Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

AT&T To Offer No-Contract iPhone

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the pay-even-more-as-you-go dept.

Cellphones 193

rfc1394 writes "While the regular price of an iPhone is $199 if you take a 2-year contract with AT&T, if you're willing to pay a lot more you can get one without a contract. An article in InfoWorld mentions that 'Freedom will come with a price — $599 for an 8GB device and $699 for a 16GB — but this will mark the first time consumers in the United States are able to buy an iPhone without being tied down to a two-year contract. The phone probably would still be locked for use only on AT&T's network, said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. But buyers could choose a pay-as-you-go plan for voice service.' The question still remains, does it make any sense to pay that much for a phone that is still locked to AT&T's network even if you aren't bound to a contract?" Update: 07/05 18:21 GMT by T : An anonymous reader suggests that there is a convoluted but possibly cheaper route to an new, unlocked iPhone.

cancel ×

193 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

iWouldn't (0, Troll)

Hatkirby (1315373) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065743)

I wouldn't buy an iPhone even if it was completely free. It's made by Apple, people! Apple = bad!

Re:iWouldn't (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065775)

stupid faggot

Re:iWouldn't (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065841)

stupid faggot

You couldn't be more wrong. It's Apple users that are guilty of faggotry---not Apple bashers.

Re:iWouldn't (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067501)

Really points out that the Neo Freerunner isn't really a bad deal, like some people were trying to claim in an earlier thread. Hardware capabilities almost as good as or matching an iPhone, and *no* contractual obligations, for $400. If $600-$700 is what they'd need to sell an iPhone for when the "locked into a contract" subsidy is removed, it sounds like the Freerunner is at a very reasonable price point, just ignoring all of the "open" aspects to it.

Re:iWouldn't (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067631)

Not really comparable. The iPhone has a multitouch touchscreen (the Freerunner might, eventually, if someone puts a lot of effort into the driver) and is 3G (in the version being discussed now), while the Freerunner is crippled with GPRS.

Re:iWouldn't (0, Redundant)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067539)

Insightful? Mods are confused by homonyms. The word you were looking for is inciteful.

Just out of sheer morbid curiosity, what phone companies are on your list of "good"?

This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (5, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065745)

So I buy a phone outright for $599/$699, or I buy a phone for $199/$299 with a 2 year plan ($36 activation fee) then cancel the contract immediately for $175...net cost $410/$510. Hmmmm.....

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (5, Informative)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065825)

Most phone companies have a stipulation in the contract that forces you to return the phone if you cancel the contract soon after starting it. In this case I would think that time would be about 6 months or so - enough time for them to squeeze out the 600/700 dollar cost.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (3, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065833)

What if the phone gets "stolen"?

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (2, Informative)

grumling (94709) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065857)

Well, you should have bought insurance.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066027)

You can't buy insurance from the carrier for high dollar phones such as the iPhone. People that buy them will buy another one if it gets stolen ( Well, okay, I'm buying another one to replace my stolen iphone on the 11th ). And its not really profitable for them to charge you a $20 insurance fee for a phone that they actually have to pay for, unlike all the other give-away phones that they don't mind insuraning because they are so cheap that the fee they charge you when you make a claim is more than the phone costs them.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066237)

You can in the UK (O2) - £7 a month.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066461)

Sorry you're wrong. Insurance is definitely offered on iphones. I guess you don't know what you are talking about or regret not buying the insurance yourself because I have an iphone and I have insurance @ 4.95 a month w AT&T. That's pretty standard for a smartphone. Verizon charged me the same insurance fee when I had a treo.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (2, Funny)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067177)

It's always possible to game the system if you're willing to defraud it sufficiently. I mean, hey, I need more money, what if my bank gets "robbed"?

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24067803)

you frighten me lol

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (4, Informative)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065863)

Maybe but in the case of AT&T they do not:

Cancellations/Early Termination Fee: An Early Termination Fee of $175 may be assessed against you in the event that you terminate your Wireless Service Agreement and/or selected plan before the expiration of its term. For Service activated on or after May 25, 2008, the Early Termination Fee will be reduced by $5.00 for each full month toward your minimum term that you complete. You may cancel your service, for any reason and without incurring the Early Termination Fee, within thirty (30) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, PROVIDED, however, that if you cancel service you will remain responsible for any service fees and charges incurred. If you cancel within three (3) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, you will be entitled to a refund of your activation fee, if any. If you exercise this option, you may be required to return devices and associated accessories purchased in connection with your Wireless Service Agreement.

So you wait until the 4th day.

I don't think so... (1)

microcars (708223) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065981)

...If you exercise this option, you may be required to return devices and associated accessories purchased in connection with your Wireless Service Agreement.

