Apple, AT&T end no-contract iPhone sales in U.S. (Updated) | iLounge News

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Apple, AT&T end no-contract iPhone sales in U.S. (Updated)

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, August 19, 2010
News Categories: Apple, iPhone

Apple and AT&T have removed no-contract iPhone purchasing options from their websites, signaling a further tightening of restrictions on U.S. iPhone users compared to those abroad. Previously available at prices significantly higher than those of even early upgraders—$599 for a 16GB iPhone 4 and $699 for a 32GB unit—the options allowed customers to purchase the phones without extending their existing AT&T contracts. Apple has also changed its FAQ found at the bottom of its online store’s iPhone page, noting that the iPhone is not available without a commitment and “requires a two year AT&T wireless service contract.” Curiously, Apple did not begin contract-free sales of the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS until the devices had been on the market for roughly nine months; it is unclear what prompted the change in policy with the iPhone 4. [via MacNN]

Updated: An AT&T spokesman has issued a statement indicating that the language on Apple’s site has not been changed, and that customer should still be able to purchase a contract-free iPhone 4 by visiting an AT&T store.

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Comments

1

What do this mean for those of us that planned on buying an iPhone4 out of contract in hopes of keeping our unlimited data plans?

Posted by Kaitisland on August 19, 2010 at 11:34 AM (PDT)

2

Wonder why? Any ideas?

Posted by Caterina on August 19, 2010 at 11:35 AM (PDT)

3

To the first person that posted a comment. You can keep your data plan no matter what.

Posted by Jessup on August 19, 2010 at 11:42 AM (PDT)

4

Kaitisland - you can still keep your unlimited data plan when you upgrade.

Posted by Eric on August 19, 2010 at 11:43 AM (PDT)

5

It’s so people in other countries don’t buy up all of them at full price and resell them for profit. Thus depleting the stock of iPhones available for people in the US.

Posted by Sheila on August 19, 2010 at 12:36 PM (PDT)

6

With any other phone, I can buy one unlocked/unbranded, put my AT&T SIM card in it, and call it a day. I was hoping Apple was finally waking up to this by offering the iPhone 4 “contract free.” Why the sudden about-face? It only underscores my plan to replace my iPhone with a basic talk’n'text phone (one WITHOUT reception issues) + an iPad or next-gen iPod Touch.

Posted by Farnsworth on August 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM (PDT)

7

Keep in mind that unlike many other countries, the “contract-free” iPhone 4 in the U.S. was not being sold unlocked—only free of a requirement to sign another two-year contract with AT&T.  Perhaps it was a question of stock levels, or perhaps it was simply that customers were being confused when buying a contract-free iPhone and not being able to use it on any other network (not that there’s much of a choice—AT&T is the only network currently capable of supporting the iPhone at 3G speeds as T-Mobile uses a different 3G frequency).

It’s odd that contract-free iPhones are still being sold locked in the U.S. but I imagine this must have something to do with Apple’s agreement with AT&T. There may also have been concerns about iPhones being bought for export since it went on sale in the U.S. much earlier than most other countries.

At this point, however, considering that Apple actually is selling fully unlocked iPhone 4’s in many other countries such as here in Canada it’s unlikely that anybody is going to spend time ordering them contract-free from the U.S. and then having to jailbreak and unlock them to get them working on other carriers.

There’s been some confusion with contract-free phones up here in fact. If you buy a contract-free iPhone from a carrier store it will still be locked to that carrier.  Only the Apple Store is selling the iPhone completely unlocked, and for some reason they’re charging $30 more for the unlocked iPhone than the carriers are for a contract-free locked unit.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on August 19, 2010 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

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