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iPhone 3G: The great Middle East telco swindle?

on Jun 11, 2009




While news of Apple's reveal of its super-slick top-of-the-line iPhone 3GS stole the headlines at this year's Mac Developers Conference, arguably of greater interest was the company's announcement that it planned to offer a 'basic' unlocked version of the iPhone in international markets for US$99.

Not surprisingly, in the Middle East, this news has not been entirely welcomed by Apple's exclusive distribution partners. Telcos such as Etisalat in the UAE and Mobily in Saudi Arabia have generated significant revenues from exorbitant data rates and deals which lure consumers with lower cost handsets but tie them to expensive minimum 12 month contracts.

The fact the cheapest unlocked and approved iPhone handset retails in the GCC region for more than $800 puts the mooted $99 deal into further perspective.

Should the region's telecommunication regulatory authorities, which control service prices, step up and force the hand of Apple's exclusive partners? If iPhones were made available at bargain basement prices, would you actually buy one? Would their sense 'exclusivity' be tarnished? Are all Apple products a blatant rip-off?

Have your say now!


FEATURED COMMENT

I can't believe the iPhone's such a rip-off in the Middle East.

  5 Comments


Readers' Comments


Alan S (Jun 11, 2009)
Sydney
Australia

what a joke
I can't believe the iPhone's such a rip-off in the Middle East. It definitely sounds like the local dealers are cashing in... don't they realise there's a global recession going on?

Dean Mathews (Jun 11, 2009)
Doha
Qatar

Good point
I agree with Marc's comments. Service providers should lower their data costs rather than selling cheap handsets - data rates are an absolute rip-off. I end up paying a fortune in riyals every month for my Blackberry connection, which is supposed to be cheaper than the iPhone.

Marc (Jun 11, 2009)
Doha
Qatar

Never mind the handset
I'd happily pay over $99 mark for an iPhone. The monthly charges are the expensive bit. I use prepaid call and data packages and spend about $15-25 dollars a month, why would I tie myself into a binding deal for (at least) twice as much?

Mahmoud (Jun 11, 2009)
Abu Dhabi

Love it
I luv the iphone. It is so cool. Please etisalat bring it out in august as the report states.

Geoff (Jun 11, 2009)
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

absolute swindle
The iPhone has been a rip off since day one and particularly in this region. It's such a fad. I'm embarassed to admit I bought one of the first models and it was rubbish compared to the Blackberry I was using beforehand. I'm sure the new one's better, but the reason I've always disliked Apple is because they restrict the capabilities of all their products from day dot, then over time introduce upgrades and charge consumers a fortune for them! Still, if you're sucker enough to buy into trends, then you probably deserve to be ripped off!


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