So if you cancel your contract you don't necessarily get to keep the iPhone after paying the Early Termination Fee.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066033)

No, you don't get to keep it if you cancel within the 30 day "trial"(for lack of a better word), and DONT pay the early termination fee.

Re:I don't think so... (2, Interesting)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066135)

I see how you are getting this interpretation...

It's interesting to see just how ambiguous this section of the contract seems to be. Obviously, AT&T would agree with your interpretation. A court may not. Of, course, we don't want to pay court costs just to argue to try and save $189 dollars.

On the other hand, there have already been many iPhones bought and contracts cancelled, so if AT&T has NOT been demanding the hardware back after the 30 day period then they would be hard pressed to start doing so now. Anyone know if AT&T has been requiring the hardware back when a contract is cancelled?

Re:I don't think so... (2, Informative)

Joren (312641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066145)

Hey, um...did you read GP all the way? He's saying wait until day 4. Go back and read about one sentence before the part you quoted; it says you have to return the equipment only if you want to exercise an option to refund your activation fee and cancel within three days. We're not using this option - we're cancelling the normal way, by waiting until day four and paying the activation fee and early termination fee, so this doesn't apply to us. Even with all those fees added up, it's still cheaper.

I personally wouldn't buy the thing either way...

Re:I don't think so... (5, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066357)

This is getting better and better...

They have a special iPhone section ((4) iPHONE TERMS AND CONDITIONS): Terms Applicable to AT&T Nation/FamilyTalk® GSM Plans: Credit approval required. Subscriber must live and have a mailing address within AT&T's owned network coverage area. An early termination fee applies if service is terminated before the end of the contract term. The fee will begin at $175 per device and decrease by $5 each month for the term of the agreement. If phone is returned within 3 days, activation fee will be refunded. If phone is returned within 14 days in like-new condition with all components, early termination fee will be waived. Service may be cancelled after 14 days but within 30 days and early termination fee will be waived, but equipment may not be returned. All other charges apply. Some dealers impose additional fees.

So they explicitly say that you can cancel the service between 14 and 30 days, avoid the early termination fee, but don't have to return the iPhone. As an aside, this section also implies that the "you may be required to return devices" in the other part of the contract indeed only applies to the first 30 day period, but the explicit iPhone section makes the various interpretations of the other section mute for this question.

So, we can buy the iPhone outright for $599/$699 or we can get a contract and cancel it after 14 days (but before 30 days) and pay a net of $235/$335. As my son would say Sweeeet.

now THAT is interesting (1)

microcars (708223) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066721)

Service may be cancelled after 14 days but within 30 days and early termination fee will be waived, but equipment may not be returned.

thanks for digging that up.
It is an interesting loophole and I wonder if they will close it or if it is there for some other reason it is worded like that.

from the perspective of a Dealer, this seems like a raw deal. For example, lets say half the people who buy new iPhones bring them back on the 15th day and want to cancel their contracts.
The Dealer has to do all this paperwork to cancel, they get no money for it and the customer gets to keep the iPhone.
Perhaps they are hoping people trying to take advantage of this will forget about the 14-30 day window.

Re:now THAT is interesting (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066879)

If this were code for a program, I would say that someone has been hacking at the code trying to work around a problem.

It seems like no one at AT&T has reviewed the full contract and how it all works together. Or, as you say, there is could be a hidden issue that dictates those precise words. Maybe they're trying to avoid class-action lawsuits [informationweek.com] concerning unreasonable contract requirements?

As to changing the contract, I assume that is possible. While they list the iPhone on their web site, you can't actually sign up for one yet, so change is still possible.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

Coppit (2441) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066923)

For the record, I canceled my service within the first 3 days on my iPhone and they didn't ask me to return it. I suspect they would with the new no-plan policy.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066439)

You are sort of quoting the parent out of context.

The sentence appears directly after a sentence offering an option to have activation fees refunded, if you cancel within 3 days.

You may cancel your service, for any reason and without incurring the Early Termination Fee, within thirty (30) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, PROVIDED, however, that if you cancel service you will remain responsible for any service fees and charges incurred.

If you cancel within three (3) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, you will be entitled to a refund of your activation fee, if any. If you exercise this option, you may be required to return devices and associated accessories purchased in connection with your Wireless Service Agreement.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (2, Interesting)

mosherkl (1251628) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066219)

It usually works that if you cancel within the 30 days, you return the equipment and you don't need to pay the ETF. However, if you decide you want to keep the equipment, you'll probably be required to pay the ETF even though you're within the 30 days.

