The iPhone 3G dilemma: To buy or not to buy?

September 10, 2008

iPhone 3GWell, if you use your mobile phone just to make calls, send text messages or click photographs — the iPhone 3G is not for you.But in case you are a tech freak who loves tinkering with gadgets, this Apple smartphone might be your dream come true.

Downloadable GPS, games, AIM, Facebook on the go and of course 24-hour access to the iTunes store are just some of its pluses, but at 30,000 rupees (give or take a few hundred) for the 8GB model, the iPhone certainly doesn’t come cheap.

Slight problem though. Added applications are great on a phone that provides basic features like message and business card forwarding and video recording.

Unfortunately, these very basic features are not available on Steve Jobs’ latest offering as default.

Chayan Hazra, 30, is one iPhone owner who says he is willing to switch brands if something better comes up.

“If Nokia comes up with a phone that allows you to download applications and has a touch screen I will switch to it in a heartbeat because I know it will have all the basic features that I have become accustomed to in addition to these cool new apps,” he said.

Hazra fits right into mobile service provider Airtel’s category of “Achievers – young working, corporate professionals,” a target segment for the iPhone.

An Airtel spokesperson said they are also focussing on the “Funster segment” — tech-savvy individuals between the ages 18-35.

But for 20-something Soheil Engineer, his newly-acquired iPhone 3G doesn’t really live up to its name since 3G technology is yet to make an entry in India.

“I want to be able to live stream my favourite television shows on my phone while I am on the move,” he said.

That left me wondering. Just how many people are interested in the iPhone?

Both Vodafone Essar and Bharti Airtel, the two iPhone 3G retailers in India, are not revealing how many of the much-hyped smartphones have been sold in India since its launch last month.

A grey market dealer in Mumbai said he has sold 25-30 iPhones in two weeks and uses one himself.

I am sure that’s not good news for Apple… Unless they reduce the price by at least 10,000 rupees and India heralds in 3G technology, I certainly won’t buy one. Would you?

28 comments

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[...] The iPhone 3G dilemma: To buy or not to buy? [...]

You’re absolutely right – For the vendors to make this a mass market product, prices have to come down and the basic functionality such as forwarding etc. has to be implemented.

Currently it’s more of a second phone for those with high disposable incomes than a primary phone for your conventional smartphone user.

You should check out moneyvidya.com for more interesting blogs!

Posted by Abhinav | Report as abusive

ya that is true, a dilemma is there, as i think it is made for those people who don’t think of money but what about those who can buy a phone in just Rs. 3000/- or so.. and will get many of the facility which in not there in the iphones …..

aux

Yes ,I agree with the article.I would have bought iPhone on a first day its cost had been around 25000.
Well the phone does not even provide the basic function of sms forwarding and mp3 ringtones which are the most common for any phone in india.

Am going for the new Blackberry clamshell

http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/id INIndia-35403520080910

Posted by madhu | Report as abusive

pesonally i just bought the new blackberry curve (priced at rs. 25,000) and i thought that was a much better buy!! but your piece is really insightful about the plus and minuses of the iphone; thanks so much for making me feel better about my latest purchase!

Posted by shloka | Report as abusive

I don’t recommend the iPhone as a primary phone. It has severe regular mobile phone usage limitations. Crossing from 3G to 2G and getting cut off is one of them and real annoying at that.

I personally have an iPhone 3G solely for surfing the net and enjoying the wonderful applications. (it’s a great machine but a lousy phone).

For mobile phone usage, I have my trusty Sony Ericsson k850i, to receive MMS, video calls etc.

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

Yes, Iam sure no one will purchease the phone unless the price of the same is around Rs. 10000

Posted by srinivas | Report as abusive

The iPhone price in India compared with the US price is ridiculous. Prices should be in the 10-12,000 range and can include a service contract with Vodafone or Airtel. If Apple does not drop prices quickly, this is going to be the launch disaster of the year. Steve Jobs, I hope you’re listening….

