Cingular to give away 18 months of iPhone service?

AT&T/Cingular plan to aggressively push Apple’s iPhone to new customers, offering them 18 months of free service, according to Jim Cramer, director and co-founder of investment site “The company made it very clear that it’s going to use Apple’s iPhone to get customers from Verizon Wireless by giving away its service for a year and a half to those customers who buy the phone,” Cramer said after speaking with executives from AT&T/Cingular.

“Management sounded like kids when talking about the iPhone and how it was going to remake AT&T and that it was the greatest invention they’ve ever seen,” Cramer said in a related article. “Now, AT&T’s all about market share, and if you read between the lines, I think you see a strategy coming where the device’s $500 price point is preserved but the service contract is greatly reduced. I think that AT&T—and not Apple—is the key to this next leg, and CEO Stan Sigman can make it happen.”

Update: According to a Cingular representative, the company will not be offering a free period of service with the iPhone. “The report is nonsense,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve always said the only way you can get the iPhone is with a Cingular rate plan.”

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