AT&T raises iPhone 3GS price...to 99 cents

In a curious and unexplained move, the telecommunications giant modestly increases the price of its low-end iPhone. That's probably not going to stop the demand.

The iPhone 3GS is no longer free at AT&T. Apple

Better raid the piggy bank, because AT&T just raised the price of its low-end iPhone 3GS to 99 cents.

The iPhone 3GS was free with a two-year contract, but MacRumors spotted the modest price increase today.

It's a curious move by AT&T, which gets little payoff for the price increase, yet loses the ability to tout offering a free iPhone. With a third-quarter profit of $3.6 billion, AT&T certainly doesn't need the extra pocket change that comes with the increase.

Apple still offers the phone for free on its Web site, as does Best Buy. It's a reversal of the usual trend of phones going down in price, even if the increase is nearly negligible.

Of course, the increase of 99 cents isn't going to change anyone's mind about buying the phone. For the past few months, the iPhone 3GS sold perfectly well for $49 with a two-year contract. In fact, it's what has allowed AT&T to continue to hold a significant lead when it comes to iPhone users even with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel carrying the newer iPhones, and has proven to be a steady driver of growth.

"IPhone 3GS is still available at an incredibly low price and we're confident consumers will agree that this remains one of the best deals for a leading smartphone," said an AT&T spokesman.

He declined to explain why the company raised the price.

Tags:
Apple
Mobile
AT&T
About the author

Roger Cheng is the executive editor in charge of breaking news for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. He's a devoted Trojan alum and Los Angeles Lakers fan.

 

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