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The small print stinks: No iPod features without service plan


We seem to have an answer to one of our biggest questions: Can you buy an iPhone and just use the built in WiFi and iPod features? Apparently not. According to the small print on Apple's rate plan webpage, you need to purchase a 2 year wireless service plan. This means your iPhonePod will cost you at least ($60/month * 24 months) + $500/iPhone = $1940 + $36 activation fee + tax. That's a might pricey even if unsurprising (and close to what Scott predicted). Although most media phones like Chocolate and its compatriots seem to have the same constraints, it just seems unnecessary and cruel. TUAW gives Apple's "Minimum new 2-year wireless service plan and activation fee required to activate iPhone features including iPod" a big old hometown raspberry. Boo!

Thanks to Kevin Reylek for tracking down the Activation fee.

Update: I just got off the phone with Mark Siegel of AT&T. Siegel states that all existing iPhone customers must upgrade to a new two year contract. According to Siegel, the clock starts over regardless of whether the customer is a GoPhone customer, on an existing family plan, or so forth. What remains unclear to me is if you can buy the GoPhone and agree to the 2 year commitment for the data only.

Update 2: If you *can* sign up as an existing AT&T GoPhone customer and just get the data plan, the best deal I can work out is (using "Replace a phone on my account with this iPhone"): $500 (iPhone) + $200 (2 1-year $100 cards at 25 cents per minute, includes disposable phone with purchase) + $20/month data * 24 = $1180 for 2 years plus any additional phone time via prepaid cards.

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