Apple: What the iPhone 3G Will Really Cost You

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, perhaps the most bullish analyst on the Street on Apple (AAPL) shares–he maintains a Buy rating and $250 price target–wrote a detailed analysis today on what the true cost of the iPhone 3G will be for U.S. consumers. In short, while the retail price, at $199, is half the old price, other costs will make this version more expensive than the old over the life of the required two-year contract. And secondly, he estimates that the actual costs of the hardware will be a lot higher than the stated $199 price tag.

One issue, as Munster notes, is that the data plan for the first generation iPhone phone was $20 a month, including unlimited data and 200 text messages a month, on top of a voice plan. For the new phone, the data plan is $30 a month, and it will run you another $5 a month for 200 text messages. On that basis, the data-related fees over the course of two years will actually be $360 higher than before, or considerably more than the $200 cut in the hardware price.

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