eXtensions Diary

Bangkok Diary Friday 26 December 2008: Thailand iPhone Pricing - Some Comparisons


I have been looking at the pricing of the iPhone as advertised by True in Thailand and I have been trying to estimate the costs for the device. As in other countries, the iPhone is linked to a provider -- in this case True -- and everyone has to sign up for a 24-month plan. The figures below are rough and ready but can give an indication of what the device may cost.

With both the 8G and 16G versions there are four ways one can have the iPhone. The Bronze plan requires users to buy the phone (at 6,999 and 10,499 baht) plus service fees, while for the Silver, Gold and Platinum plans, the iPhone is included in the service.

With the Bronze service, the 8G phone will cost 28,776 baht plus the phone: a total of 35,775 baht over the period. The 16G iPhone comes 39,275 with the same fees for the two-year period. My current monthly charges with DTAC, one of the other major providers in Thailand, are 300 baht per month.

Over same period the Silver service comes to 33,576 and 38,376 baht for the respective devices, so the service is cheaper at 26577 and 27,877 when the respective prices (as shown in the Bronze service) are deducted.

Using the same process, the Gold service is 40,776 and 43,176 which comes to cost of 33777 or 32677 baht for 8 and 16G phones for the two years. Platinum is 47976 and 50376. This is 40977 or 39877 for 8 and 16G phones respectively. Although I am not brilliant at Maths, I have double-checked the calculations.

The most expensive therefore, would appear to be the 16G iPhone with the Gold Service, but these figures do not take into account the connection charges for using the phone. Using the excess charges of 1.5 baht per minute, we can see that Bronze costs 150 baht per month or 3600 baht over the period, reducing the monthly charge to 1049 baht or a total cost of 25,176 baht for two years. The Silver is reduced to 1,249 or 1,449 baht for 8G and 16G iPhones.

Similarly the Gold, with its 200 minutes (300 baht/7200 baht) reduces the overall cost to 1,399 baht for the 8G Phone per month; or 1,499 baht for 16G: close the the Silver.

The Platinum service has 300 minutes call time included, so this equals 450 baht, or 10,800 baht over the 2 years (more than the 16G iPhone). The charges may then be reduced to 1549 and 1649 baht for 8G and 16G for each month. That still comes to 37176 and 39576 baht. Take the iPhone cost off that and we have figures of 30,177 and 29,077 baht: and 1,257 and 1,211 baht per month for the Platinum service.

Bearing in mind the current costs of post-paid services in Thailand, and the highly competitive nature of the mobile phone business, these fees are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but are not excessive, particularly when one notes that the calculations here take no account of the other facilities: SMS, EDGE et al and Wifi.

To confirm a couple of points I wrote in a Bangkok Diary item earlier today, the pre-registration is restricted to those with Visa or Master-card credit cards issued by Bangkok Bank or Kassikorn Thai Bank (Thai Farmers).

In addition, despite their being plans for this in legislation here, it is still not possible to transfer a mobile phone number to another service, so if your telephone number has been circulating for a while, you either have to run two or let everyone know (not always possible) or run the first as a forwarding service and eventually hope that everyone catches on.

The True support pages also provide a telephone number (082-000-3333) should it be needed. They were slow to answer (busy?), but the information provided was helpful and polite.


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