Apple, AT&T reveal surprisingly affordable rate plans for iPhone

Yesterday, Apple and AT&T released the rate plan information for the iPhone, and the information has generated nearly as much positive buzz as the phone itself.

One of the last big questions that still had to be answered about the iPhone was how much it was going to cost in cellular charges to operate the thing. As the iPhone release has crept closer in the past few weeks, there have been tons of speculation. ZDNet's Mobile Gadgeteer estimated that the iPhone would cost about $95/month for 450 minutes and a data plan.

However, the Mobile Gadgeteer and many others (including me) were pleasantly surprised when the three primary iPhone rate plans were revealed:

  • $59.99 - 450 minutes and 5,000 night and weekend minutes
  • $79.99 - 900 minutes and unlimited nights and weekends
  • $99.99 - 1,350 minutes and unlimited nights and weekends

The real kicker is that all three plans include:

  • Unlimited data plan
  • 200 SMS text messages per month
  • Unlimited mobile-to-mobile calls
  • Rollover minutes
  • Visual voicemail

The unlimited data plan is the major value here. Most carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, charge $40-$50 to add an unlimited data plan to your standard rate plan. If you have a smartphone that you're going to use for e-mail and Internet, a data plan is essential. And if you're using a push e-mail program, an unlimited data plan is an absolute must because it is connected constantly.

I'm amazed at how affordable this is. I'm wondering if this will drive down the cost of data plans in general. After all, why pay $95/month for a Motorola Q or a Samsung Blackjack when you can get the same voice and data plan for $60/month with an iPhone -- even if the up-front cost is higher? What do you think? Join the discussion.


Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

Paul R.A.
Paul R.A.

Yes - up front cost is higher but for someone like myself who has not picked up the ipod yet (but salivated) this just did it= Phone, Data, tunes and video and an affordable plan- yeah I'll pick up the up front charge


I think it's just a way to try to sell the iPhone after all the bad press it's gotten. For every ad they run, I hear someone else say, yeah, but it's a crappy phone (or insert one of many other bad comments about it here)


Apple and AT&T have revealed some very affordable rate plans for the iPhone: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=517 Will this drive down the cost of data plans for smartphones in general? Does this make you want an iPhone?


She said I always get the new toys. Then I told her that I would get it for her (I figured she would tire of it easily), she said the plan would cost to much. I will have to see what she says now that the prices are public.

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