Most would assume that the currently free on-contract iPhone 3GS will discontinue with the introduction of the sixth-generation iPhone later this year, but one analyst claimed its life would go on. According to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek in a note released last night (via Fortune), Apple signed an agreement “with a major global distributor” that will bring the iPhone 3GS to pre-paid carriers and developing countries for an even cheaper price. Misek said the 3GS would be priced between the $200 to $250 range, which is cheaper than the $375 price point that it is now priced at wholesale. The analyst further estimated iPhone shipments for the June quarter.

He said Apple would build roughly 28 million to 30 million iPhones during those three months. The iPhone has seen tremendous sales over the last two quarters: 37.04 million shipped in Q1, and 35.1 million shipped in Q2. The drop in Q3 is expected, because hype for the iPhone 4S is slowing down as hype for the rumored sixth-generation iPhone begins to build. The new iPhone is expected to go into production beginning in June, with a rumored October release.

The iPhone 3GS is currently offered free on a two-year contract with its successor sibling, the iPhone 4, which is offered for $99 on a two-year contract. If the iPhone 3GS is continued free in pre-paid markets, it may actually sell. However, it is not clear which pre-paid carriers will pick the device up as a pre-paid handset.


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