Posted by J.Bhale Rao | Report as abusive

i was really excited about the iphone.. but the price let me down on my hopes.. unless the price comes down.. the sales of the iphone wont improve in india. moreover 3G technology is new to india and she has to get used to it and also the positive aspects of it!! deletion of the sms forwarding feature and mp3 ringtones which are so necessary to the fun loving younger generations was a major set back.. nokia will do a better job for sure and will keep all the basic properties while implementing new features..
a basemodel of nokia will be better option than the iphone 3G as a phone!
i was disappointed by the iphone 3G and it was a major let down and coz was lookin forward to be a proud owner of one..!

Posted by suma | Report as abusive

if any one is looking for a better alternative to i phone.. try htc diamond touch… really fantastic with lot of third party applications available, compatible,all standard features, and ease of use.

Posted by dipumanuel | Report as abusive

what is this and what is that………..This is a that and that is this

Posted by rajesh | Report as abusive

It is over priced. I am not gonna by this junk.

Posted by Rajeev | Report as abusive

[...] Source: Reuters [...]

Hi,
Well i was in the UK when the iPhone was launched there. I was so excited when I heard that it will be launched in India soon, but Apple dissapointed us all. The price is very high and even after paying a heafty amount what do we get. Nothing. No msg fwd, no streaming video, no mms, nothing what we are used to do in our daily lives (except straming videos). Also, bluetooth is disabled. Now what do we do with this gadget, just flaunt and use are old phones to do the daily work. Is this what we are paying Rs 30K for … ?

And the worst part is that even after paying this big a price we have to stick with one service provider. So the phone is still kinda locked (indirectly a contract).

My view is if Apple wanted to make this phone a happening gadget it would have come up with a good deal. I think they are only targeting the rich and famous (as this has no use for normal users) contrary to what they have potrayed during the launch of the iPhone 3G.

Come on guys at Apple … think logical !!!

Posted by Abhi | Report as abusive

Looks like Apple is not serious about Indian market. I think they are happy with the sales in US.

Posted by Sunil | Report as abusive

no
not at all
in this country,because of the economic condition
and moreover it will be out of reach of middle standard people who has a willingness to explore new technology

Posted by Priojit Ganguly | Report as abusive

iPhone is a great device but unaffordable in a country like India (whose per capita income is <= $ 1000).

In USA, AT & T contract can get the 8GB version for $ 200.

This disparity needs to be eliminated if it is to stay afloat.

I wanted the Iphone 3G bad and would have bought it at small premium, but not the 3G, especially when there is no 3G network!!

Also, the price is way too high. I really pity all those rich fools who bought the iphone 3g in india for 35K. richness doesnot give you a license to be foolish.

Posted by Priyank | Report as abusive

I was quite excited about the Iphone India Launch, but both Vodafone & Airtel have gone out of their minds to have priced the Iphone so damn expensive. Both their marketing heads are no where near reality. I am surprised to learn that, when Marketing Directors are paid so well to make strategies for the prevailing markets, How can they make such a big Blunder. I am sure if they had bundled Airtime with it and priced it at about Rs.20,000/- for 16 GB they would have sold like hot Cakes!!! Even a small child would have told this to them!!! This could be the biggest Marketing disaster of this decade. When the same phone was launched in US, they sold more than 1 million phones in 2 days and here in India they have not been able to sell 50O phones in the same time! Shame on Apple-India, Vodaphone & Airtel!

Posted by Sharmila | Report as abusive

few days ago i got the following mail. its really helpful.

Friends ……those of you in India planning for iPhone… THINK TWICE BEFORE MAKING A DECISION… The short comings of iPhone are endless…

No video calling

No AD2P on the Bluetooth,

CAN’T share ANY (mp3, images,videos….) files via bluetooth,

Can’t use as a wireless modem, (you pay ridiculous data charges to activate internet on your phone , but cannot connect it to your PC and browse when you are at home)

No copy and paste,(cannot copy a part of a…. say…. email & send it….have to type it out yourself)

No 3.2 or 5 megapixel camera ,(the 2MP camera it carries is worst camera i’ve ever seen….. photos look like they have come out of a VGA camera)

