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Monday, June 08, 2009, 02:40 pm PT (05:40 pm ET)

iPhone 3G users to pay $200 premium for early upgrade to iPhone 3G S

During its presentation at WWDC Monday, Apple highlighted new pricing for the iPhone 3G and the upcoming iPhone 3G S model but didn't explain that existing iPhone 3G customers will have to pay a $200 premium to upgrade to the latest model if they want one right away.

AT&T has outlined the following prices for "new and qualifying customers":
  • iPhone 3G S will cost $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB).
  • iPhone 3G will cost $99 (8GB) for new and qualifying customers.
  • The 16 GB iPhone 3G will be available for $149 while supplies last.

However, just as users seeking to buy a replacement phone face a higher cost than they originally paid for their original contract-subsidized phone, buyers seeking to upgrade from an iPhone 3G to the latest model will have to pay hundreds more, as AT&T won't subsidize the cost of another new phone by $400 after less than a year of service. An $18 upgrade fee will also be imposed by the U.S. wireless carrier.

To qualify for the iPhone 3G S at the advertised $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB) price points, existing iPhone 3G users will have to have remained customers for what appears to be a year following their purchase. That means current users who bought their iPhone 3G shortly after its launch last year will have to wait a year from their iPhone 3G purchase date to qualify for the new price.

Otherwise, they'll pay either a $200 premium — $399 for the 16GB iPhone 3G S or $499 for the 32GB iPhone 3G S — as existing subscribers in good standing to perform an "early upgrade," in addition to signing a new two year contract. Alternatively, users can pay a $400 premium — $599 for the 16GB iPhone 3G S or $699 for the 32GB iPhone 3G S — to obtain a new phone with no-contract, no-commit pricing "for those who prefer not having a two-year service agreement," according to AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom.

A third alternative Bloom noted is that users "can simply continue to use their current iPhone 3G, which is eligible for the free upgrade to the new iPhone 3.0 software."

Users can check their eligibly for new or early upgrade pricing at Apple's website at http://buyiphone.apple.com. The Cupertino-based company is taking early orders for the iPhone 3G S, which is scheduled for availability June 19th. A breakdown of the three AT&T customer classes and associated iPhone pricing follows:

iPhone pricing for new and qualifying AT&T customers:
  • iPhone 3G S will cost $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB).
  • iPhone 3G will cost $99 (8GB) and $149 (16GB).
  • The 16 GB iPhone 3G will also be available for $149 while supplies last.

iPhone pricing for early upgrade customers (iPhone 3G owners):
  • 8GB iPhone 3G (black) will cost $299.00.
  • 16GB iPhone 3G S (black or white) will cost $399.00.
  • 32GB iPhone 3G S (black or white) will cost $499.00.

No-contract, no-commit pricing:
  • 8GB iPhone 3G (black) will cost $299.00 and 16GB (black or white) $349 while supplies last.
  • 16GB iPhone 3G S (black or white) will cost $599.00.
  • 32GB iPhone 3G S (black or white) will cost $699.00.