iPhone Rate Plans Revealed

Apple has posted the rate plans for the iPhone and a few reader questions have been answered.

Existing AT&T customers can keep their rate plan and add a $20 a month iPhone data plan. These customers can activate their own phones through iTunes. There are also special plans for new iPhone customers as well as family plans.

It looks like all customers will have to extend their contracts by 2 years in order to activate the iPhone, if the fine print is to be believed. “Minimum new 2-year wireless service plan and activation fee required to activate iPhone features, including iPod. Plans are subject to AT&T credit approval.” They may even try to charge existing customers an activation fee, but we sort of doubt that. Let us know.

It looks like those of you who don’t have AT&T and were planning on just buying this and using it as an iPod until your contract with another carrier ran out might run into some difficulty. But that wasn’t too many of you, right?

All in all, signing a 2 year contract for the privilege of paying full price for a phone is (let us put this gently, it’s nothing personal) not recommended by this website.

IPhone Rate Plans [Apple]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tvh2k says:

    $59.99 and no unlimited nights and weekends ?!?!?

  2. Doc Benway says:

    Compared to my Verizon Blackberry plan this is downright reasonable. Unfortunately, I agree with not giving AT&T any business. The devil is still the devil even if he is wearing Calvin.

  3. drzombie says:

    Wow, being from Canada, the land of the unbelievably high data rates (for example: blackberry: $200 for 500mb), those I-phone rates look amazing. I’m sure that when, and if, we get the iPhone, our rates will be much higher.

  4. SangreDeThor says:

    That is a pretty good price actually. It essentially is $20 for unlimited data. and $40 for the rate plan. Which the voice part of the plan is on par with the other offerings. What is shocking though is the $20 for unlimited data. The iPhone essentially is being sold under a smartphone unlimited plan but i think apple does not want to phone to be called a PDA or a smartphone therefore requiring new terminology to be created. The price for a data plan is definitely a sweet deal.

  5. Falconfire says:

    I can understand why the Consumerist would say its not recommended, but your insinuating that the iPhone is somehow different from past practice of paying full price.

    The Moto Razr and Q as well as a number of smartphones all debut at full price with no discounts and a required 2 year plan, and we see where those Moto phones are at now. The fact that the iPhone is too is not in any way new at all and its a disservice to people to be leading people on to thinking that this is new. The only difference between the Q and the iPhone (other than the Q is a piece of shit for a 400 dollar price tag) is the fact that the entire world is talking about the iPhone while not that many people knew of the Q before its release.

  6. triple says:

    Sprint has the best data plans. $15/mo for powervision, which is 3G.

    SERO which is EASY to get (google), I mean its ridiculous. $30 for 500m/unlimited everything.

  7. shiwsup says:

    right on par with t-mobile’s rates.

  8. Lewis says:

    Yikes – I don’t understand the 2-year contract requirement if the phone is not subsidized. I remember when the announcement came out hearing something about how the phone would come with service for two years – did I completely misunderstood that (yes, apparently.)

    So the non-phone (i.e. iPod) features are locked until you activate? Does that also imply that if you terminate your contract and/or service prior to the two years (or ever?) that your iPod becomes locked until you reinstate? If so, that is pretty offensive, IMO.

    I am a HUGE fan of Apple and have been since my first Apple //c – but I can’t go along with consumer-unfriendly behavior to this degree.

    Even if I weren’t mid-contract with T-Mo (5 lines and over a year to go on each) I probably would avoid the iPhone based upon this news – if I am buying a product without a subsidy, it should be mine to do with as I please, for any legal purpose.

    [/slippery slope]

  9. Mark 2000 says:

    I dont understand why the Data Plan is mandatory. This thing has WiFi, right? Wifi is everywhere. I don’t need a data plan. No thank you.

  10. nequam says:

    I agree that the rates seem reasonable. I’m frankly surprised.

  11. lhutz34 says:

    @tvh2k: I’m surprised by the 500 min N&W limit too, but only because I can’t imagine ever going over that limit, so why bother limiting it at all? Are they really worried about losing money on someone talking more than 80 hours on nights and weekends? At the same time, are you really worried about going over?

    I’m more pissed at the disappearance of the “ringtones” tab in itunes. When it was introduced, the itunes demo had a ringtones tab, indicating that there would be a way to set custom ringtones from you itunes library. 4-8gb of storage, makes sense right? Based on the two videos they just posted, though, it looks like you can only pick from the preloaded list, and the ringtone tab has disappeared, so there appears to be no way to customize at all.

    These very reasonable rate plans are buying a lot of goodwill, but if AT&T tries to charge $2 for a snippet of a song I already bought in itunes for $1, there’s going to be severe backlash that will erase that goodwill in the blink of an eye.

  12. rbb says:

    Only 200 text messages? The average iphone owner will probably use that many the first day by sending out gloating messages to everyone they know…

    I wonder is AT&T will append a header to each message sent from an iphone with “This message was sent from an iphone. You should be honored.”