Probably the same with the 3 day thing (though the wording is rather ambiguous). If you decide not to receive a refund of the activation fee, as well as pay the ETF, you can probably still keep the hardware.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (1)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066623)

Well, maybe you should check the current Terms of Service [att.com] :

30-DAY CANCELLATION PERIOD/TERMINATION You may terminate this Agreement within thirty (30) days after activating service without paying an Early Termination Fee. You will pay for service fees and charges incurred through the termination date, but AT&T will refund your activation fee, if any, if you terminate within three (3) days of activating the service. Also, you may have to return any handsets and accessories purchased with this Agreement. If you terminate after the 30th day but before expiration of the Agreement's Service Commitment, you will pay AT&T an Early Termination Fee for each wireless telephone number associated with the service.

Seems clear to me. You go through with the contract or you pay the Early Termination Fee or you "may have to" return the phone - period.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (2, Informative)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066941)

It's better than I thought...current Terms of Service: ((4) iPHONE TERMS AND CONDITIONS): Terms Applicable to AT&T Nation/FamilyTalkî GSM Plans: Credit approval required. Subscriber must live and have a mailing address within AT&T's owned network coverage area. An early termination fee applies if service is terminated before the end of the contract term. The fee will begin at $175 per device and decrease by $5 each month for the term of the agreement. If phone is returned within 3 days, activation fee will be refunded. If phone is returned within 14 days in like-new condition with all components, early termination fee will be waived. Service may be cancelled after 14 days but within 30 days and early termination fee will be waived, but equipment may not be returned. All other charges apply. Some dealers impose additional fees. So they explicitly say that you can cancel the service between 14 and 30 days, avoid the early termination fee, but don't have to return the iPhone.

So, we can buy the iPhone outright for $599/$699 or we can get a contract and cancel it after 14 days (but before 30 days) and pay a net of $235/$335.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (5, Informative)

xeena (979426) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065869)

You would need to pay for 1 month of your contract ($70 is the cheapest?), if you cancel before 30 days you have to return the phone. Also, there has been no confirmation of the early termination fee being $175 for the iPhone. (if it were to be $175 you would still end up getting the phone a bit cheaper than going with the no commitment option).

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066013)

The contract reads: You may cancel your service, for any reason and without incurring the Early Termination Fee, within thirty (30) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, PROVIDED, however, that if you cancel service you will remain responsible for any service fees and charges incurred. If you cancel within three (3) days of signing your Wireless Service Agreement, you will be entitled to a refund of your activation fee, if any. If you exercise this option, you may be required to return devices and associated accessories purchased in connection with your Wireless Service Agreement.

Now, one could argue whether the last sentence applies to the 3 days or the 30 days. To me it looks like it only applies to the 3 day period. However, since we're trying to get the iPhone for as cheap as possible, and therefore we really don't want to argue it in court, we can use the 30 days, pay for phone service for a month--cheapest plan of course (after all, you are going to pay SOMEONE for phone service so why not AT&T for the first month?) -- then cancel the service.

As an aside, the $175 early termination fee for ALL contracts actually highlights that the fee has nothing to do with the supposed "charge to recover the cost of subsidizing the hardware". If it did then the fee would be tied to the cost of the hardware....but that's a soapbox for another time...

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (2, Informative)

isepic (117674) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066215)

The 3 day "trial" is a full 100% refund. The 30 day "trial" is the same thing, but you don't get your activation fee refunded ($36) (for days between day 4 and day 30). Given this, after 30 days, you have to pay (1) 1 months worth of service (2) $36 activation fee (3) 199/299 for the phone, and (4) termination fee of 175 - and quite possibly a pro rated second month of usage (if any).

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066841)

that is incorrect. You have to be eligible for the 199 price. if you are not, its 399 + 175 early termination fee.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066855)

So I buy a phone outright for $599/$699, or I buy a phone for $199/$299 with a 2 year plan ($36 activation fee) then cancel the contract immediately for $175...net cost $410/$510. Hmmmm.....

They're tricking you into thinking you're winning... and you fell for it.

Re:This is a response to iPhone unlocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24067931)

you have to give the iphone back if you cancel, which would be dumb if you did, In the new contract for iphone it states that you must return the iphone if you cancel contract and they will replace you with another $200 phone

Still locked? (4, Insightful)

MacDork (560499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065747)

Fail

Re:Still locked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065895)

Fail

Damn straight!

You folks who want this phone need to keep your money and force AT&T and Apple lower their prices. This is just more gouging.

And before someone posts "well it costs Apple so much and AT&T so much so they have to..." as a justification, and it's only a rationalization, just keep in mind that unless you have personal access to their numbers, they can tell you anything they want as to their "cost".

