iPhone : What is AT&T Thinking?

by Brian McConnell

The iPhone may well be the most innovative mobile communication product since the Blackberry, but as with nearly every product, the carriers will do anything they can to kill it. Apple's Achilles' Heel in this case, brain damaged pricing from AT&T Wireless.

Word is out that for $60/month, you'll get 450 minutes of talk time, and for $100/month, you'll get only 1350 minutes. The iPhone is an expensive device compared to most mobile phones. While there are a lot of people who will pay a premium for Apple products, it is hard to see where many people will jump at rate plans like these, especially since the people most likely to buy an iPhone use the phone a _lot_.

This is why I had hoped the iPhone would have been launched on T-Mobile. T-Mobile understands the youth market much better, and has way better pricing. I pay about $120 per month for several thousand minutes per month _and_ unlimited data _and_ wifi hotspots. The plans AT&T is promoting don't even come close.

I'll be interested to see how things pan out. It's possible that Apple's brand will trump AT&T's lame offer, but I would not be surprised if the iPhone is stillborn in the US market because consumers don't want to sign up to pay AT&T $1,000 plus in extra airtime (over a two year contract) compared to buying a less expensive device and plan over at a competing carrier.

It's a shame AT&T was not as innnovative as Apple. As it is now, they're offering the same rate plans, except with unlimited (slow) data. The device is cool, but the network it's hooked up to just doesn't seem all that compelling.

Hopefully Apple has terms in their contract that if sales don't meet a certain threshold they can turn around and start selling through other carriers like T-Mobile.

7 Comments

Bryan Y
2007-06-26 11:51:09
T-Mobile has the worst coverage of any network. That's why they can offer low prices. They are practically a second tier carrier.
Flip
2007-06-26 11:56:17
Sorry Bryan, but T-Mobile has GREAT coverage. Every time I meet someone complaining about T-Mobile coverage, they also seem to have a crappy "free" phone. I look forward to the day that the iPhone is available unlocked or through T-mobile.
Bryan Y
2007-06-26 12:02:49
T-Mobile has one of the highest churn rates [2.6%] compared to AT&T and Verizon [1.7 and 1.1]
mashby
2007-06-26 12:09:49
When compared to other carriers, the AT&T pricing is par for the course. With my Treo, unlimited data and 1000 minutes, I actually spend about the same as what AT&T is going to charge. However, I'll also have rollover minutes, which means that I might dodge a gouging should I go over my 1k minutes.


All-in-all, the pricing isn't all that bad and it's a hell of a lot simpler than any other programs where you have to add data as an extra "package". It's streamlined, easy to understand and priced fairly IMHO.

trygve
2007-06-26 13:25:30
Whether they are reasonable rates or not is a matter of opinion, but those are the normal AT&T rates when including unlimited data -- which was a *very* smart thing to do considering the iPhone's reliance on it.


T-Mobile does have better prices, that's why I switched to them a few years ago. Sadly they turned out to be pretty much unusable in my house, making it a *very* long year before I could switch back.


But guys, carrier coverage depends almost entirely on the area you're in. There are some areas where T-Mobile's coverage *is* great, but on the whole, AT&T dominates GSM coverage in the US, Verizon dominates CDMA coverage, and everybody else is pretty much trying to keep up, and that, I can almost guarantee you, is why Apple chose AT&T (and was rumored to have also approached Verizon), though they probably didn't even invite T-Mobile to join the party simply because they're just not a big enough player.

JoeD
2007-09-21 11:40:38
um i dont no if im the only one that noticed but T-mobile has more droped calls than any other network. i work for radio shack and we carry att and sprint including tracfone virgin mobile and go phones.. i have a tmobile sidekick and a iphone. my iphone has never droped under 3 bars even in basements my sidekick seems like it looses reception for anything. i dont even hear of tracfone or virgin mobile having droped calls and the run on sprint which suks as much as tmobile.

2007-09-21 11:42:03
and i dont have a cheap tmobile phone iv had MDA and two Limited Edition sidekicks