  13. nweaver says:

    IF they had made the iPhone an open platform (so I could install real apps on it), I’d go for this in 6 months when my Verizon plan expires, as this is really a reasonable price service plan.

    But as I can’t run SSH, this ain’t gonna happen.

  14. balthisar says:

    It seems reasonable, especially in that I’m a *happy* AT&T né Cingular customer. Only $20 above my current family plan for data? I current don’t have a data plan, but having mobile Safari in my pocket may change my mood. I wonder if my group discount (a discount due to my employer) would further reduce the $20?

    I’ve been without a contract for years, and even though AT&T is great in my area (SE Michigan), the thought of a new commitment bothers me.

  15. Buran says:

    @tvh2k: I have Cingular and went for the cheapest plan my employer discount would cover (the 40/mo plan turned into a 31/mo plan) and I don’t have unlimited either, but given how much I actually talk on the phone (not much) it’s sufficient.

    This is typical — the basic plan doesn’t include unlimited, but 5,000 minutes is a lot.

    If you’re like me and only talk occasionally, you’ll be fine. If you gab a lot, get one of the other plans.

    Fortunately, my bf and I are very nocturnal and when we chat on the phone we do it at night so it doesn’t use up my daytime minutes.

    (I’m not going to buy the iphone, at least not yet, I want IM and 3G. I’ll probably buy an unlocked Blackjack on ebay once BluePhoneElite (computer-phone integration software for Macs) supports the BJ later this year.)

  16. Buran says:

    @balthisar: Sadly, I don’t know that the iphone dataplans are subject to employer discounts. I’ve seen stuff elsewhere that says that they will not be.

  17. rmz says:

    @tvh2k: 83 hours of nights & weekends isn’t enough for you? :P

  18. lhutz34 says:

    @Buran: Are you and the boyfriend on the same network? My whole family and many of my friends are on Verizon, so between M2M and N&W minutes, I rarely use more than 200 minutes of regular airtime a month, and I don’t have a landline. My main concern with switching to AT&T is that even with the same amount of minutes, I’m much more likely to go over because hundreds of minutes won’t be M2M anymore.

  19. MeOhMy says:

    The rate actually seems cheaper than my current T-Mobile rate. Not bad at all.

    But I want a phone that does more than just look pretty.

  20. etinterrapax says:

    I agree that this seems reasonable. If I didn’t have to pay full price for the phone, I might go for it. The unlimited data would come in handy for the kind of work I do. I think I’ll wait a year and see what happens. I’m another happy ATT/nee Cingular customer, and we’re able to deduct about 70% of our cell bills because of my husband’s job. My guess is that they’ll cave at some point and offer discounted equipment when my next chance to upgrade comes around.

  21. ironchef says:

    iphone visual voicemail makes T-mobile data contract look lame.

    There’s no comparison.

  22. catita says:

    I’m a total Apple fangirl and early adopter that lusted after the idea of an iPhone for years, but the cost of owning one is just not worth it. It is insane to suggest that someone pay at minimum, $2000 for the iPhone with the required 2 years of service.

    I have a non-subsidized Motorola RAZR for use with a Cingular GoPhone pre-paid plan, and while the initial cost was more due to the purchase of the phone, at most I spend $200/year on mobile phone service. For families and personal users, I honestly don’t understand the need for anything other than pre-paid service.

  23. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    People should just wait a year. By then, I’m sure unlocked versions will appear on the grey market.

  24. enm4r says:

    @catita: I honestly don’t understand the need for anything other than pre-paid service.

    Because some (read: many) people do not have a land line and the $1 fee for prepaid for each day you use it is already setting you back $25-30 per month. $0.10 is great, but even if you only used the phone half the days of the month, and spent 200 minutes, you’d be set back more than the lowest monthly plans.

  25. codykniffen says:

    Anyone complaining that 5,000 nights and weekend minutes isn’t enough needs to get off of their freakin’ phones! That’s a shit-ton of minutes, sucka!

  26. MeOhMy says:

    @ironchef: What does visual voicemail have to do with the data plan?

  27. Lewis says:

    Since activation will be done at home for purhcases at an Apple store, as reports would seem to indicate, what happens to the poor folks who lay down their $600 just to come home and find out that their credit does not qualify them for service? Wonder if there is an online facility to deal with deposits, or if they get referred to an 800#? Wonder what the return policy will be, since you need to open the box (?) to activate…

  28. guroth says:

    So you’re being forced to get a $20 data plan even though it includes wifi, and this unlimited data rate doesn’y apply to pithy 1kb text messages, you only get 200 of those.

    The non-phone features only work if you activate them in itunes, so the possibility of them being deactivated is highly probable upon service disconnection

    sounds like an awesome way to get fucked in the ass by apple AND at&t

  29. Nextlevel says:

    Since I am out of contract with tmobile, I will get one, maybe 2 for my better half if she is nice to me tonight!! lol

    Take note, the Family plan is only for 1 phone, for 2 phones I am pretty sure you have to add $29.99 a month.

