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AT&T Still Mum On 3G IPhone Plans


Chicago (IL) - If all those Apple rumors are right, then we will be seeing a 3G iPhone soon. And while we have a good idea how much the hardware will cost, the big chunk of the total cost - monthly service fees - remains unclear. According to an AT&T executive, pricing for the device has not been set yet.

Speaking at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit, Rick Lindner, chief financial officer of Apple’s exclusive U.S. iPhone partner AT&T, stated that the decision about 3G iPhone has yet to be made. "There’s not been a product announcement. There hasn’t been any pricing decisions made. That’s yet to come," he said. The executive also declined to provide exact date when AT&T would begin offering the next iPhone.

However, most analysts now expect Steve Jobs to officially introduce 3G iPhone during his keynote at this year’s WWDC that will run from June 9 to 13 at the Moscone West building in San Francisco’s SoMa district. While Apple has been quiet about a potential 3G iPhone, there is no lack of rumors as well as leaked information. The first piece credible pricing information came from Fortune magazine, which reported that AT&T would either subsidize 3G iPhone by $200 or offer rebates to drive the 3G iPhone price down to $199. TGDaily’s own industry source stated that there will be at least two models, one with 8 GB and one with 16 GB memory, priced at $399 and $499, respectively. The source also mentioned that the handset will shed about 2.5 mm in thickness, while a revised casing will remove some of the "plasticky" feeling.

If this is true, it would basically equal the two upcoming 3G iPhone models’ prices to today’s 8 GB and 16 GB models that also sell for $399 and $499 respectively. Such a move on Apple’s part would not be unusual. The Cupertino-based gadget maker is known for its pricing strategy based on maintaining price points throughout the product’s lifespan while upgrading the technical specifications in regular intervals.

Another strong indication of the imminent arrival of the handset is the fact that AT&T is aggressively upgrading its infrastructure to 3G speeds to match an alleged 3G iPhone introduction in June. An unidentified senior executive at Australian Telstra carrier recently revealed that 3G iPhone may become the fastest handset in the world, claiming that the handset will support "42 Mb/s speed on Telstra network by Christmas." As other carriers upgrade networks to so-called the Evolved HSPA standard, AT&T confirmed on Wednesday it will complete upgrades to its six remaining markets to HSUPA (3G uplink that allows upload speeds between 500 Kb/sec and 800 Kb/sec) by the end of June. AT&T’s HSDPA (3G downlink currently supporting up to 1.4 Mb/sec download speed) has already been deployed to 275 US markets, with 80 more markets planned to be supported by year end.