TechCrunch reports a rumor that AT&T will sell 3G iPhones with 8GB at $199 in US. That would mean a $200 discount from expected $399 price.
AT&T must be doing some numbers and verifying that ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) for iPhone is significantly higher than the average. This would be explained by the high-income segment attracted by iPhone and also by the substantial higher access to web and multimedia services from its Safari browser. So the business case of a $200 handset subsidy could actually fly. Apple could also be ready to reduce price or the revenue sharing conditions, considering they only shipped 1.7m units in the first quarter when Steve Jobs’ target is 10 million units in 2008.
The only risk of an end-price reduction is that it might appeal not only to high-income users, but start to attract budget-constrained customers, that would not generate such a high ARPU as measured now.
Still it is only speculations, but we will know soon if TechCrunch rumor was well-founded.