Looks like the monthly cost of using the new iPhone 3G on AT&T will go up a little more than I first thought. Not only is AT&T bumping the iPhone data plan price up from $20 to 30, but they're also going to charge for SMS messages on top of that. The original iPhone data plan bundled in 200 SMS for that $20/month; the new one offers no including messaging.
AT&T currently charges $5/mo for a 200 message add-on plan. Figuring the extra five bones into the new iPhone data plan brings the cost up to $35/mo, or $15 more each month than the old plan. Over the course of a two-year contract - the minimum required to activate iPhone 3G - that's a total of $360 more than the old data plan.
Om Malik got a sit down with AT&T Mobility head honcho Ralph De La Vega yesterday, and Ralph said it straight up:
"The SMS messages are not bundled anymore, and you pay for what you want."
The rest of the interview, BTW, is a worthy read if you're interested in AT&T's view of how iPhone 3G may "change the game" again.
Considering that, best anyone can tell, AT&T is no longer beholden to the crazy revenue sharing arrangement they had with Apple for the first-gen iPhone, it makes sense that the carrier would want to milk all the data fees they can out of iPhone users. Personally, I'm feeling a little more like sticking with my current EDGE-only, unlocked iPhone (running on T-Mobile) might just be okay for the time being. That's not to say that AT&T is charging an unreasonable amount for the iPhone 3G data plan - it's the same monthly fee that smartphone users pay. Rather, I'm thinking that I already pay for cable modem service at home and at my office; if I'm going to pony up $30+ monthly for mobile broadband, I think I'd look into a 3G data card (or a phone with laptop tethering) to get the most flexibility possible for my dollar.
But, hey, I'm cheap like that ...