Walmart Discounts iPhone 5S, 5C in 'Permanent' Price Change

Starting today, you can buy the iPhone 5S, 5C for a deep discount.

June 27, 2014, 10:59 AM

— -- Walmart stores are selling the iPhone 5S and 5C in a deeply discounted "permanent price change" starting today, the company said.

But will the price discount be enough to tempt Apple fans patiently waiting for the next big thing?

If you happen to stop in a Walmart store and have an extra $29, you can buy a 16GB iPhone 5C in a two-year phone contract. The plastic-exterior phone that comes in five colors used to sell for $49 at Walmart.

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By comparison, at the Apple store, the 16GB phone is $99 with a two-year contract.

At Walmart, the iPhone 5S now costs $99 -- down from the previous $149. Customers must sign up with a two-year contract for either of the devices with Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.

The deal is available in Walmart stores only, and not online, according to a Walmart spokeswoman.

The iPhone 5S starts at $199 in Apple stores and

When asked why the company was implementing the price change and if the iPhone's popularity may be waning, a Walmart spokeswoman told ABC News, "We’re just providing our customers with the technology that they’re looking for."

Brian Colello, equity analyst with Morningstar, said this is typically a slow time of the year for iPhone sales, with rumors of the next iPhone emerging. Many customers may choose to wait for a future iPhone 6.

Furthermore, phones with larger screens from Samsung with Google's Android system have become sharp competitors for the iPhone, he added.

"Walmart’s decision is a tactical one to clear inventory or drive traffic," he said, explaining that the price cut at one store doesn't necessarily mean a sharp drop in demand for iPhones.

Walmart offered a similar iPhone promotion this year, as first reported by Engadget, but the spokeswoman said this is a "permanent price change."

Colello said he wouldn't be surprised if Walmart was making very little profit or even using the iPhone as a loss leader to drive traffic in Walmart stores.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Sales of the iPhone 5S have been brisk since the device was introduced in September 2013. The iPhone 5C was introduced at the same time, but reportedly has not received the same level of global interest. But three days after both models were introduced, Apple announced it sold a record-breaking 9 million new iPhone 5S and 5C models, an Apple record for first weekend sales.

In April, Apple announced it sold more than 43.7 million iPhones in its second quarter, down from the 51 million iPhones it sold during its first quarter, which included the holiday season. In Apple's second quarter of 2013, it sold 37.4 million iPhones.

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