Tuesday, October 5, 2010

iPhone 4 Winners and Losers

This article had me grinning – the last line is sooo full of irony:

iPhone 4 launched by Maxis, DiGi; but which has better plans for subscribers?

PETALING JAYA: Hundreds of buyers queued for hours to get their hands on the newly launched iPhone 4 when it was up for grabs last week. Both Maxis Bhd and DiGi.Com Bhd launched Apple’s latest iPhone 4 last week…

…Teo, a first-time iPhone user, said she had been waiting for the phone ever since it was launched in the United States in the middle of the year.

Teo said she was attracted more by the “cool” aura that iPhones conveyed than the technology itself.

Another iPhone 4 owner David Tan said he bought the phone because it was cool. Tan bought the iPhone 4 for his wife but since he had been using it more than her, he planned to get another one...

…The two telcos have different pricing strategies to attract subscribers. With the plans revealed, the question is ... which one is cheaper and offers better value for money?

Maxis is offering higher handphone subsidies but more expensive plans.

DiGi, on the other hand, has offered minimum subsidies but is offering subscribers much cheaper plans...

…The comparison is only based on face value. Of course, all the plans come with different voice-call minutes, free and bundled Internet.

However, DiGi’s plans are tied with a 24-month contract. Maxis is the choice if subscribers do not wish to be tied for too long.

DiGi is reported to be offering non-contract iPhone 4 next month.

So who is the clear-cut winner?

The obvious answer to that last question is Apple, DiGi and Maxis, in that order. The losers are the consumers, and not just the ones who pick up the iPhone from either Maxis or DiGi. Lock-in contracts and subsidised handsets reduce consumer choice and allows telcos to compete on a non-price basis – which means less pressure to reduce marginal rates. For further details, read these posts.

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