Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Vodafone puts iPhone out of reach for New Zealanders

Initial excitement over the upcoming launch of the next-generation 3G Apple iPhone in New Zealand has been dampened, following the release of Vodafone's "outrageous" plan prices in this country.

The iPhone 3G goes on sale here on Friday through Vodafone suppliers, but the mobile carrier will force users to sign up for what appears to be the most expensive iPhone plans in the entire world, with less benefits than most other international carriers are offering.

To get an iPhone 3G in New Zealand for the promoted price of NZ$199 (8GB model), customers need to sign up to a 2-year contract with Vodafone, costing a whopping $250 a month, plus overflow charges (that's a minimum of $6,000 over 2 years!!)

The company's top plan will give you an adequate 1GB of data a month, along with 600 'oncall' minutes and 600 text messages... hardly a premium package considering the price, and far less generous than some overseas plans offering Unlimited data, 3000 minutes of voice calling a month, and a Free iPhone for a lower comparable monthly fee.

Other packages are on offer, with Vodafone's lowest priced "iPhone 250 plan" setting you back $80 a month for 250GB of data, 600 texts, and a p**s-poor 120 voice minutes. The 8GB iPhone will cost you $549 on this plan (or $699 for the 16GB version).

(Don't be fooled by the "$50 plan" Vodafone Chief Marketing Officer Mark Rushworth tries to spin on the Campbell Live clip as the company's "cheapest iPhone plan". There is no such tailored iPhone plan at that price listed on the company's own website).

Vodafone's greedy package prices firmly put the Apple iPhone 3G out of reach of average New Zealanders. Vodafone also says the new iPhone apparently won't work at all for pre-pay users.

The new 2nd generation version of the iPhone relies heavily on the faster 3G mobile network for many of its features, which Vodafone has finally announced plans to expand to "97% of the country"... but you'll have to wait until April 2010 until that network expansion is complete (so forget about using it successfully in the South Island).

* NZ Herald: iPhone 3G pricing announced

* NZ Herald: Vodafone defends against iPhone fury

* Campbell Live: Vodafone talks about the iPhone price

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