If $49.00 for a new iPhone 3GS on AT&T's network isn't inexpensive enough for you, AT&T has a deal for you. The wireless carrier is offering refurbished iPhone 3GS smartphones
"while supplies last" for only $9.
While the models are refurbished, refurbished doesn't mean they were banged-up. Sometimes it means they were returned after a day when the consumer decided the device "wasn't for them." Sometimes it means there was an issue with the device and it was returned and repaired. You won't know for sure until you get the device in your hands, but the devices will have had to have been returned during the 30-day trial period, and according to AT&T
, "have been unused or lightly used," and some will have minor scratches.
In terms of warranty, refurbished iPhones carry a limited warranty which is based on the original purchase date of the iPhone. The remaining coverage will be at least 90 days and will vary from device to device. It is still possible to buy an AppleCare Protection Plan for the device, despite it being a refurbished device.
In order to get the $9 price, however, you will be forced to sign up for a new two-year contract. There is a limit of five devices per household, and the description seems to imply it must be a new service agreement, including a new line attached to a family plan, not an upgrade.
It's possible there's some connection to the upcoming September / October launch of the iPhone
5 (or 4S). It's been rumored that AT&T and Apple would make the iPhone 3GS free on contract after the introduction of the next-generation iPhone, while the iPhone 4 moves the "year-old-device" price of $99 (for a downsized 8GB model), but that's all a rumor.
If you want one, you'd better hurry. Generally, these sorts of offers sell out quickly.