AT&T Steals Walmart's IPhone Thunder

The Carrier, Not the Retailer, Is Selling the Handset for $99

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NEW YORK ( -- There's a $99 iPhone -- but not at Walmart.

The retailer is selling the phone, but not at the steep discount previously reported. Instead, it's AT&T that will be the low-priced leader, selling $99 handsets -- albeit refurbished and for a limited time.

Speculation has been brewing for months that Apple would try to make the iPhone more broadly available by distributing it through the world's largest retailer. The big surprise is Walmart will charge $197 for the entry-level 8 gigabyte phone with a two-year AT&T contract, a whopping $2 cheaper than what the carrier offers -- and contrary to earlier reports that the discounter would sell an exclusive 4GB iPhone for $99.

Meanwhile, AT&T will sell refurbished 8GB models for $99 with a two-year contract, and a 16GB iPhone for $199. The phones will be available until AT&T runs out of stock.

AT&T defines refurbished as "previously owned devices that have been unused or lightly used and returned during the 30-day trial period."

Walmart now joins AT&T and Best Buy as the official retail outlets besides Apple Stores, where consumers can buy the device.

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