iPhone 3G could go as low as $99

iphone3g-3.jpg

According to market analyst Charlie Wolf of Needham Research, Apple could drop the subsidized price of the 8GB iPhone 3G to $99 and still manage a 42.3% profit margin:

The financial expert estimates that the average, unsubsidized price of an iPhone 3G in the summer was $666 and so would give Apple a nearly 50 percent gross margin on each sale as well as a heavy subsidy from AT&T of $450. Both give Apple a large amount of space to adjust its price and could see the phone maker drop the price of an 8GB iPhone to $99 while still supplying a comfortable 42.3 percent margin…

Any such price drops would be potentially devastating to competitors in the market, according to Wolf. The analyst believes that a $100 cut in the iPhone 3G’s advertised price could “double or triple” projected sales and quickly overtake most other smartphones on the market and leave only successful but “niche” smartphone manufacturers like Research in Motion, which produces the BlackBerry.

That certainly makes sense. With Apple’s exclusivity agreement with AT&T locked in for the foreseeable future, it seems like the better way of doubling or tripling iPhone sales — selling iPhones unlocked, or providing them to all major carriers — isn’t going to happen any time soon. But from a mere financial perspective, the iPhone’s success over the past year — especially if you push all their iPhone sales into the quarter in which they sold, as opposed to spacing the subsidy fee over a two year period — has rapidly reinvented Apple as primarily a phone company: the iPhone is generating massive amounts of bank. Apple can afford to drop the price more to get it in more customer’s hands, and I imagine they will. Its happened before, after all.

iPhone could hit $99 [Electronista]

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10 Responses to iPhone 3G could go as low as $99

  1. jonathan_v says:

    @5 – the iphones cost $70 min to operate monthly for voice+data

    dropping the price to $100 makes a lot of sense. apple is getting a cut of the total cost-of-ownership in units — they could conceivably work a deal out with at&t to get a higher return off the monthly charges in exchange for new subscriptions.

    dropping the initial cost of an ipod isn’t necessarily lowering their price or profits – its just shifting income from a one-time sale to a monthly model , not that different from their apple loans system.

    imho , it would be a good move in this economic climate.

  2. gramiq says:

    @#7 — that $30 unlimited fee was a limited-time data-only offer in Canada. You have to sign up for a voice plan and then add the $30 data plan on top of it.

    Going by the Rogers site, the cheapest voice+data plan is $60/mo, and that only gets you 250 weekday minutes (unlimited weekend and evening minutes, but Rogers, well, rogers you in that respect – 9p-7a)

    You also only get 1gb of data, and only 75 text messages a month.

    Plus, don’t forget the $35 activation fee.

    And the $6.95 monthly system access fee (non-government, the website helpfully points out.

    And the 50c monthly E-911 fee.

    And shell out for a minimum $15/mo package if you want something esoteric like, I dunno, Call Display.

    Add that up, and you’re looking at more like $85/mo in Canada — plus tax. Bare minimum. Plus whatever it costs to buy the phone in the first place.

    Don’t forget that you’re locked in for three years instead of two, also!

  3. millionpoems says:

    Because Apple has a long history of dropping prices to own market share? There’s a first time for everything, or, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  4. Clay says:

    $200 at retail for a product of that caliber isn’t a stumbling block to me. Nor would $400 have been, all things considered.

    It’s the $70 a month that keeps me from getting an iPhone. At such time as an unlimited or reasonably limited data plan hits $50 or $40, then we’re talking. Until then, AT&T can offer the device for free and I still won’t be able to afford it.

    I am not of the impression that I am alone in this assessment of the iPhone’s affordability.

  5. coop says:

    And you still won’t be able to use it as a viable PDA because you can’t search for events in the calendar.

    Can’t remember when that meeting was? You’ll have to flick through the pages of the ‘calendar app’ to find it.

    Enjoy your RSI.

    coop

  6. Deleet says:

    There has been some talk that this will be a black friday deal @ best buy….

    http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=0&t=954233

  7. Anonymous says:

    Because it’s lacking some essntial features, thus rendering it a piece of shit.

  8. dculberson says:

    I would love to replace our phones here at work with iPhones, but when our current ridiculously overpriced plans are even less costly than the AT&T plans, it’s kind of hard to justify it.

    Similar to Clay’s position, the price of the phone doesn’t matter. (For comparison, we have Nextel, where a phone that isn’t large enough to humiliate a brick costs as much as an iPhone.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t they just offer the phone for free? They’d still enjoy a hefty profit margin. They would kick all other manufacturers out of this smartphones business and dominate the whole wide World of smartphones. Isn’t that brilliant? [sarcasm]

  10. vellon says:

    @3 Data plans are $70 a MONTH from AT&T?

    Roger’s the Canadian carrier of the iPhone charges $30 for some massive data package. 20gb or something.

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