    700 minutes with 2 phones is $110
    But if you got 2 single lines you could pay $120 for 900 minutes.

    There should be a 1000 minute or 1200 minute plan for family in there somewhere.

    I could be wrong, but that sux.

  30. mistaketv says:

    The rates are pretty reasonable. What’s ridiculous are all the restrictions. In general, I applaud Apple’s innovative products. That said, this better be one sweet MF-ing piece of equipment to put up with all these crippling assaults on the freedom to use the (expensive) device as you please. I look forward to seeing the fallout from the inevitable backlash. Once again, companies will have to be forced to do the right thing, if should they decide to at all.

  31. lesbiansayswhat says:

    I’m currently with AT&T on a Samsung Blackjack and for unlimited data it’s $30 more on top of a basic $40 plan..getting an iPhone would actually save me money in the long run. It’ll be hard to fight the pressure of getting one. Cingular (the new AT&T) has always required 2-year contracts for anything and likes giving the shaft to current customers. The text messaging is also ridiculous but phone carriers charging that much for text messages has always been ridiculous..everywhere else in the world it’s almost free.

  32. dohtem says:

    @shiwsup: Right on par with T-Mobile’s rates? I don’t know what you are smoking. The cheapest plan at $59.99 gives you unlimited data, only 450 day time minutes, 5000 night and weekend minutes.

    At t-mo, I pay $39.99 (voice rate plan) + $19.99 (unlimited blackberry internet) and I get 1000 daytime, unlimited nights and weekends.

    That’s roughly the same price but with way more minutes.

    Oh and my phone cost way less than the original price tag.

  33. cbear says:

    just a few comments from someone on the inside:
    first, for those of you who have questioned, there is no FAN discount on an account that has an iPhone. that is to say, anyone who activates an iPhone loses any and all benefits of their foundation account discounts.

    second, they way its been explained to us regarding the 2yr contract is that 499 and 599 price points ARE the discount rates. given its demand and its features, the MSRP of an iPhone would be much higher. it might be more accurate to say that the iPhone is not available at the full retail price.

    and FYI, since iPhones can only be purchased in stores or on apple.com, provisioning for an iPhone can only be done at the point of sale, and iPhones are the only phones (that I know of), that report their model to our network. activating a grey market iPhone is going to be very difficult

  34. lesbiansayswhat says:

    Whoops..I meant $40 on top of the plan (definitely one of the biggest ripoffs of all phone companies). I wonder if they’ll lower it now that iPhone users will get it for half that amount.

  35. Thrust says:

    Son of a…
    $100 US a month! $100 CDN gets me an entire freaking year. That phone better give spectacular blowjobs for that price!

  36. AskCars says:

    I too have Cingular/ATT with a Samsung blackjack. It is unlimited for $34 a month data on top of my family plan. BUT with the Blackjack I get the 3G speed connection which is available here in Chicago and most major cities. Everywhere else that doesn’t have it I get regular EDGE network. The iPhone ONLY gets the EDGE network. No 3G. So that cool looking internet will load like old school dial up. Enjoy.

  37. randalotto says:

    To echo an earlier comment: this looks like crap compared to SERO.

    500 minutes
    unlimited texts
    unlimited data usage
    free nights / wknds 7-7
    free m2m


    I can’t imagine paying $600 up front, plus $720+ over the course of two years for the privilege of using the jesus phone. Might as well stick with the phone and plan i have, and buy a laptop AND an ipod with that money.

  38. lesbiansayswhat says:

    Interesting, why wouldn’t the iPhone have access to the network’s 3G? That seems like a serious flaw..the 3G is amazing.

  39. reallymadcow says:

    LewisNYC: Since activation will be done at home for purhcases at an Apple store, as reports would seem to indicate, what happens to the poor folks who lay down their $600 just to come home and find out that their credit does not qualify them for service?

    Anyone with credit that bad probably shouldn’t be buying a $600 phone. I mean, I’m sure there are some exceptions, but seriously, it’s like my aunt’s $50K in credit card debt that she “paid” off with a house re-fi - after which she immediately charged a $1500 hi-def TV on her newly ’empty’ cards. I don’t have a nice TV and I’d love LOVE LOVE an iPhone but I can’t afford either, And my credit is excellent.

    (bitter: REALLY want the iPhone)

  40. ericstoltz says:

    A question for those who know more about this than I:

    I have an AT&T landline and would like to transfer the same number over to the iPhone plan — in other words, ditch the landline for good. Since I am already an AT&T customer and the FCC says you can transfer wireline numbers to wireless, I’m hoping that is possible, or does AT&T have a loophole to prevent me from doing this?

  41. Imhotep says:

    Tell Steve to unlock this thing so we don’t have to use AT&T!


  42. Hmm, those data rates actually ain’t bad…

  43. ca911 says:

    so wait, does anyone know for sure or not if you have to activate the phone in order to use the ipod features? that seems really stupid to limit the features..