According to a new report from 9to5Mac, Apple is preparing to begin offering prepaid and month-to-month iPhone plans in its US retail stores. This will mark the first time in the US that customers will be able to go into an Apple Store, and walk out with a prepaid iPhone.
Customers will be able to purchase an iPhone at full retail, pick from a handful of prepaid or month-to-month plans offered by AT&T, T-Mobile and others, and have it activated in-store. The initiative is part of a larger effort by Apple to bolster non-subsidized iPhone sales…
Here’s more from 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman:
Apple Stores will soon stock up on AT&T GoPhone pre-paid activation kits and SIM cards, and stores will use the existing T-Mobile SIM cards for customers that will choose T-Mobile pre-paid plans. Apple will begin training its store employees on the new pre-paid and month-to-month iPhone sales practices in the coming weeks. Sales staff will promote AT&T’s $60 per month pre-paid plan (with 2.5GB of internet data and unlimited talk and text) to those seeking AT&T plans, while the stores will offer $50/month (1GB LTE data) and $70/month (5GB LTE data) unlimited data plans to customers seeking T-Mobile devices. The activations must be done at the time of purchase in Apple Stores and those devices will be unable to be returned to Apple for a refund.
Previously, customers could only buy full-priced iPhones from US Apple Stores as unlocked devices, and then had to visit a separate carrier store to connect them to prepaid plans. This will make the process a lot more seamless, and likely spur more in-store hardware sales.
Also keep in mind that Apple is expected to unveil a new model of its popular handset this fall, so it’s possible that this could also be a way of clearing out old inventory. Last month the company launched an iPhone promotion in its retail stores, offering discounts on upgrades.
Apple is expected to begin selling the pre-paid and month-to-month plans in US stores beginning the last week of June.