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iPhone contract charges unveiled

Brace yourself for a $2,000 phone bill

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AT&T and Apple have announced what the iPhone will cost customers over the two-year contract they'll be obliged to sign - and it's pretty-much what AT&T charges customers already.

The iPhone will require activation, at a cost of $36, in addition to the $599 price tag on the device itself. Customers will then need to sign up to price plans at $60, $80 or $100 a month, all featuring unlimited data and 200 text messages, but with 450, 900 and 1,350 voice minutes respectively.

Add it all up and it comes to just over $2,000, or an even grand in proper money.

The hundred-dollar saving available by buying the 4GB model, at $499, is unlikely to be taken up by anyone except those arriving too late to get hold of the 8GB version.

Text messaging has never been as popular in the US, and Apple has made much of the email capabilities of the handset, so while 200 messages might seem painfully inadequate from this side of the pond, it's not unreasonable over there.

Long term the contract price might have an impact on sales, but these prices aren't enough to discourage the fans already queuing outside Apple stores in the US in preparation for Friday's launch. ®

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