Monday, August 25, 2008

How the iPhone will raise your phone bill by 30 percent

The long wait for iPhone fans is over now. The much sought after iPhone is finally available in India, though for a steep price. (There is no subsidy on iPhone in India unlike USA where the price is subsidized by the telcos)

Many agree that the iPhone is a touch above the rest, what many do not know is that this touch-screen handset from Apple Inc is also expected to raise its users' monthly bills far more than other hi-end mobiles in the market.

In fact, according to telecom industry experts , an iPhone might increase billing charges by up to 25-30 per cent. And that's where Vodafone and Bharti Airtel - the two service providers who launched the gizmo in India on Friday - would make the killing.

Both telecos have come up with special iPhone-specific data plans that are basically aimed at promoting net-surfing on their networks.

While Vodafone is giving 250 MB and 600 MB data usage free per month on a plan of Rs 799 and Rs 999, respectively, Bharti Airtel is offering free 500 MB per month on iPhone-specific plans that will have a basic rent of Rs 600 per month.

You will need to change your current plan.

But telecom analysts feel that these plans are not economical enough, as the iPhone will encourage users to spend more through its value added services (VAS) and bundling stratergies.

"iPhone will increase its owners' bills by more than 25-30 per cent of what they used to pay earlier, especially if he uses all the functions that the phone offers in the country ," said Romal Shetty, Executive Director of the research firm KPMG.

He further pointed out that this latest gizmo, even otherwise , is too expensive, putting it out of the reach of most Indians. For Manoj Mohta, head of another analysis firm CRISIL Research, it's the lack of 3G services that makes the iPhone too expensive for too little in return. "Only after 3G comes in will the service providers launch more of data-oriented plans. But until then it will remain an expensive proposition," said Mohta.

He even hinted that this may actually disappoint iPhone owners, especially when there is also not sufficient Indian-specific content available for such a phone.

Also, iPhone users will need to repeatedly use iTunes (the copyrighted software created by Apple for its products and which has to be paid for) to download content. This is because the iPhone does not have any Bluetooth services that can transfer or get music from another phone.

Sanjay Gupta, chief marketing officer for mobile services at Bharti Airtel , told Mumbai Mirror that 98 per cent of people who use the iPhone globally have heavy data usage.

"Our aim will be to promote that data usage here too. The iPhone is already known for its VAS like GPRS, maps and iTunes," said Gupta.

So if you finally managed to acquire the gizmo be ready to part with cash every month for its upkeep. Sounds like marriage, where upkeep is higher than the acquisition cost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty logical explantion indeed! The monstrous iphone is back with a bang with a huge bill!!!