Apple Aborts No-Contract iPhone 4 Sales, AT&T Next?

Apple today pulled iPhone 4 from sale without contract. The offering has been in-place since iPhone 3G, making good on a promise to sell the device without contract.

The original iPhone was sold without contract at the point of sale, but required a two-year contract upon activation. iPhone 3G required a contract renewal, but AT&T and Apple announced that iPhone 3G would eventually be available for sale without a contract. The companies made good on that promise nearly a year later, and continued the offering over to iPhone 3GS.

The reason behind this retraction appears to be clear; unlocking. iPhone 4 sales were being diverted from contract-ready customers to unlockers. Apple and AT&T clearly waited until supply had met demand with iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS did not require significant manufacturing delays. As such, the offering was continued to iPhone 3GS without holding up new contract sales.

It is not clear if Apple will offer iPhone 4 in the United States without a contract in the future. AT&T continues to offer iPhone 4 without contract, however, AT&T may change that policy in light of Apple’s retraction of their mandatory pricing for no-contract iPhones. Apple has modified their web site to now state that iPhone requires a contract, indicating AT&T may follow suit shortly.

Christopher Price is the Founding Editor of Today, he leads the team building Console, Inc. - a new kind of Android™ device. He still likes to pontificate... a lot. You can visit his personal blog at

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9 responses to “Apple Aborts No-Contract iPhone 4 Sales, AT&T Next?”

  1. JJ

    Yet another reason why apple and att both suck. Thank goodness for Android!

  2. Jeff

    The whole thing is silly. You can always sign up; keep the service for a month or two; and cancel with ETF. Sure, the ETF is high, but so is buying the phone without a contract.

  3. Jeff

    I agree it is harder, but I don’t believe that your credit score should be affected if you buy out of your contract with the ETF. Of course, starting a new account with AT&T will incur a credit check.

  4. Christopher Price

    Paying the ETF and canceling an account does not negatively affect your credit score. The credit check however will, as it is counted as a full inquiry.

  5. F1

    A couple of points:

    1.This will help FCC,to further scrutinize the AT&T/APPLE “exclusivity” deal.
    2.Apple’s direct response, to the U.S. “unlock order” of last month.
    3.Further complicating access for unlocked/gray T-Mobile market.

    APPLE is pushing the buttons of the FCC,flexing the muscles of “free market Enterprise” against the “free consumer market”,the outcome is somewhat predictable, yet, still interesting to observe how this will unfold.

    Keeping in mind, given the evidenciary real possibility of the introduction of a VZW CDMA G4 iPhone, within the next 4.5 months, it might all just be a “send off” show, from APPLE to AT&T, thereby, it at least appears, that APPLE, is standing by it’s contractual agreement and obligations, untill the bitter end.

    Thank You

  6. F1

    Ooops==> “until”

  7. Suellen

    I know where you can buy an Apple iPhone 4 and a Droid v-2. These phones are sharp! Plus you’ll love the prices Check them out!

    You can also call at 1-877-790-8140

    I got a great deal and paid with my Green Dot MoneyPak!

  8. Jeff Lee

    You dont have to buy it from Apple store. They are giving me a hard time last time just because i am an Asian. Then i bought a iphone 4 without contact from instead. I did not have to go through the trouble of reserving the phone and then line up to pick it up just to get myself questioned over and over.