Walmart offers 16GB iPhone 3GS for $97

Walmart announced it will slash the price of the 16GB Apple iPhone 3GS from $197 down to $97 when customers sign up for the mandatory two-year wireless contract.

The new price cut is effective for the entry-level 16GB iPhone 3GS model only, and the 8GB and 32GB models will remain the same price.  The price drop is effective starting today. Walmart didn’t say if there is an end date to the promotion.

Walmart offers 16GB iPhone 3GS for

The $97 price tag is now the lowest price offered for the iPhone in the United States, with Apple unlikely to match the price at its own stores.  Apple is expected to slash the price of the iPhone 3GS after a new iPhone announcement — which is expected during Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) event on June 7th.

Last June, after the iPhone 3GS announcement, Apple cut prices on older phone models, in an effort to clear out inventory and convince customers to snatch up a lower cost iPhone.

“As it is our commitment to always lead on price, we are going to reduce the price on this most popular smartphone so our customers can realize these new savings as soon as possible,” said Mehrdad Akbar, Walmart wireless category director, in a statement published by the Wall Street Journal.

The Apple 8GB version is available for $99, but Apple no longer sells it online.  Consumers interested in picking up a 32GB version of the iPhone 3GS will still have to pay $297.

Walmart’s price cut announcement is the company’s latest attempt to try and better compete with Best Buy and other brick and mortar electronics retailers.    If Walmart is serious about competing with Best Buy and others, this is an obvious step in the right direction.  However, I’m still hesitant to believe the lower iPhone price on its own will help convince customers to go to Walmart specifically for their electronics purchases.