iPhone... and if you think it will, go into t-Mobile and tell them you want a blackberry, but you don't want a dataplan... let me know how far that gets you.
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