Afraid of Commitment? AT&T to Offer Contract-Free iPhone

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Though iPhone buyers in European countries like France have long had the option to pick up iPhones at a premium without a contract, buyers in the U.S. haven’t had any choice other than to plunk down for a two-year service agreement in order to get a piece of rarified Apple gear. That could soon change, though, as recently leaked reports suggest AT&T will begin selling iPhones with a contract by the end of this month.

A leaked document obtained by Boy Genius Report suggests that 8GB iPhones will sell for $599 without contract, and 16GB models for $699. There are some strings attached, though: buyers will need an active line on AT&T in order to make the purchase, and AT&T will only sell one iPhone per line (though the document explicitly spells out to AT&T employees that no record is made in the system of a contract-free iPhone purchase, so buyers could presumably visit multiple stores for multiple iPhones). In addition, the offer will only be open to existing AT&T customers who don’t already qualify for the subsidized upgrade price.

According to the papers, titled “iPhone 3G Pricing Enhancements,” the new rules will go into effect on March 26.