Doing some quick math in the aftermath of today’s iPhone 3G announcements, we’ve uncovered a cute loophole in AT&T’s pricing.
At $599 for the 8 GB model and $699 for the 16 GB model (with no contract), it is actually cheaper to sign up for AT&T service (on a 2-year contract), wait a month, and then pay the Early Termination Fee (ETF).
$199 / $299 for the iPhone 3G + $36 Activation Fee + $175 Early Termination Fee + $70 One Month AT&T Service = $480 / $580 respectively.
AT&T has said that if you cancel within the first month, you are required to return the iPhone 3G to an AT&T retail store. However, by canceling at the very end of the first month, one can pay the ETF, and still be ahead of the cost of an iPhone 3G without any contract.
In practicality, this is likely an option that will be most used by hackers looking to start tackling iPhone 3G from day one. This means that hackers will be able to get iPhone 3G up-front from day one, at the same price that will be offered without contract at a later date.
It also means that there will be many people looking to buy an iPhone 3G on launch day… just to sell it on eBay.