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AT&T to Offer No-Commitment iPhones Starting March 26 [UPDATED 4:05 EDT 3/19/09]
Beginning next Thursday, March 26, AT&T will begin selling 8GB and 16GB iPhones at the no-commitment pricing of US$599 and $699, respectively, without the need to activate the device and sign a two-year contract at the point of sale.
According to The Boy Genius Report, which obtained copies of materials distributed by AT&T at a training meeting, there's a "one per line" limit, "which makes us think you'll need an active AT&T line to purchase an iPhone (AT&T stores typically don't sell you no-contract phones unless you provide them with an active line of yours)," the site speculated. They added: "But the presentation also says that they basically have no way of tracking this."
The presentation materials posted at the site explicitly state that a two-year contract is not required, although they do say that an AT&T data plan is needed, and an activation fee will be charged.
iPodObserver.com spoke with Mark Siegel, AT&T's executive director of media and analyst relations, who confirmed this information and noted that buyers will be able to activate the handsets in the store or via iTunes when they get home. Of course, without activation, the iPhone essentially works like an iPod touch with a built-in camera. Mr. Siegel did say, however, that there is no early termination fee, since no contract is required. He also wasn't sure if the unsubsidized iPhones will be available at Apple stores.
[4:05 PM EDT, 3/19/09: Updated to reflect new information regarding activation options.]
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