While I am impressed with all the stuff Apple has done to make the iPhone 3G more enterprise friendly, some quick adjustments to my iPhone cost model show that TCO may actually increase even with the reduction in the price of the device. The caveat: AT&T has not announced full details of its new iPhone plan pricing yet.
While the price of the iPhone goes down by $ 100 ($ 200 if you only get the 8GB version), that is more than offset by the $ 10 extra a month for the data plan AT&T now expects - or another $ 600 over 5 years
3G may - depending on AT&T 3G coverage and performance given the deluge of new users - allow a mobile sales person or regularly traveling business executive to do away with a hotspot plan. In my previous calculations, I had assumed $ 500 over 5 years for that.
The biggest exposure still comes from AT&T international roaming charges. And that's where the TCO risk actually increases. With Apple's plan to roll it out in 22 initial countries and 70 in total, users are going to be lulled into carrying the "global phone" everywhere - and get trapped even more in AT&T's global voice and data roaming rates.
Here's where Apple can step in. Mash all its global carriers into offering a global plan, where "close to local" rates kick in when an iPhone user is their region, rather than pay roaming rates to their home provider.
Supposedly Apple will not get a cut of monthly revenues going forward (AT&T and other partners will give it a larger upfront subsidy) - so, hopefully it has more incentive to think of its customers, not just its partners.
Will update once AT&T and others announce their new iPhone 3G plans.