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AT&T stores now offering early upgrade pricing on iPhone 3G

In the latest move aimed at helping Apple clear inventory of iPhone 3Gs ahead of new models anticipated this spring, AT&T retail stores are now offering some customers early upgrades to the Apple handset at subsidized pricing.

The silent offer, which began this week, is being extended to customers on a case-by-case basis. Typically, the carrier would only offer non-iPhone customers the option to upgrade from their non-Apple phone to an iPhone 3G at the $199 (8GB) and $299 (16GB) subsidized price points after their 24-month contract had run its course.

However, AT&T representatives have confirmed to AppleInsider that as of this week the company is waiving the upgrade clause for customers who are approximately 14 months into their two-year contract.

The waiver isn't bound to strict terms, however, meaning that retail employees are free to grant upgrade pricing for customers who may not be quite as far into their 2-year contract, but that determination is to be made by the employee after accessing and reviewing the customer's account history. Other factors like long-term loyalty to AT&T may play into the decisions.

The move follows similar initiatives by both Apple and AT&T to rid their stores of lingering iPhone 3G inventory. Both companies on Thursday began offering the handset at a "no commit" price of $599 for the 8GB version or $699 for the 16GB model.

AT&T is extending the offer only to existing subscribers and is limiting sales to just one iPhone. Apple, however, is willing to sell the phones to anyone who walks into its stores and isn't limiting the number they can purchase.

Apple is widely expected to unveil new iPhone models at its June Worldwide Developers Conference.