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  • How Much That iPhone 4 Will REALLY Cost


    The price of a 16GB iPhone 4 is roughly the same as comparable HTC Incredible, Evo 4G and Nexus One phones. There can be a significant difference in the how much you pay over the life of your contract - what's called Total Cost of Ownership or TCO - for these devices, however, depending on the data plan you use. ZDNet's Apple Core blog pointed out a graphic that the folks at Billshrink worked up to help customers compare the how much each phone will cost in the long run. Bottom line: the 16GB iPhone with the stingier data plan had the cheapest TCO of all phones surveyed, while upgrading to the 2GB data plan made the same phone more expensive than all the other phones with unlimited plans, except for the Incredible.

    The sort of obvious problem with this is that it's not a direct comparison: paying $2,959 for an AT&T iPhone 4 over two years with a 2GB cap can't compare to the Sprint Evo 4G's TCO of $2,839 with unlimited data. I'm grandfathered in (for now) to the unlimited plan I had on my iPhone 3G, and I'm still paying $30/month for unlimited data on my 32GB iPhone 4. So, if I just pile the additional costs onto the number BillShrink came up with, my TCO swells to $3,179 over 2 years. Ow.

    The chart does also do a pretty good job of showing the features of the different phones, and for people that aren't heavy data users the iPhone 4 actually does come out as a good choice, in contradiction to all the hype about its high costs. But that's the kicker: you have to watch your data usage. A lot of overage charges would balloon the cost up into the Verizon/Incredible range.

    modified image from Billshrink.com
    This article was originally published in forum thread: How Much That iPhone 4 Will REALLY Cost started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. domthebigbomb's Avatar
      domthebigbomb -
      i want an iphone 4!!!
    1. tcr6v1's Avatar
      tcr6v1 -
      money i only with i had :/ and "Look At Me"
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      With the reception problem, AT&T is getting a good deal
    1. eortizr's Avatar
      eortizr -
      eee.. At&t does not have unlimited data anymore... so for new AT&T customers the price of the iPhone 4 will be a lot more than any other carrier.... thats why facetime is restricted for wi-fi only... is not a performance issue is cuz Apple new AT&T was going to eliminate unlimited data. I now some people may not use 2GB a month but I know a lot of people that will... my wife and I both are over 3GB a month each.
    1. sunnywala's Avatar
      sunnywala -
      WOW, I have never seen the cost totaled up like that. I have a buddy that uses 7GB+ a month. But its his primary computer and internet connection!
    1. khiphone3g's Avatar
      khiphone3g -
      I am on AT&T but I can say Sprint's Everything Data 450 plan kicks *** though. On top of 450 minutes to call land lines, unlimited texts, unlimited data, you get unlimited calls to ANY MOBILE PHONES (not just Sprint phones) in the US, Night & Weekend from 7PM-7AM, MobiTV, TeleNav Turn-by-Turn Navigation. All of that for $69.99. If you have the Evo, it is $10 Extra.
    1. mactwisted's Avatar
      mactwisted -
      so, why did you have to break it down like that for me? um thinkin, is there a better way for me to spend 3K over two years. nah, gotta have my toys...
    1. baycreeker's Avatar
      baycreeker -
      Quote Originally Posted by eortizr View Post
      eee.. At&t does not have unlimited data anymore... so for new AT&T customers the price of the iPhone 4 will be a lot more than any other carrier.... thats why facetime is restricted for wi-fi only... is not a performance issue is cuz Apple new AT&T was going to eliminate unlimited data. I now some people may not use 2GB a month but I know a lot of people that will... my wife and I both are over 3GB a month each.
      The average customer does not use more than the 2GB cap, and so as a result, will pay less than people on other carriers because they're not offering smartphone dataplans less than $29.99.
    1. chris102192's Avatar
      chris102192 -
      I think you guys should make a separate post for people who dont even keep the same iPhone for 24 months!
      I remember when you guys first did one of these for like the first iPhone....
      Kinda pointless for those who upgrade every year.
    1. Deadfolx's Avatar
      Deadfolx -
      i got the 32gb.... and in 2 years my TCO is only gonna b 2237. :P
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      For what it's worth, new ATT customers are still able to sign the unlimited data package. At least as of yesterday.
    1. Raketemensch's Avatar
      Raketemensch -
      This doesn't take resale value into account, either. You can pay $200 for a phone with a 2-year contract, then unlock it and sell it for $250-300 when the contract is up...

      I'm on my 3rd iPhone, and I've made money on them every time.
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Raketemensch View Post
      This doesn't take resale value into account, either. You can pay $200 for a phone with a 2-year contract, then unlock it and sell it for $250-300 when the contract is up...

      I'm on my 3rd iPhone, and I've made money on them every time.
      This is a good point also. Every iPhone I get after the year I can sale and pay off the next iPhone. Sometimes with money left over.
    1. iHarryDo's Avatar
      iHarryDo -
      God AT&T & Apple are so lucky no one can resist buying the iPhone.
    1. Bluprint's Avatar
      Bluprint -
      Are you serious. The Sprint 450 minutes everything plan is magical. Other than landline-calls the whole package is unlimited :P
    1. robertr1's Avatar
      robertr1 -
      Well I'm grandfathered in on the unlimited plan but even if I was on the 2 gig plan I'm pretty sure I couldn't hit it. I only hit about 500 mb last month using Internet evry day and tethering fairly often to m laptop for YouTube and hulu. But still wow almost 3 grand over 2 years is kinda rediclous if you think about it. But... I still want that iPhone 4.
    1. dishsnthings's Avatar
      dishsnthings -
      causes some of these numbers to not apply to some people. I have a 3 family set up, all Iphones. Only $9.99 for the second and third Iphone and all 3 are grandfathered into unlimited data. So MY phone may well cost that, but my spouse and mother no where near that.
    1. eortizr's Avatar
      eortizr -
      Quote Originally Posted by baycreeker View Post
      The average customer does not use more than the 2GB cap, and so as a result, will pay less than people on other carriers because they're not offering smartphone dataplans less than $29.99.
      I will love that AT&T shows the data to support that statement....

      Even using the calculator on their website... you easily hit the 2GB mark by only streaming music for 2.5 hours a day., add some youtube videos and some web browsing and your into the 3GB... Thats why you will never see facetime over 3G... it will not happen, Thats why the youtube app in the iphone still loading the low res version of the videos, and its a way for apple to force people to buy music and use the iPod instead of streaming. We will see the data usage for all the people that bought the i4 and start loading 'HD' Videos to youtube. Also this is another way for At&t to kill apps like Google voice and Skype..
    1. 12jmartinez's Avatar
      12jmartinez -
      first? woohoo!!!
      o wait a minute im not
      ha that evo is pretty nice
    1. squassss's Avatar
      squassss -
      Why do people cry about the data cap when it was clearly shown that most customers don't come near the cap. Even then it's like 5 bucks for each additional gig. Hmmm the EVO has less resolution on a larger TFT screen... pass.