Verizon iPhone Imminent? AT&T Slashes 3G S Price

Starting tomorrow, youll be able to pick up the 2009 version of the iPhone, the 3G S, for just $49. AT&T is slashing the price of the popular smartphone as rumors persist about a Verizon iPhone announcement coming as early as next week.

CNET cites an anonymous source who says Apple will schedule a product-launch announcement for Tuesday, Jan. 11. That announcement is likely, the website says, to happen before the Consumer Electronics Show is over.

The 3G S price cut will be available everywhere the iPhone 3G S is sold. The third generation of the iPhone currently sells for $99; the fourth-generation iPhone sets you back $199 (16GB) or $299 (32GB). All require a two-year service contract with AT&T.

AT&Ts move is no doubt an attempt to attract new subscribers and better compete with Verizon Wireless as Big Red prepares to offer the device for the first time. Android-based smartphones, largely sold by carriers not named AT&T, are also becoming a serious threat.

Theres little doubt that iPhone exclusivity has been a major reason for AT&Ts subscriber gains over the past three-and-a-half years. The carrier is second only to Verizon Wireless in number of customers, and thats by just one-half million.

Also bandied about the Internet this week is a report that Apple has limited the vacations of its retail employees over the next couple of months in order to handle an increase in sales and technical questions.

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