Is this the "Tax" price in CA? (2, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065815)

As the ETF is probably only $150-200 or so, just get a phone for $200 and when you decide you hate AT&T, just break the contract.

What I worry about is this is the "tax price", so that in CA (and other states), you may pay $200, but you are paying tax on a $600 phone, which would up the cost to the end user an additional $33.

Paging Mr. Hobson... (5, Funny)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065829)

"does it make any sense to pay that much for a phone that is still locked to AT&T's network even if you aren't bound to a contract?"

As Henry Ford once said of his Model T, "the customer can have any color he wants, so long as it's black." But only a cellphone company could call that a "custom color choice" and charge extra for it.

Parent is insightful: not funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065965)

The cell phone industry is the most hated industry in America - beating the airlines, which says something. One of the reasons is their locking of phones along with their shitty customer "service" and contracts.

If it weren't for the fact that I'm part of a family plan (my leash), my cell phone would be gone.

Re:Paging Mr. Hobson... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066347)

As Henry Ford once said of his Model T, "the customer can have any color he wants, so long as it's black."

Ever wonder why he said that? The reason was the fastest-drying paint Ford could find was black, so that allowed the assembly line to run faster.

Re:Paging Mr. Hobson... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066839)

No, Apple did that as well, with laptops. As I remember, it was called "good business sense" (on /.) when they did it.

Bad PR and no skillz (2, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065861)

The price quoted probably is a fair price. They are subsidising it. But that is priced out of the U.S. market, it is even at the high end of the Japanese market.

That price is what the Apple should sell the phone for to other phone companies, and they will then be able to provide service and subsidize some portion of it. The only value this announcement has is to tell people how much the subsidy was. The other poster has it right, Fail.

Re:Bad PR and no skillz (2, Insightful)

hkmarks (1080097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066177)

It's a comparable price with a high-end Blackberry, Treo, or HTC, and those sell just fine in the US market. It's not riding coach, but it's not riding first class either. Expensive... but it's a smart phone, not a plain cell.

I don't use my cell much -- I could easily get away with 50 minutes a month. I don't text much. I don't need much data transfer since I'm usually have wi-fi access. But I love a PDA. Sticking the two together but letting me stay on a pay-as-you-go plan would be perfect -- it'd save a light user like me about a grand over 2 years ($70*12*2 + 199 vs. $15*12*2 + $599). They'd get one more hardware sale out of it. Win/Win.

Too bad Rogers isn't doing the same... yet. (Actually, I'm holding out for Android or the next OpenMoko... but still.)

Re:Bad PR and no skillz (2, Interesting)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066315)

If only I had mod points.
The only thing that makes sense is for Apple, to sell in-store, the unlocked model. AT&T selling it(and locking it) just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The phone is made under agreement to Apple. It should be supported by Apple(with full Apple care please) for use on any network. Period.

What it also tells us is that AT&T is hurting for publicity. Everyone knows it's an Apple iPhone, not an AT&T iPhone. I want AT&T to shut up about "iphones" they are providing GSM service, I want them to talk about gsm devices. What device I use on their network(provided it respects the GSM standard, is NONE of their business, and the public should not be letting them charge extra for certain devices.

Looks to be more interesting here (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065867)

In the UK, it looks like O2 will offer the iPhone on pay-as-you-go (that is, without contract), but for £199-ish (~$399), or, at the outside, £299 (~$599). The first is looking more likely. Nothing's been confirmed yet, though.

Re:Looks to be more interesting here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065949)

If you think O2 is likely going to sell the PAYG iPhone for the same price as an iPod Touch, you're either very optimistic or very naive.

Re:Looks to be more interesting here (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066935)

Not my words. Blame Macworld, that ever-reliable fountain of information (yeah, right).

Still being tied to AT&T??? (0, Redundant)

mattMad (1271832) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065939)

I think what people really want is an iPhone that can be used with any GSM carrier. For that, it would be worth paying more - but not for another way of still being tied to AT&T...

$80 to cancel in Oz (3, Interesting)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065959)

Australians will enjoy the ability to buy a pre-paid iPhone and unlock it to work on any network for $80.

They have allowed unlocking because the laws here don't allow you to lock a phone to a given provider without a reasonable option.

Re:$80 to cancel in Oz (3, Informative)

Corporate Drone (316880) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066375)

Australians will enjoy the ability to buy a pre-paid iPhone and unlock it to work on any network for $80.

Yes, but you'll be paying 800 $Aus (just for the phone) to do so, won't you?

at $880 (which is about $840 USD), that's a heck of a difference from the AT&T price!

