Sprint has cut the price of the 16 GB iPhone 4S by $50 to $149.99.
The move comes about five weeks ahead of Apple's expected launch of the next-generation iPhone on Sept. 12.
A Verizon Wireless spokeswoman said she didn't have anything to share on reducing the iPhone 4S price. AT&T said it has a refurbished iPhone 4S for $149, but nothing further to announce. Both carriers offer the same model for $199.99. All three carriers require a two-year service plan.
Some retailers started to drop prices for the iPhone 4S in early May in hopes of reducing inventory, according to various reports. Retailers Target and RadioShack dropped the price by $50, the same level as Sprint, only three months earlier.
In 2011, in anticipation of the iPhone 4S announcement in the fall (which was still being called the iPhone 5 by many sources), retailers also dropped prices in early August of that year. The iPhone 4S was officially announced Oct. 4, 2011, and started selling for $199 on Oct. 14.
If Apple announces the iPhone 5, or whatever it will be called, on Sept. 12, shipments are likely to start 10 days later, on Sept. 22, given the pattern of 2011. That event would be three weeks earlier than in 2011.
Sprint's announcement of the iPhone 4S price reduction early in the month would be closer to the time of the anticipated announcement by about three weeks, than when retailers announced the price reductions for the iPhone 4 in 2011.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.