As soon as it was announced that the iPhone 3G is coming over to some other countries on Aug. 22, a local mobile distributor in the Philippines, Globe Telecoms, put up its official product site. It was pretty exciting to learn that we Filipino Apple fans are finally getting the iPhone in a legit way, having been skipped during last year’s first generation iPhone launch. Unfortunately, Filipinos will have to pay too much to get themselves an iPhone unit as soon as it comes out. How much? A whooping $1,000 plus for the plan-free 16GB iPhone unit. That amount was computed based on a US dollar-Philippine peso exchange rate of $1=P44.3.
Other than offering the iPhone 3G under a plan-free scheme, Globe Telecoms is also offering the iPhone 3G under various data plans. The cheapest among these data plans would require subscribers to pay out around $503 for the unit and get tied up with a 24-month data service contract with a monthly service fee of around $36. The highest post-paid plan would entail subscribers to payout around $124 with a 24-month data service contract. Subscribers getting either of these plans will get various data service plan features, such as a certain number of free hours Wi-Fi usage, free sms, and free local mobile internet hours, among other things.
Now, granting that these Globe Telecoms data services and features are in the perusal of subscribers using their iPhone 3G, and considering also the high foreign exchange rates and local importation taxes, one couldn’t help but question though why Apple would allow such pricing schemes for the iPhone 3G? Wouldn’t this taint the iPhone 3G’s image as being projected by Apple to be a not-so-expensive mobile phone?
I can’t blame Globe Telecoms for offering the iPhone at such a high price, which is almost equal to the current local market price of the cheapest Apple MacBook computer. But isn’t this putting a high premium on the iPhone 3G too much considering that the MacBook pro is still superior in features as compared to a mobile phone such as the iPhone 3G?
And the final question to ask is whether this will affect the iPhone 3G’s sales in the Philippines. Would this not prevent the iPhone 3G from conquering the local Manila mobile phone market?