YOU ARE AT:WirelessUPDATED: AT&T Mobility clarifies Web site, refurb'd iPhone 3G going for $99:...

UPDATED: AT&T Mobility clarifies Web site, refurb’d iPhone 3G going for $99: Also: Attention shoppers! 3G iPhone at Wal-Mart!

AT&T Mobility has put refurbished Apple Inc. iPhone 3G handsets on sale for $99 and $199, respectively. A potentially eye-popping offer of an additional $50 off the price of the device was available on the carrier’s site Monday, and a spokesman initially confirmed the $49 price for the 8 GB device. However, the carrier subsequently said that the correct price was indeed $99 and that it would clarify the Web site to remove the misleading information.
The $99 price, if holiday-dazed shoppers notice it, could provide the carrier with a burst of new subscribers at the end of the quarter and calendar year. “Refurbished,” according to AT&T Mobility’s Web site, means units returned during the 30-day trial period and may have minor scratches.
AT&T Mobility continues to sell new iPhone 3G’s for $199 and $299.
Wal-Mart in the mix
Meanwhile, Apple Inc. continued to attack the domestic smartphone market as Wal-Mart said last week it would begin retailing the iPhone 3G across 2,500 stores in the United States.
Wal-Mart’s pricing is a wacky $197 for the 8 GB model, $297 for the 16 GB model. Best Buy, the “other” big-box outlet for the iPhone 3G is currently selling the handset for $189 and $289, respectively.
Media reports said Wal-Mart also would meet “local retailer” pricing, which may mean a dead heat in pricing between the two big box chains.
The move into Wal-Mart isn’t just a quest for ubiquitous distribution. According to research from comScore/M:Metrics released in early November, the strongest growth in iPhone 3G sales is among consumers earning between $25,000 and $50,000 per year – below the median national income.
Jen Wu, analyst at comScore/M:Metrics, speculated in her report on this phenomenon that the iPhone 3G might serve as an information and entertainment device that replaces several gadgets and services whose aggregate costs are actually higher.
While half of iPhone buyers earn $100,000 or more annually, iPhone adoption among the $25,000 to $50,000 earnings crowd grew nearly 50% between June and October, according to comScore/M:Metrics.
iPhone nano on the way?
Speculation as to Apple’s next move has focused on the company’s MacWorld conference in San Francisco, Jan. 5-9. The company purportedly surveyed its long-time iPhone users in October as to features they’d like to see in the next product iteration.
Whether that will materialize as a rumored iPhone Nano – a stripped down, cheaper unit – or in software improvements is fueling discussion on Internet forums dedicated to Apple-mania. The company has announced, however, that CEO Steve Jobs will not give the keynote address, news that itself rekindled speculation that a new product announcement would not be forthcoming and stirring anew speculation on Jobs’ health, which he has said is fine.
Article updated Dec. 29 to correct misleading information provided by AT&T.


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