Canadians (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065977)

All we need now are for some Canadians to reiterate how shafted they feel by their only GSM provider :)

Re:Canadians (1)

Tiberius_Fel (770739) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066087)

Not feel. Are.

Re:Canadians (3, Informative)

loconet (415875) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066251)

Yup.

Here is Roger's Early Cancellation Fee for the IPhone:

"The ECF is the greater of (ii) $100 or (iii) $20 per month remaining in the service agreement, to a maximum of $400 (plus applicable taxes), and applies on each line in the plan that is terminated."

So waiting a month and then canceling will cost you $700 vs $175 with AT&T

Re:Canadians (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066475)

So waiting a month and then canceling will cost you $700 vs $175 with AT&T

If that is indeed the case, then I would be tempted to buy the iPhone elsewhere unlocked and just limit my data usage to wi-fi hotspots. I would be curious to see when the iPhone 3G comes out what ratio of people are using unlocked iPhones to Rogers purchased iPhones in Canada. Sure there is Fido, but that is Rogers by another name. Maybe the British were thinking of the Canadians when they coined the verb roger [everything2.com] .

Re:Canadians (1)

wasteofspace77 (1176599) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067327)

Here is Roger's Early Cancellation Fee for the IPhone: "The ECF is the greater of (ii) $100 or (iii) $20 per month remaining in the service agreement, to a maximum of $400 (plus applicable taxes), and applies on each line in the plan that is terminated." So waiting a month and then canceling will cost you $700 vs $175 with AT&T

I think that it will be a max of $400, not $700. The line you quote caps the max ECF at $400.

What I find more appalling is that it is a 3 year contract. That is a long time to be tied to one carrier.

Re:Canadians (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066487)

All we need now are for some Canadians to reiterate how shafted they feel by their only GSM provider :)

Not just the monopoly GSM provider, but the CDMA providers as well.

Canada is in the dark ages when it comes to cell phones & service. The CEO of RIM (maker of the blackberry, a Canadian company) has said many times that the ridiculous prices of Canadian cell phone companies are impeding progress.

Canada has the highest prices in the western world when it comes to cell phones & service. As a result, just over half of the population has a cell phone. Compare with most of Europe when almost everyone has a cell phone.

The previous Liberal government fucked up big time when they allowed two big mergers (BC Tel with Telus, and Rogers with Fido), reducing the number of large providers from 5 to 3. Not surprisingly, prices went up quite a bit post-merger.

Canadian cell phone companies will whine and claim their costs are higher because Canada is such a large country with a small population. While that is true, the vast majority of the Canadian land mass has no cell phone service. The carriers are not incurring costs to provide service to areas of low population, they only provide service to cities & towns with sufficient population. As an example, Rogers (the only GSM carrier) provides service to about 2% of the land area of the province of Saskatchewan.

Canada's laws prohibit a foreign firm from operating a cell phone network. It's time to revisit this.

Why buy an iPhone (2, Insightful)

desertrat_it (650209) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065991)

When an OpenMoko is cheaper and has better hardware specifications?

Re:Why buy an iPhone (3, Insightful)

nuggetman (242645) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066077)

Because there's something to be said for having walk-in support at the Apple store, the Apple user interface, access to the app/music store... shall I go on? People buying an iPhone likely aren't buying it based on specs.

Re:Why buy an iPhone (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066103)

Because the software is shit? No one can even make the example videos of it look like its decent. I expect my phone not to lag, have you seen OpenMoko in use? Its a joke.

I know I'm going to be modded as a flame, but seriously, no one who wants a phone to USE will want OpenMoko. It looks cool as hell from a developer/hacker point of view, one of the guys I work with ( who loves his windows mobile phone, heh ) intends to order one to play with, but he just replaced his old phone with another Windows Mobile phone so he had one that actually worked along side the OM phone he hacks around on.

But ... no one who just wants a usable phone wants to deal with an OS thats ... pre-alpha at the very best, and will come with absolutely 0 support from your carrier.

The people who will buy an OpenMoko device are developers, not users. The people who buy an iPhone are users who don't want to be developers to know how to use their phone. They just want a phone thats intuitive and works.

These two devices do not in any way target the same market at this point in time.

Re:Why buy an iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066421)

They just want a phone thats intuitive and works only with AT&T.

Fixed it for you.

Re:Why buy an iPhone (2, Informative)

gruntled (107194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066447)

Except, in my opinion, it doesn't work. Or, to be more precise as a pocket computer, it's amazing. As a phone, however, it's craptacular. Phone calls on it are unbelievably bad. Like Eighties analog cell coverage in the mid-West bad. It's inexcusable.

Must be you (2, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066817)

My iPhone sounds just as good as a land line.

