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7/1/2008
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AT&T Finalizes iPhone 3G Pricing Plans

Customers will have to pay more to use Apple's latest smartphone -- including an extra fee for text messaging.

AT&T finalized the voice and data bundles for the iPhone 3G on Tuesday, and, as expected, customers will have to pay more to use Apple's new handset.

The iPhone 3G will be available at 8 a.m. July 11, and eligible customers will be able to get the 8-GB model for $199 and the 16-GB model for $299. AT&T said these prices require a two-year contract and are available to new AT&T customers, current subscribers eligible for an upgrade, and existing iPhone users who purchased before July 11.

Current AT&T subscribers who want to buy the device but aren't eligible for an upgrade will have to pay $399 and $499 for the different models. These users will have to get a new two-year service contract as well.

As previously announced, iPhone 3G users will have to sign up for a $30 unlimited data plan, compared with $20 under the original iPhone's plan. Business users wanting to connect to Exchange servers for e-mail and calendar options will have to pay $45 a month.

The cheapest voice and data bundle starts at $69.99 for 450 anytime minutes and 5,000 night and weekend minutes. For $20 more, users get 900 daytime minutes with unlimited night and weekend minutes.

The $109.99 plan includes 1,350 anytime minutes with nights and weekends free, and an unlimited talk plan is priced at $129 a month.

Unlike the original iPhone, text messaging will not be included in the unlimited data plan. Customers can sign up for a $20-a-month unlimited text plan, a $15 plan for 1,500 messages, or a $5 plan for 200 messages.

At an unannounced time after the launch, the handsets will be available without a contract for $599 and $699 for the two models. These unsubsidized prices are close to what analysts predicted AT&T was paying per handset.

U.S. consumers are getting a relative bargain compared with their neighbors in Canada. Rogers Wireless recently announced its iPhone 3G pricing options; those require a three-year contract, and the highest data plan tops out at 2 GB a month.

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