No video recording with camera,

No front camera,
No flash.
No JAVA support

No physical keyboard (BELIEVE me! this alone is a dealbreaker…touch keyboard as good as it looks…once you use it then only you come to know about the importance of having a hard keypad)

No 3G network yet in India..so why pay for expensive 3G phone if you cant use its 3G services … so, for India, iPhone 2.0 is no better than its first version

No removable battery. (You cannot change battery. Have to send it to apple outlet.. Come on now!!!!…This is not an iPod . Its a bloody phone. You cannot live without phone for 2-3 days)

No haptic feedback and

cannot send MMS,

can’t use as external storage device (16 GB of utter waste..next time you go to your friend’s house & find some interesting songs, movies , etc…sorry you cannot connect your ’16 GB’ phone and share it!!!! Apple apparently has a solution.. ” BUY MUSIC & MOVIES FROM iTUNES STORE “…… Give me a break will you APPLE!!!)

no FM radio,

can’t use your mp3 files as ringtones,(This is heights man!!!)

cannot insert any other SIM card….

completely tied to iTunes… Connect to your friend’s iTunes & you risk erasing everything on your phone.

list goes on & on & on….

We Indians are used to these features. Most of our phones already have these features. & we cannot do with out them…. i mean can you imagine paying so much for a phone with which you cannot transfer files via bluetooth. what age is this …STONE AGE???

Some features may be activated by jailbreak.. But why the hell should you risk losing your warranty after paying so much.

And want to add third party softwares??.. YOU HAVE TO BUY THEM FROM iTUNES STORE ONLY!!! . (Shell out more money). Apple is a bloody control freak. Dont surrender your freedom to it.

Its good for american market (who have no idea what mobile freedom/choice is) which is in stone age compared to asian/european markets. When they want to buy a phone, they have to go to network operators and buy only those phones that are available on that network. & stick to that company till their contract expires. You want to change carriers? Not before paying damages, & buying another phone on the other network again.

On the contrary, we in India have so much freedom. We go to handset shops & buy which ever phone we like. Then go to carriers.. checkout the plans & buy SIM.. Dont like the plan or rival carrier came up with a better plan???? EASY .. just remove & replace the SIM.

Apple are trying to IMPOSE THEIR MODEL ON US riding on the hype iPhone has created in the US (yes it was a flop in Europe ..thats why Apple never talks about its sales in Europe).

Dont fall for the subsidized price of iPhone… CHECKOUT THE DATA PLAN ATTACHED TO ITS SIM ..they will recover the cost through ridiculous data plans. Bill might come to around Rs 2500/month.(ATLEAST AMERICANS PAY THAT MUCH)

Let me clear one thing though.. iphone is the best looking phone (its touch interface is nothing like you have ever seen ), & best browsing experience out there no doubt …. (& others are fast catching up..check out the android demo at Google IO 2008)…. BUT AFTER A FEW DAYS IT ALL COMES DOWN TO FUNCTIONALITY…

Those of who buy it… You will be most happy for atmost a week… & then, MARK MY WORDS…YOU WILL START REGRETTING IT!!!

My advice…WAIT FOR HTC DREAM (powered by android), NOKIA N96 !! Or an ASUS Still not convinced by then…by all means go for iPhone…

So friends lets spread this info to all our friends and help them in making a wise decision….. & those of you who have bought unlocked versions already please share your experiences with others

Posted by saurabh | Report as abusive

I Will be the like other fools who bought it so pricey whereas in uk or us one can get $199 and get it fully unlocked for around$10.So have fun and let airtel & vodafone scratch their heads how to sell this awesome device.

I have an Apple 3G iphone and have been EXTREMELY disappointed with the poor quality of the phone… it drops calls as fast as Paris Hilton’s panties!

The other features of the phone are absolutely first rate..web surfing is excellent…photos work great…

But the core feature (making a phone call) is terrible.

Posted by doug | Report as abusive

Ya, certainly I would not buy one.
This iPhone looks good,it has a big touch screen and many applications. But it doesnt have some basic features like BLUETOOTH.

