In a move to preserve the exclusive relationship with Apple and increase iPhone sales, AT&T may be considering changes to iPhone data plan pricing with the introduction of the next generation device. A typical two-year contract would see a price decrease of $10 per month, bringing the cost back to what original iPhone users signed up for in 2007.
Market research has shown that the high monthly cost associated with iPhone contracts may steer some users away from purchasing the device. The minimum cost over the required two-year contract amounts to over $1700 not including text messaging, taxes and fees.
The new $20 data plan could have bandwidth limits, however. The current $30 plan is unlimited. Surveys have shown that 43% of existing iPhone users make over $100,000 annually, and that there are fewer of these consumers remaining to hop on the iPhone bandwagon.
New subscribers to AT&T in the first quarter of this year dropped 5.6% from numbers in Q1 2008. Other options to increase smartphone market share are also on the table, according to reports.AT&T could sell the iPhone hardware with a higher subsidy, or offer a prepaid service contract. Manufacturing costs are decreasing for Apple, so a less expensive device is not out of the question. Dropping the up-front cost of the iPhone to $99 would certainly increase the number of interested consumers.