Re:Why buy an iPhone (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066997)

This always seems to be the case with "gadget phones". They can do all these wiz bang things but absolutely fall flat when it comes to radio performance and voice quality. Whats the point of buying a phone that you can't use as... well...a phone. Having to walk around hunting for a signal and then sounding like you are shouting from the bottom of a sewer to the other caller was expected in the 1990s, not now.

Oh, and no I am not going to let you use my "low tech" phone because your koolaid phone is a brick. Besides it might be embarrassing in front of your friends if you are caught using my ugly and unhip circa-2004 Toshiba 1X CDMA phone.

Which is why they improved the phone (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067653)

Personally I thought the current iPhone phone quality, has been OK. But in the next model they did improve the speakers, and possibly also the mic.

Re:Why buy an iPhone (4, Informative)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066107)

Are the hardware specifications of a cell phone the only relevant thing? Absolutely not. Hardware defines the device's potential, but the device's quality is determined in a large part by its software. And Openmoko Freerunner's software stack is pretty sucky right now.

Right now Freerunner's battery life is something like 5 hours [openmoko.org] , and there are many other issues [slashdot.org] .

A great example of why all but a handful of people may prefer an iPhone to a Freerunner is this month's discussion of filesystem images [openmoko.org] on the mailing list. Apparently there's an FSO image ("make and receive calls. That's about it."), an ASU image ("qtopia apps don't start if I have the SIM in the phone"), a GTK image ("more or less what the phone came preloaded with"), a ScaredyCat image ("mostly works"). This should make it pretty clear that a Freerunner is not a consumer-ready device and is definitely NOT an iPhone equivalent.

A Freerunner should only be purchased by those who are fully prepared to deal with it as a hobby rather than as a consumer-ready phone/PDA. Posts like yours are misleading and do a disservice both to the consumer and to the Openmoko project.

Re:Why buy an iPhone (1)

desertrat_it (650209) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066213)

so, let me get this straight... asking a question is "misleading and do(es) a disservice to the consumer". Please explain how this works?

Re:Why buy an iPhone (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066273)

If you meant your question sincerely, then I apologize for overreacting.

I read your question as being similar to those commercials that ask a rhetorical question designed to mislead the customer, such as: "What have you got to lose???!??" Realistically, the answer is always "money, time, and effort", and those who ask this question know that. They do not sincerely want to know the answer to the question -- they want to put the consumer in a certain mindset.

If you were unaware of the sad software situation of the Freerunner, then I apologize. Now you know. :-) Cheers.

Re:Why buy an iPhone (1)

desertrat_it (650209) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066479)

It was an open question (as it were!). I have not had my hands on one, have not read any reviews of the final product, and don't know anyone who has one. For me, the deciding issue on anything I buy is the licence. What meets my needs is open standards, non-proprietary hardware, and free software. For me, the deciding issue with the OpenMoko is the fact that *I* will own the device, *I* can replace defective components, and that there will be software hackers out there who will provide the extra functionality that *I* will find useful. I do not like proprietary software or closed hardware, but that is a personal thing for me: I don't tell people they are dumb for liking Apple or Microsoft. I may ask them some questions to clarify why they like it, but I accept that everyone has different things that float their boats and won't flame people (or call them "fanbois") for liking Apple or MS products. So there you go :)

No lock for no-contract phones (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066007)

Once you are out of contract, they are required by law to unlock your phone for use on any carrier, so selling a no-contract phone thats locked doesn't make a whole lot of sense, as they'd just have to provide an unlock code at your request anyway. I guess they'll probably do it just to make people who don't know any better use AT&T anyway.

Either way, the price makes buying an unlocked phone absolutely retarded. You pay the $199/$299 and pay the $175 contract early termination fee and save yourself some money. After paying the termination fee, they have to unlock your phone so you can take it where ever you want, sans visual voicemail of course.

Re:No lock for no-contract phones (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066989)

Once you are out of contract, they are required by law to unlock your phone for use on any carrier

I'm sorry, what law is this?

Re:No lock for no-contract phones (3, Funny)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067097)

Once you are out of contract, they are required by law to unlock your phone for use on any carrier

I'm sorry, what law is this?

/. law; similar to the /. girlfriend and laws of economics; otherwise known as "what color is the sky in your world, anyway?"

Re:No lock for no-contract phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24067317)

Incorrect.

