Carriers across the world insist on a 2 year contract when they hand out a new phone, such as an iPhone for a low price of say $199. But what does the same phone cost in Europe or in Australia?
Which country is getting the best deal? Are you getting ripped off?
There are 3 areas to consider:
1. Price of the phone and the 2 year contract
2. Cost of the phone outright
3. Termination fees on the contract
Let’s look at a the deals one can get across the world using the 16g iPhone 3GS as the standard.
At Vodafone in Australia, for $59 a month plan you get $350 worth of calls and texts, not unlimited but somewhat liveable if you watch it at .25 per text, $1 per minute, and 500mg of data) you would pay $240 for the phone itself at $10 per month. Includes tethering as well.. Not bad really
At Orange in the UK, for £34 a month plan you get 600 minutes, 500 texts and 750 mg of data. The phone is £87. Tethering is available at an extra cost. This is very similar to the plan in Australia and its a better deal on the internet.
On AT&T in the US, for $59 you get 900 minutes, then you need to add an unlimited data plan and text messages on top of it which adds a minimum of $35 more per month. No tethering available. The phone itself is $199 up front. Seems high to me for the monthly. AT&T is making some great money being the sole carrier of the iPhone, no wonder the government is looking into the Apple/AT&T deal, not good for the consumer!
Looks like the US is getting the short end of the iPhone deals when it comes signing up for a 24 month contract on an iPhone 16G 3GS.
Where it gets interesting is whether or not you can buy the iPhone unlocked and without carrier re-dos.
In Australia there are 5 carriers that sell the iPhone so you can walk into the Apple Store in Sydney and plunk down your $840 and walk out with the iPhone.
In the UK there are presently 2 carriers that sell the iPhone so Apple has yet to allow unlocked sales of the iPhone.. O2 and Orange are the only carriers at the moment, so perhaps when Vodafone and 3 pick it up, things will loosen
In the US, only AT&T sells the iPhone and there is no capability of buying an unlocked iPhone from Apple.
The clear winner is Australia for buying the phone unlocked if you are willing to pay the price.
As for termination fees, the ugly truth comes out, lets figure out what it costs to exit the iPhone contract after 6 months
In Australia, terminate the Vodafone contract and it costs $59 plus $10 per month, so in other words, you pay the full price of the contract no matter what! Wow!
In the UK, Orange expects the same thing, you pay the entire contract.
In the US, its $175 after the first 30 days and then it goes down $5 for each month after that. Great deal
Looks like early termination fees are the best in the US.
As each area of investigation shows, the best deal might be right where you already live and the trade offs in other countries may or may not be worth it to you. Then again, if you have friends in other countries and they can help you take advantage of the best of both worlds, that’s the best!