Sporadic Reports of Walmart Offering 16 GB AT&T iPhone 4S for $114 [Updated]

Late yesterday, Cult of Mac reported that select Walmart locations had significantly dropped their prices on the AT&T iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, slashing the 16 GB AT&T iPhone 4S to just $114 and the AT&T 8GB iPhone 4 to $34 on contract. Walmart's usual pricing has been $188 for the iPhone 4S and $88 for the iPhone 4, already below Apple's standard $199/$99 pricing.

This news comes to us from Edmond, Oklahoma, and we’re not sure how widespread the sale is in the United States, or how long it will last. AT&T has yet to clarify if this price drop is a national carrier promotion, or a change decided by Walmart.


Highlighting the sporadic nature of the reports, The Verge notes that it contacted six Walmart stores around the United States and found only the initial Edmond, Oklahoma store and a store in Austin, Texas offering the discounted pricing. Walmart's website also has not been updated with the lower pricing.

Most observers expect that Apple will not introduce new iPhone hardware until the September-October timeframe, in line with the iPhone 4S debut last year. But for those still holding out hope for a launch next month at Apple's sold-out Worldwide Developers Conference, Walmart's price drop, even if only sporadic for the time being, may provide a reason to not yet give up.

Update: Walmart issued a statement to 9to5Mac saying the chain "experienced a pricing error in limited stores" and that the issue has since been corrected. The correct Walmart pricing for the 16GB iPhone 4S is $188; iPhone 4 at $88; and iPhone 3GS at $0.97.

Top Rated Comments

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108 months ago
It is only news when it's $114 without contract.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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108 months ago

Exactly.

It is the contract that is the REAL cost of the phone.

Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. Let's examine options for unlimited talk/unlimited text/about 2-3GB of cellular data:

2-year total cost of ownership breakdown
A&T: $199 iPhone 4S 16GB (subsidized carrier-locked handset) + $36 activation/upgrade fee + $2,880 service ($120/mo for unlimited talk, unlimited text, 3GB cellular data) = $3,115
Straight Talk: $649 unlocked iPhone 4S 16GB (from store.apple.com) + $15 Straight Talk SIM (one-time charge) + $1,080 service ($45/mo. no contract for unlimited talk, unlimited text, "unlimited" cellular data -- anecdotally about 2GB) = $1,744

Monthly cost of ownership
AT&T: $129.79
Straight Talk: $72.67 (it drops to just under $70 if you prepay for service for 3 months at $42/mo.)

If you can pony up the cash up front, you are far better off going the Straight Talk route. The break even point is month 6.

Going the AT&T route, the hardware is 6.3% of your total cost of ownership because of the carrier handset subsidy. With Straight Talk, the hardware is 37.2% of your total cost of ownership.

Sadly, AT&T has discontinued the ability for smartphones to exist on their GoPhone Pay As You Go plans as they have removed the availability of data packages from the $0.10 per minute plan. I rocked GoPhone PAYG for several months, even had a SIM for my iPad. Unused data would rollover to the next month if you topped up before your current monthly package expired. That was by far the cheapest way to get a modest amount of cellular data relatively inexpensively.

But in any case, there's no requirement to sign a contract to have an iPhone. As a matter of fact, you will save money if you don't.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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108 months ago
It would be nice to see a new iPhone in June but I'm not holding my breath.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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108 months ago
Nobody noticed an error here, didn't the 16GB White/Black 3GS, get replaced by an 8GB 3GS? Does Wal-Mart just have extras on hand?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
108 months ago

What makes you think anyone gives a crap where you do or do not shop?

What gives you the right to spew your mindless garbage at my response? It's simply not a very good company.

Perhaps I should explain. They've come under fire many times for treatment of their staff, and they put a lot of pressure on local businesses around them.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
108 months ago

Makes sense but who does "Straight Talk" use for their service?? Thought I saw it was t-mobile I could be wrong. Curious though on the straight talk plan do you get at least a true 3G connection and do all the apps work flawlessly with it unlike someone who uses tmobile because if not then not truly worth it to some.

Straight Talk is an MVNO that buys wholesale access from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Straight Talk is a discount brand of TracFone (itself a discount branded company) which is the US operations of America Movil, the Mexican telecom giant.

You can purchase an AT&T or T-Mobile compatible SIM from Straight Talk. I have the AT&T compatible one and it connects directly to the same AT&T towers. Same performance as any iPhone user on an AT&T contract at a 44% discount. And I'm not locked into a contract.

Straight Talk sells some handsets that work on Sprint's CDMA network. I'm not sure if you can bring another CDMA phone to Straight Talk and get them to activate it (I would sort of doubt it).

You can bring your AT&T iPhone to Straight Talk and get it to work, it doesn't even need to be unlocked. You just need to change the APN setting, which takes about a minute.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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