There is no law requiring them to unlock your phone.

iPhone- future of computing or just a phone (2, Insightful)

AdmNaismith (937672) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066015)

Here in the States, you are always locked into a provider, even if the phone is popular enough to be sold be more by than one provider. If the iPhone is supposed to be the future of computing in general, I don't know why it's only being sold as a phone. Or is it really only best used as a phone with a few other features? With the software base so limited, it's hard to tell. I would think Apple would sell these outright to people who want a portable computer (and then force you into AT&Ts maw if you still wanted to poen up the phone function). Palm was brilliant to open development to all comers, but Jobs' need for control is crippling an otherwise highly advanced piece of electronics.

Re:iPhone- future of computing or just a phone (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066115)

Here in the States, you are always locked into a provider, even if the phone is popular enough to be sold be more by than one provider.

No, you can buy a phone directly from a manufacturer without it being locked to a carrier. I purchased my unlocked Z6 from the on-line Motorola store. Of course nobody subsidized me for $175, either, so I paid full price for it. But I now have a phone that I can actually use if I travel abroad and buy a local SIM.

Re:iPhone- future of computing or just a phone (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066401)

The iPhone is certainly not a general computing device. I love my iPhone, and I actually enjoy the iPhone SDK, but ... it will never replace my laptop when I want to get something done.

Typing on any phone sucks. Some suck less, but they all suck, even the ones with the keyboards that cover the full size of the phone ( HTC Tilt as an example ).

The iPhone does some tasks great. Its a good 'phone' imo. Its obviously a great iPod, some would argue that there are better portable audio players, but I've never used a non-iPod player so my opinion is obviously biased. Its not as good as my old Palm V or Windows Mobile devices for taking notes or managing tasks by a long shot, but it does the job well enough.

With the SDK release, it'll have a few cool/good apps for it come out soon, but its not a PC and never will be.

As far as Palm being great because of open development, this is a double edge sword. Do you know how many absolutely crappy palm apps exist? I'd guess about 10 crappy apps exist for every half way decent app. The advantage to making it 'harder' to developer for the iPhone is that in itself will weed out many of the crappy apps written by people who wont put much effort into it.

With Job's evil grip over apps with the AppStore and digital sigs, some types of malicious apps can be stopped as well.

The only apps that may not be released on the iPhone are ones with a GPLv3 or like license due to the retarded restrictions in it that are supposed to help support my 'freedom' to do what I want with the software, but ARE restrictions to what I can do with it. Any GPLv2 or BSD or (insert any of the thousand other sane distribution licenses here) will be available, if not by the original authors, by someone else who is part of the SDK program, someone will probably make a service for OSS developers who don't have the money to blow on the iphone dev program.

Even GPLv3 apps aren't ruled out. The original authors can do whatever they want with the software, they are not under the restrictions of the distribution license so they CAN release an iPhone version should they choose to, OR, they can grant someone else the right to do so.

BUT ... in all of these, 99% of the apps out there, don't belong on the iPhone. Its a phone/entertainment device, with some basic computing abilities, nothing more.

Re:iPhone- future of computing or just a phone (2, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067889)

Palm was brilliant to open development to all comers, but Jobs' need for control is crippling an otherwise highly advanced piece of electronics.

Hey, that's paraphrasing me: Gates was brilliant to open development to all comers, but Jobs' need for control is crippling an otherwise highly advanced piece of electronics.

No-contract iPhone (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066039)

but this will mark the first time consumers in the United States are able to buy an iPhone without being tied down to a two-year contract

Um.. I've been using pre-paid on my iPhone for over 6 months.

Re:No-contract iPhone (1)

devjj (956776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066255)

You either have bad credit or used the all-9's trick when you activated it. There was no publicized, formally sanctioned means for going prepaid with the original iPhone. I personally went the path of entering all 9's for my SSN, and I won't be buying an iPhone 3G. I wanted a significantly better iPhone; not this.

New 3G Data plan is $30/month (4, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066043)

Just FYI... the new data plan with AT&T is $30/month while the old plan (Edge) was only $20/month

SO with the new phone you're already paying $120/year more than previous... which means people are actually paying more money over the 2 year period... $199 + $240 (2 year contract) = $459

Re:New 3G Data plan is $30/month (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066639)

199 + 240 = 439

Re:New 3G Data plan is $30/month (3, Insightful)

philhyde (986376) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066657)

Just FYI... the new data plan with AT&T is $30/month while the old plan (Edge) was only $20/month

...and what's wrong with a 3G data plan costing more than a 2G data plan? I personally don't have an issue with paying more $ for a faster connection.

Re:New 3G Data plan is $30/month (3, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067271)

What's wrong is that it's simply too expensive. I'd like to get an iPhone 3G but there's no way I'm going to pay $70/month for a telephone. $60 was right on my threshold for buying, and $70 is just too much. It may be necessary, reasonable, or whatever, but from my perspective as the customer it's just too much money.

