AT&T Offers iPhones to Business, Sells SIMs

Now that Macworld has come and gone with no announcements from Apple about upgraded iPhones—or a much wished-for 3G iPhone—AT&T is getting busy with its plans to offer the existing iPhone to business customers.

AT&T’s business plans for the iPhone start at $45 per month for unlimited data service, visual voicemail, and 200 SMS messages; for $55/month, customers can get 1,500 SMS messages, and $65/month removes all limits. Business travelers can sign on to additional capabilities which offer 20 MB or 50 MB of data access in 29 countries for an additional $25 or $60 a month, respectively. And to lure business users, AT&T is offering a $25/month discount through the end of 2008 for users who open qualified accounts by March 31.

AT&T’s iPhone overtures to business users is no doubt timed to coincide with improved iPhone connectivity with corporate email and messaging systems. Apple has stated that improved Exchange support is forthcoming, and IBM is expected to announce a Lotus Notes client for the iPhone in the near future.

And in related news: remember back in December when AT&T made claims about how they already offered the most open phone network in the United States in order to capitalize on some of the positive open-network PR being enjoyed by Verizon? Now AT&T actually seems to be doing something about it: the company is now offering bare SIM cards that can be used to bring any GSM-compatible phone onto the AT&T network. AT&T is positioning this as a way to transition to AT&T service without having to abandon their current GSM phone. AT&T wants $10 for the SIM (not counting a $5 online discount), but users still have to agree to a two-year contract with AT&T, and those still run $40 to $200 a month, not counting add-on services.