Yes, you heard right!  Ma Bell is slanging iPhones without plan obligations in the US for $400 extra without a contract.  The unlocked devices will not allow users to switch SIMs however when they travel overseas which would negate most of the benefit of buying without a contract. 

As it stands, it is hard to see why someone would buy without a plan because you can opt out of your AT&T plan right after signing up for much less money.  This isn’t a prepaid contract either, AT&T is still working on that…

BTW, if you want to see how to get ready for AT&T 3G iPhone goodness check this video if you are a new customer and here if you already roll with AT&T.

The AP goes on to say:

 

Without a contract, users can cancel service without incurring an early termination fee. But both contract and contract-free phones will be "locked" to work only on AT&T’s network, and the monthly service plans available will be the same, said AT&T spokesman Michael Coe. The plans add a $30 monthly charge for data like e-mail and Web surfing on top of a calling plan.

As previously announced, the cheapest monthly calling plan for the iPhone will cost $70 per month, before taxes and fees that can add $10 per month. That plan includes 450 minutes of calls and unlimited e-mail and Web browsing.

AT&T is working on providing a prepaid plan, Coe said. A prepaid option was available to buyers of the first iPhone who failed a credit check.

 

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