AT&T Joins the iPhone Pricing Battle

Source: Apple.com

AT&T (NYSE:T) recently announced new sale prices for several variants of new iPhone models as the longtime Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) carrier prepares for the expected holiday shopping season rush. The 16GB iPhone 5S that regularly sells for $199.99 is now available from AT&T for $99.99. However, the 32GB iPhone 5S and the 64GB iPhone 5S still sell for the standard $299.99 and $399.99 prices, respectively.

AT&T has also halved the prices for several iPhone 5C models. The 16GB iPhone 5C that regularly sells for $99.99 is now available for $49.99, and the 32GB version that usually retails for $199.99 is now $99.99.

AT&T also dramatically slashed the price of Apple’s discontinued 16GB iPhone 5: Last year’s iPhone model is now available for $49.99 from AT&T. The price of the legacy iPhone 4S model has also been reduced. The 8GB iPhone 4S is practically free at 49 cents, and the 16GB version is only $24.99. Although AT&T declined to provide a specific timeframe for its Apple smartphone sale, the carrier noted that there are “limited supplies” of each iPhone model. Buyers must also sign a standard two-year service contract in order to qualify for the iPhone price discounts.

Pricing battles over Apple’s iPhones have been especially competitive this year, as the Cupertino, California-based company has greatly increased the number of stores and carriers where consumers can purchase the devices. T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S. market, began offering the iPhone in April. The iPhone also became available at U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM), the nation’s fifth-largest carrier, on November 8.

Aggressive discounting at several of Apple’s retail partners have also driven down iPhone prices. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) announced that it would be selling the iPhone 5C for $45 throughout the holiday season, and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has offered gift cards for smartphone trade-ins that can be put toward the purchase of an iPhone.

The fierce competition among Apple’s retail and carrier partners will likely continue throughout the holiday shopping season. Several prominent analysts, such as Canaccord Genuity’s Mike Walkley and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, have predicted that iPhone 5S sales will be especially strong this holiday shopping season due to growing consumer demand.

Here’s how Apple traded on Monday:

Apple Inc. Stock Chart - AAPL Interactive Chart - Yahoo! Finance

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