Apple’s next-gen iPhone to be offered unlocked, even in U.S.?

“AT&T may have dropped hints about Apple’s plan for the iPhone this summer, based on a report in Fortune. If you buy a next-generation, 3G-capable iPhone with a two-year AT&T Wireless contract, AT&T will take $200 off the sticker price,” Anders Bylund writes for The Motley Fool.

“If Fortune’s sources turn out to be right, it’s a rather audacious grab for market share from old Ma Bell. The discount would not apply if you bought the phone at an Apple store, so the telecom would effectively steal some retail sales from the very partner that supplies the hot product in the first place,” Bylund writes.

“Now, the current iPhone already sells out about as fast as Apple’s manufacturing partners can make ’em. We’ve even seen outright shortages… which tells me that AT&T shouldn’t need to lower prices at all,” Bylund writes.

“Unless, of course, the next iteration would be sold through multiple carriers,” Bylund writes.

Full article here.

Nobody outside of Apple and AT&T (and their lawyers) know for sure what their U.S. iPhone agreement stipulates. Imagine if it only really covered the first year and/or the first-generation iPhone (multi-year deal, but for the original iPhone only). Then, with the debut of the next-gen iPhone, it would make perfect sense for AT&T to want to begin subsidizing it. But, what would preclude others (Verizon, etc.) from doing the same (or better) subsidies?

40 Comments

  1. Apple fans are forever locked in the loving embrace of Ma Bell.

    The discount is simply to signup 10M new customers instead of 1M new customers.

    Dump your current provider and nuzzle up to Ma Bell’s big boobs!

  2. Whatever Apple’s deal with ATT you can bet that when ATT sells an iPhone that Apple gets exactly what share of the price it has negotiated. If ATT decides to subsidize the iPhone, they would still be required to pay Apple the amount agreed to in their contract. ATT can give them away but Apple would still get the money it wants.

  3. BOGUS SPECULATION-a huge setup for AAPL drop…thanks alot rumongorers for your fantasy ideas! Does the Fortune writer have any clue about Steve Jobs??? Why would Apple do anything that takes traffic away from their stores?
    This is Bogustein Fool, not Motley Fool. One of their guys loves Apple, the other one hates them…got sick of them on WSB radio years back…by the way…WSB canned them.

  4. I sincerely doubt any truth to this rumor. For starters, it’s a GSM phone, and moreover Apple executed a 5 year exclusivity deal with AT&T;. There’s probably a buyout clause (I haven’t read the contract), but I doubt it would be worth it in the US. The non-exclusive carrier model would probably work in other countries where no deal is in effect. Don’t forget that Apple has a double revenue model on it exclusivity deals: one from the phones, another from the service contracts. Selling to an open market may sell more phones, but it would decrease revenues and profits.

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