The cell phone situation in the US sucks pretty hard right now for a medium-light user. There's essentially no way to spend less than $45/month (including taxes) on a cell phone, even though I use perhaps 1/5th of my plan. Prepaid might save me a little money, but they don't get to be really sensible until you're calling much less than I am each month.

You aren't paying $70/month for a phone (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067613)

You are paying $70/month for a portable communications device with full internet access, just about anywhere you go.

There could be many people who do not care or need internet access. But I would think most Slashdot readers would not be among them.

And no SMS, but FAN now applies (1)

Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066787)

In addition to the added $10/month for the 3G plan, the new iPhone plans do not include any SMS. For $5/month you can get the 200 message plan that was included in the original iPhone data plan.

Although there has been a lot of talk that corporate/educational discounts will be available on iPhone plans for the 3G. So that could be a bonus, or in some cases could end up making the differences a wash.

The summary is completely wrong. (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066119)

The iphone was always available WITHOUT the 2 year contract from apple. I certainly never paid a 2 year contract when I bought my phone 9 months ago. Some people were able to activate w/ att without a contract is their credit was bad. Now, with the new plan, they're going to allow a subsidized version with a contract.

Re:The summary is completely wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066193)

An incorrect summary on Slashdot??

Well spank me sideways and call me Shirley!

Re:The summary is completely wrong. (2, Insightful)

devjj (956776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066287)

FWIW, the iPhone box clearly states a 2-year agreement is required, as did/does the web site. One can be forgiven for not knowing about the prepaid option.

Re:The summary is completely wrong. (1)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067955)

The box I keep my Slashdot Karma in says any readers of my posts have to give me $10, by contract, every month for the next two years.

No thanks (2, Insightful)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066139)

Just ordered my FreeRunner. Yes, it's $400, and yes it doesn't work perfectly yet but it's a big step up from what I have now (no phone at all) and the approx $10/month I will make in calls will be just fine with T-Mobile's PAYG vs being locked into yet another telco service contract.

Huh? (2, Interesting)

kingcool1432 (993113) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066289)

Wouldn't it make more sense to get the phone for $199 and pay them $200 for the contract termination fee?

Is this a joke? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066397)

Because I seem to hear lots of people laughing. Or are they crying? Hard to tell...

No pay as you go by my reading (3, Insightful)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066403)

The phone probably would still be locked for use only on AT&T's network, said Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg. But buyers could choose a pay-as-you-go plan for voice service.

AT&T has explicitly said that even without a contract you still have a locked phone and the same choices for plans [yahoo.com] (i.e. minimum $70 a month +taxes and fees for voice/data, with no sms).

That doesn't sound like pay-as-you-go is allowed to me. Which is a shame, because if it was I might actually be interested. A $500 phone, $30 a month for data, and a hundred bucks for a year worth of minutes and SMSes is a better deal for me than a $200 phone plus $75+taxes+fees every month for more minutes than I use in a year.
AT&T needs to let people who don't use their phone as a phone that much buy what they want.

Little Known Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24067045)

If you purchase the $199 original iPhone then fail the credit check when signing up for service (whether for real or by entering a bogus SSN) you will be offered a prepaid service (goPhone) option. This may or may not be the case with the new one, but I personally can vouch that this was still the case 6 months ago when I signed up.

rediculous (2, Insightful)

jessica89 (1319331) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067141)

So even if you fork out the full price for an unlocked iPhone you can still only use it on AT&T anyways? Absurd! With all of iPhone/Apple/AT&T restrictions it's amazing that people are still flocking in masses to buy the gadget. SHEEP!

Yes it makes sense (1)

Amamdouh (1130747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067261)

Yes it makes sense to buy the phone because you will get it unlocked and shipped to other countries that do not have an IPhone provider. Whether it makes sense for an enduser consumer is a different story.

first time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24067491)

Well, actually, AT&T did offer the iPhone without a contract the first time around--it was called taking it home and activating it on a Go plan, aka prepaid. They didn't advertise this because that was unlocking heaven, but they've closed that option off this time.

Not really (1)

^_^x (178540) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067579)

If you're going to use it with them anyway, I think paying full price would only make sense if you got the phone fully unlocked that way and COULDN'T just plug it into your computer and run an app to hack it wide open.

fiasco! (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067883)

AT&T has soured the milk. We thought we were getting a cheaper iPhone but the fed are too high. As a current iPhone user the financial incentive is to keep the current phone. Even this no-contract deal is more expensive than breaking a contract.

Too much (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068173)

"The question still remains, does it make any sense to pay that much for a phone that is still locked to AT&T's network even if you aren't bound to a contract?"

Even a penny would be too much to pay for a locked phone.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>