Apple Retail Stores to conduct sign-ups for prepaid and month-to-month iPhones

“Apple is preparing to enhance its Apple Store-based iPhone sales operations in the United States around pre-paid and month-to-month plans in order boost sales, according to a source briefed on the upcoming initiatives,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac.

“For the first time in U.S. Apple Stores, customers will be able to purchase an iPhone at full-price and then connect the phone to a pre-paid plan or a month-to-month plan within the store,” Gurman reports. “Previously, iPhone customers could only buy full-priced iPhones as unlocked devices then connect the devices to pre-paid plans or month-to-month plans via a previously purchased SIM-card or through a carrier store.”

Gurman reports, “Apple is said to be partnering with AT&T and T-Mobile for the new push.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. So they are partnering up with AT&T for this program? It goes full circle…like the Buddhist concept of Samsara, or the Ouroboros. It’s pretty poetic actually.

    1. The AT&T CEO rubs his hands together..”Ah…at long last, a chink in the armor…..soon we will prevail, and I will dance on Steve’s grave!
      Go my pretties, gather our minions! Soon we will strike!”
      The flying monkeys nod enthusiastically and take wing, flapping off into the gloaming.

        1. I switched to StraightTalk and I could not be happier with the quality and love the monthly savings and automatic payment (what is the difference if it gets paid automatically – no surprise charge what-so-ever).

          I like to upgrade my iPhone every year and do not need “AT & bloody T” to subsidize me at an interest rate equal to 310%. i.e. a $450 for 2 years subsidy and I am now saving 24 x $58 (i.e. 1392 / 450)

          Thank you but no thank you…

        2. There is a simple reason why it is cheaper: in a subsidised model, AT&T charges you the monthly plan which includes the subsidy portion (loan payment for the phone). However, the whole monthly amount is taxed as wireless service, which is in some states over 20%. When you go with non-subsidised pre-paid plan, you pay significantly less per month for that wireless service. If you get your phone on an interest-free loan (the way T-Mobile does it), your phone is taxed the way it should be; you pay retail tax (in some states just 4%), and not wireless service tax (over 20%). For a $650 iPhone, the difference can be $100.

        1. telegraph:
          ‘tele’ – from a distance
          ‘graph’ – from Greek graphē ‘writing.’

          Considering the number of people that write email and text messages daily, I think telegraph still applies…

          We still use the word telephone… or iPhone, when for most people the primary function is the computing aspects.

          We can ‘wire’ people money from our wireless phones.

          Languages change over time.

  2. Lets make sure this is very clear to everyone: Apple is again doing what it always does best: pleasing the customer.

    Pre-paid services have always been dollar-for-dollar less expensive than two-year contract plans. The difference was often several hundred dollars per year. This remains the case today, even though the major carriers have made their contract offerings more attractive.

    Most Americans have no clue how much they are paying for their phone, or for their plan. They get these packaged subsidised offers, where their phone ends up being free (or $200), and they are happy to pay $100 per month for a single line with unlimited data / voice / text.

    On a pre-paid plan, $100 gets you four lines with unlimited everything. You buy your phone any way you choose (paying up-front, or financing it), and you can switch your mobile carriers at any point.

    Pre-paid is slowly emerging in America, and carriers are very, very afraid. They have been raking it in with the two-year contract deals and prepaid has a strong chance of disturbing their standard business model. However, if they had any brains, they would embrace it and even promote it (see T-Mobile). For the reasons that are a bit too complicated to explain on a Friday afternoon, pre-paid offerings end up reducing the amount of taxes paid by the consumer by at least $50 per year (wireless services are taxed at close to 20%; mobile phones are taxed well below 10%).

    Prepaid and no-contract is the best way to get mobile service.

    1. I stayed on the sidelines and didn’t bother to buy a smartphone until more prepaid and no-contract options became available. To me, the contract pricing was an outrage because it typically gave me a lot of what I didn’t want (voice minutes and texts) and skimped on what I did want (data allowance).

      With the T-Mobile $30 prepaid plan, they offered up something that meets my exact needs (low minutes, unlimited data with 5 GB of 4G/LTE data), and saves a huge amount in the long run.

      Here’s the math:
      Phone: $750 (32 GB iPhone 5s)
      Service plan: $360 ($30 x 12 months)
      1st year total: $1,110
      Cost for two years of service: $1,470
      Cost for three years of service: $1,830

      I don’t know of any on-contract subsidized plans that come close to matching those numbers. Yes, they do include more and might have better network access in outlying areas, but that’s mostly stuff I don’t want or need.

      On average, I use about 3 GB of data per month. A Verizon single-line contract plan with that kind of data usage would cost $90/month (before taxes). The math on that one looks more daunting even with a subsidy.

      Phone: $300 (32 GB iPhone 5s)
      Service plan: $1,080 ($90 x 12 months)
      1st year total: $1,380
      Cost for two years of service: $2,460
      Cost for three years of service: $3,540

      Looking at these types of numbers kept me away from purchasing a smartphone. Even with the utility that they offer, I simply had other things I’d rather do with my money. And I don’t think I’m alone. As more people get used to seeing the actual device cost, I think the math on the monthly service charges will make more sense.

      In the meantime, the telcos are trying to stall this out with their one-year upgrade plans, and an ever more confusing array of shared plans. T-Mobile made things straight forward and up front. That’s why I went with them.

  3. How’s this news? The T-Mobile iPhones have always provided the option of prepaid activation out of the box, since you cannot purchase them on contract. The ones sold at the Apple stores are nothing more than unlocked phones with a T-Mobile SIM card preinstalled.

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