And the price is too much. In US you can get 2 iPhones with this amount. And if u order an unlocked one from ebay, it would cost you around 15000 including shipping.

Remember apple reduced price of iPhone by USD 200 with in just 2 months of its release. Same thing is going to happen in INDIA, just wait……….

Posted by manas | Report as abusive

Dont bother. It doesnt work as advertised.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

I bought an iphone recently and it is Great! Truly an incredible device – best music, video, phone, internet, application, gaming device out there. It is not fair to compare it to just a phone – it does so much more. I have had top of the line Nokia’s and Blackberry and the user interface and internet experience was very poor compared to the iphone. The App store is incredible – thousands of great apps.

Don’t blame Apple for the price – they have already presold 1 Million iphone to Bharti and Vodaphone each. So 2 M iphone already sold – the carriers are the ones that are being greedy but they will drop the price some. It is a much better value than buying just a phone from Nokia or Blackberry. Iphone is a very portable Laptop that does a lot more.

Posted by rajesh | Report as abusive

Hi, very intresting post.
Another shopping Comparison search engine in India http://oxyshopping.com Indian shopping search engine
Shoppers can find and compare all products such as Apperal, jewellery, gadgets, mobiles, laptop, electronics, gifts, beauty & personal care, pets, sports items and so on…
Now days India more than 300 online stores so very difficult to find right products as same time.
have a look http://www.oxyshopping.com

No, it is not cheaper to own the iphone in the United States. The cost of ownership includes signing up for a plan two year contract or no contract people are buying the phone to use correct? The minimum cost of a plan for the 3G iphone is almost $80/month inclusive of taxes and fees. That gives you 450 minutes calling and receiving. Most people talk during the day for business so nights and weekends are meaningless. Unlimited data means nothing. Everybody has their limit. I will take Vodafone India’s iphone plan anyday of Rs. 999 which includes 300 minutes and 600 MB data. 600 MB data is more than plenty and if you go over that only 5p per 10K. You need to calculate what a typical user actually uses in terms of minutes and data. Plus, Indian sms is only 1 Rs and no need to buy an SMS pack. Again, in the US SMS is 20 cents each unless you buy an SMS pack but again you may not use all those SMS. I will take the Indian iphone plans anyday where I actually can pay for my usage. $80/month is approx. 4000 Rupees. Compare that to Vodafone’s 999 Rupee/month plan. It would take a lot of usage for an Indian iphone user to incure an extra 3000 rupees charges per month consistently. The US plans require a huge minimum monthly commitment which is not justified by most people’s usage. Nobody can use the plan consistently in a manner that justifies $80/month. Plus, we have no $20/month option like you do in India. Thus, we have to pay a minimum of an extra $720/year just to use the iphone. After less than one year of ownership, the American iPhone becomes more expensive than the Indian iPhone. Do the math before you complain. I will take $20/month anyday and a $600 phone cost versus the US $200 for the phone and $80/month commitment.

Finally, you cannot just buy the phone legally in the United State for $199 without signing up for a two year contract. Unless you people in India think fraud is okay. Furthermore, do your math before you complain about the cost of the iphone in India. You are not required to spend $80 per month with taxes for the minimum plan offered. I will take your $20 per month plan with 600 MB data (which is more than enough for most people). In America, “unlimited” is just a gimmick because everybody has a limit. Be thankful that at least you have a $20/month option. Oh, want to compare the cost of health care and education in the United States to India? Get a life…

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

saurabh

Buddy..do your math..we Americans must pay $80/month for an iphone plan at a minimum. We don’t have the $20 option you have. $80 is not 2500 Rs…more like 4000 Rs. We don’t even get the option of a $20 plan and for many of us your Indian iphone $20 plan from Vodafone is more than enough. Who cares about paying 1 Rs. for any extra minutes or 5p for 10K. Most of us will never even hit the 600MB limit that Vodafone offers. Unlimited is just a gimmick as most people will never even use 200MB per month consistently.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive