With the dramatic price cut in the new iPhone 3G, Apple has decided to cave on a key requirement: Apple will no longer require carriers to offer a prepaid version.
And, the first to suffer from this is American customers. As of iPhone 3G, AT&T hasÂ tentativelyÂ confirmed to PhoneNews.com that the 3G iPhone will not be available on GoPhone service.
The price cut, from $399 to $199, reflects a $200 subsidy on the part of the carrier. Because that price is taken into account in the retail cost of iPhone, there is no way for AT&T to deduct the subsidy when activating iPhone on a prepaid account.
Some may see this as a darkly positive move. As we’ve previously reported in several articles, iPhone customers on AT&T’s GoPhone service have encountered numerous outages, and difficulty upgrading.
This will, however, significantly dent the wallets of those that wish to use iPhone 3G as a primarily data device. We have previously covered techniques to “cash out” or be refunded unused airtime minutes on GoPhone service.
The official statement from Apple and AT&T, jointly, is: “(iPhone 3G)Â Requires newÂ 2-yearÂ AT&T rate plan, sold separately.”
However, other carriers in Europe have in-placeÂ tentativeÂ plans to offer prepaid options with iPhone 3G. Clearly, Apple is giving more control to carriers in how they sell and promote iPhone, more in-line with their existing business models.