Buyers of Apple Inc.'s iPhone, who will spend as much as $600 for the new device, will pay less for service than will other phone users.
A clutch of gadget enthusiasts staked out spots yesterday in front of Apple's store on New York's Fifth Avenue to be among the first to obtain the iPhone when it goes on sale Friday at 6 p.m.
Michael Coe, a spokesman for AT&T Inc., said yesterday that calling plans for the phone will cost $59.99 to $219.99 a month. Similar plans for other phones cost $65 to $224.97, according to AT&T's Web site. Apple said users can activate the phone through its online iTunes store rather than stand in line at stores.
The $59.99 monthly plan includes 450 minutes of voice time; a $79.99 plan includes 900 minutes; and a $99.99 plan includes 1,350 minutes.
All three offer 200 text messages, unlimited data services, minutes that roll over month to month, and mobile-to-mobile calls. There also is a $36 activation fee.
Analysts said AT&T may be charging less to avoid scaring off potential customers with the price of the phone itself, which is eight times the price of Samsung Electronics Co.'s BlackJack.
The highly anticipated iPhone retails for $499 for a model with 4 gigabytes of storage and $599 for one with 8 gigabytes.
Apple says the iPhone - which combines the functions of a cell phone, iPod media player, and Web-surfing device - will be easier to use than other smart phones because of its unique touch-screen display and intuitive software that allows for easy access to voice mail messages, the Internet, and video, and music libraries.