**Editor's Note: Which is America's top wireless network? Click here to see what we discovered. Or click here for our ranking of March's hottest selling smartphones to see how Apple's iPhone fared against the competition.**
Apple's rumored move to raise the price on its flagship smartphone this fall might not sit well with consumers, but the popularity of the device might just override any concerns about a heftier price tag. That's why "it's time for [mobile] operators to take a stand," says one analyst.
"It comes down to who blinks first, Apple or the operators — or more to the point, ONE of the operators (forcing the others to follow suit)," noted Rich Karpinski, senior analyst with Yankee Group, commenting on a Business Insider article. " ... a US $100 iPhone upcharge may just be the place [to take that stand]. Let Apple market its new, pricier iPhone; operators should push cheaper yet still premium no-contract alternatives and pair them with cheaper no-contract 4G data rates."
Speculation surrounding a more expensive iPhone began popping up last week when Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said that Apple had begun negotiating with carriers about a $100 price increase on the upcoming iPhone 6, which would raise the subsidized, on-contract price you pay to $299, $399 or $499, depending on how much storage you want on the device.
Business Insider says that the operators tend to be leaning toward saying no to the hike, but negotiations continue – likely due to the fact that there aren't any "game-changing" devices from other manufacturers on the horizon that would force Apple to show its hand. A recent Yankee Group survey, however, shows that nearly 60 percent of consumers in the U.S. pay $200 or less for smartphones (see chart on next page).