Apple is readjusting its stance on pre-paid cell phone service plans in hopes of boosting iPhone sales, reports 9to5Mac.
The company will soon start letting people who purchase an iPhone at full price sign up for pre-paid or month-to-month plans within brick-and-mortar Apple retail stores, the report indicates.
While being able to get a pre-paid plan on an iPhone isn’t something new, being able to do everything directly through Apple is. Previously, those that preferred to get a pre-paid plan were forced to buy an unlocked iPhone as well as a SIM card purchased from a third-party seller. (The SIM card is the thing that identifies your phone number as unique, regardless of what device you insert it into.)
The move is part of Apple’s strategy to boost the number of iPhone units sold directly in Apple retail stores. Chief exec Tim Cook previously revealed that only 20 percent of iPhones are sold in Apple Stores, and more recently, emphasized the important in increasing that number. Apple also held an “upgrade” event last month to help drive iPhone sales.
Now that its easier to get a pre-paid service at the same time you actually buy the iPhone itself, it’ll be interesting to see how many people take advantage of it. And with carriers like T-Mobile helping push the industry towards enticing consumers to buy smartphones without subsidies, pre-paid services seem far more attractive.
As for what consumers will have to chose from, Apple is initially offering AT&T GoPhone pre-paid activation kits ($60 per month) and T-Mobile pre-paid SIM cards ($50 per month).
Yet Apple won’t be selling the pre-paid plans to existing iPhone customers. That makes sense, if only because the last thing the company wants is to refocus Apple Stores into mobile service shops. The iPhone and Apple’s other products/accessories is where the company makes its money, so there’s little point in catering to people who already bought the thing you wanted them to buy.
The other catch? If you buy a pre-paid plan via Apple, you won’t be able to return you iPhone for a full refund. But as Apple fanboys and fangirls are a diehard bunch, I can’t imagine this will be much of an issue for most people.
The new pre-paid and month-to-month service plans should be available to Apple retail store consumers in late June, according to 9to5mac’s sources.