The $59.99 plan buys you 450 minutes of air time, the $79.99 plan doubles that to 900 minutes, and the $99.99 plan offers 1,350 minutes. AT&T is charging an activation fee of $36. If you think these plans are generous, though, don't get your hopes up.
The news release and AT&T Web site say nothing about additional SMS messages. The assumption here is that you will have to pay above and beyond the base rates if you send or receive more than 200 SMS messages a month. I think I've written enough blogs on this site about teenagers sending upwards of 2,000 SMS messages per month to say that 200 messages is a pretty measly allotment. Since the industry trend the last few months has been to offer unlimited buckets of monthly text messages for $20, it will probably be a good idea for anyone who is a heavy text sender to snap up one of the larger SMS plans. So, the real world lowest cost rate plan is actually closer to $80.
Even so, Jobs always spins things as positively as possible. "We want to make choosing a service plan simple and easy, so every plan includes unlimited data with direct Internet access, along with Visual Voicemail and a host of other goodies," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We think these three plans give customers the flexibility to experience all of iPhone's revolutionary features at affordable and competitive prices."
All iPhone monthly service plans are available for individuals and families and are based on a new two-year service agreement with AT&T.