AT&T & Apple Considering Tiered Data Plans For Next iPhone, More Nano Rumors

According to a report from Kaufman Brothers analyst Saw Wu, Apple and AT&T are discussing the possibility of offering tiered data plans with the next generation of iPhone. In the report, he says Apple and AT&T are worried that an increasing number of customers will turn down the iPhone due to it’s expensive mandatory $70+/month data and voice plans.

“Our sources indicate what’s holding up new iPhones are not technology issues but rather fine-tuning of its go-to-market strategy,” Wu wrote. “Due to fear of lower profits, [AT&T] is more open to developing tiered data plans that fit more in line with today’s environment.”

While he doesn’t go into what plans they may be considering offering to new users, he does mention the possibility of new hardware models to match the less expensive plans:

“Apple, along with AT&T and its carrier partners, is in the midst of figuring out how to position a second and potentially even a third iPhone model that would be complimentary and minimize cannibalization with the current 3G iPhone,” he wrote.

He believes that Apple will follow a similar rout that they did with the iPod, and says his supply chain checks indicate three different models at “a fairly advanced development stage” that are still waiting for clearance from Apple.

What he’s essentially suggesting, in a round-about way, is the iPhone nano we keep hearing rumors about. However, he does acknowledge that any major hardware differences like a smaller screen are probably still a ways off for several reasons.

“One of these has a smaller, approximately 2.8-inch screen, but true to Apple’s word, we believe it will be less likely to see the light of day in the near term as it appears that software and thus feature sets will be the key differentiator as opposed to screen size, like with iPods and Macs,” he told clients.

Nonetheless, Tim Cook’s statement that Apple was not targeting the low-end phone business remain Apple’s latest comment on the issue.

[via Apple Insider]

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