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Reports face off over validity of $99 Wal-Mart iPhone rumor

There are conflicting reports Monday over whether there is any truth to a rumor that Wal-Mart later this month will begin offering a 4GB iPhone to its customers for a new low price of $99.

BGR cited unfamiliar sources last week as saying there was a possibility that Apple and AT&T would supply the discount chain with a special run 4GB iPhone that it could sell alongside two year contracts for $99 — half the price of today's 8GB model sold under the same carrier agreement.

The rumor ties into a more certain arrangement by which Wal-Mart has largely been confirmed to begin selling iPhones on December 28th, a move that will reportedly extend to 2,500 of its locations locations and 69 Sam’s Club outlets that use the discount chain's ordering system.

Over the weekend, the San Jose Mercury looked into the matter and was told by one Wal-Mart store manager that Apple had hoped to supply the discount stores with iPhones before Christmas but that they "can't get them that fast to us."

When asked about the prospect of a 4GB version that would sell for $99, most Wal-Mart employees said they either had not heard of such a model or that Wal-Mart would not be carrying that particular model.

However, one cell phone department manager at the Milpitas Wal-Mart informed the Mercury News that she was told by an AT&T representative that her store would be getting a 4 GB model. The manager also said her store was expecting to get some iPhones two days before Christmas.

"They're trying to push it before Christmas because they know how people will want it for Christmas," she said.

Separately, however, MacRumors is reporting that feedback from Wal-Mart staffers currently training to sell the devices leads it to believe the $99 iPhone rumor is "unlikely." Specifically, the report notes that those employees have received documentation on a single 8GB model that will sell for $197, but nothing to suggest a 4GB model will be available.

In yet another report published Monday, Bloomberg reported that Wal-Mart will be selling not one but two models of the iPhone, but did not specify whether the second model would be the high-end 16GB model or the rumored low-end 4GB model.