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What you need to know now about iPhone 4

June 8, 2010 06:48 AM ET

This time, AT&T has said every iPhone owner scheduled for upgrade pricing between Monday and the end of the year is immediately eligible for the $199/$299 prices.

To see if you've made the grade, check your account online at the, or dial *639# (star-639-pound) from your iPhone. (The latter results in a returned text message.)

Not eligible. What now? Either wait it out until you qualify for the subsidized prices, or pony up $200 extra.

That means the 16GB iPhone 4 will set you back $399, while the beefier 32GB device will cost $499. Yikes.

Cash flow ... well, it doesn't. What are my cheaper iPhone options? You have a couple.

As of Monday, Apple and AT&T have discounted the iPhone 3GS: The 16GB smartphone costs $149.99, the 32GB $199.99. The usual two-year contract still applies.

Beginning June 24, a new $99 8GB iPhone 3GS debuts.

What will AT&T's data plan cost? Things get sticky here because of AT&T's switch to capped data plans last week.

As a new AT&T customer, you'll have pick between a $15/month or $25/month for a 200MB or 2GB data plan, respectively. Want to text? That'll run you between $5 a month (for 200 messages per month) to $20/month (for unlimited).

But if you're already an iPhone owner, you can keep the $30 unlimited plan as long as you like, assuming you don't care to tether. (Or you can switch to one of the capped plans to save a few.)

AT&T's individual calling plans start at $39.99 per month (450 minutes) and top out at $69.99/month (unlimited minutes). That means the minimum monthly is $39.99 plus $15, or $54.99 (plus taxes); the lowest-priced deal with texting is $59.99. Over the 24-month contract, that means you'll shell out at least $1,319.76 (plus taxes, regulatory and other fees), or $1,439.76 with minimum texting.

But look on the bright side: That minimum is $360 less than last year. (Not if you're keeping the $30 all-you-can-eat data pan; then the two-year minimum is the same as 2009...$1,679.76.

Any other charges? AT&T tacks on an $18 upgrade activation fee for existing users, half the $36 it dings new customers to activate a new line. At times, AT&T waives the activation fee for upgraders.

I don't live in one of the first five countries. What's my timeline? Apple's said that the iPhone 4 will be available in another 18 countries -- including Australia, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden -- by the end of July.

The rest of the world has to wait until the end of September, when the company rolls out the iPhone 4 worldwide.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at Twitter@gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed Keizer RSS. His e-mail address is

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