Telco Greed Overshadows iPhone 3G Launch

Yesterday we reported on the outlandish iphone 3G pricing plans of Vodafone New Zealand, which is charging up to $250 per month for data plans and $1129 local currency for the 16 GB phone by itself – a far cry from the $199 Steve Jobs was promoting last month. But Vodafone NZ is not the only telecoms carrier to be rubbing its hands together like a greedy fly in anticipation of the iPhone 3G launch. Here are details of other global plans…

In the US, iSmashPhone has a good summary:

The iPhone 3G will cost $199 (8GB) and $299 (16GB) if:

* You are an AT&T customer and are eligible for an upgrade

* You already have an iPhone

* You are a new customer signing a first time 2 year contract with AT&T

If you don’t fall under any of the above 3 criteria, then you will pay $399 (8GB) and $499 (16GB). Again, so much for the $199!

Canadian vendor Rogers has a range of capped data plans, from 400MB for the cheapest service plan ($60 Canadian or $59.23 U.S.) to 2GB for the most expensive ($115 Canadian or $113.64 U.S.).

In the UK, according to a thorough report of global plans by Seeking Alpha:

O2 is the exclusive carrier in the UK. They’ll be offering the iPhone in 4 plans. At the entry level, customers will pay a monthly fee of £30. That will buy them 75 minutes of talk time, 125 text messages, and unlimited data. The subsidized cost of the phones will be £99 (8GB) and £159 (16GB).

For those looking to spend more, the tiered plans will escalate in fees to £35, £45 and £75 a month. At the top end, £75 plan, customers will get the phone (8Gb or 16GB) free. They’ll receive 3000 minutes of talk time, 500 texts and unlimited data. All of the plans will require an 18 month contract.

Meanwhile in Australia, they are lucky to have two three telcos offering the iphone 3G — so there is some competition. Again according to Seeking Alpha:

Australian mobile carrier Optus will be offering both post-paid and pre-paid options. Pre-paid, the phone will cost $729 AU (8GB) and $849 AU (16GB) plus usage. For those opting to buy monthly service contracts there will be seven different plans. They’ll start at $19/month for 100MB of data and $50 of calls. The highest plan will provide 1GB of data and $1500 of calls, text and more for $179AUS a month.

Telstra (TLS, which will also be offering the iPhone in Australia, announced its iPhone plans on June 30th. Their plans will start at $30 per month “with an upfront cost of $279 for the 8GB model and $399 for the 16GB model.” Customers paying $80 a month will get the 8GB phone free. Those paying $100month can choose to get either model at no cost. All plans include free Wi-Fi access at Telstra hotspots and require a 24-month contract.

Update: Alert Aussie commenters pointed out that there is a third option: Vodafone.

Check out Seeking Alpha for pricing plans in other countries.

Conclusion

The upshot is that there’s a wide variety of pricing plans on offer globally, each with their own clauses and fine print to assess.

But one thing is for sure, telcos worldwide are expecting to cash in big time on the iphone 3G. The iPhone is one of the best devices on which to experience the Mobile Web, so it’s disappointing that telcos are still making it so expensive to do. No wonder the Mobile Web never seems to take off.

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