19 October, 2009

iPhone 3Gs in the UAE, why NOT

I'm not a mobile geek so please excuse me if I don't use the right lingo. The point of this post is the price of the new iPhone now being launched by Du.

It appears to be the very latest Apple model--great, as we sometimes have to wait months for such things. On checking the price of the top model offered by Du I get Dhs 2869. On checking the same model on the Apple website, I get a price of US$ 199. Comparing the prices in the same currency, the Du model sells for a whopping 2.6 times more!

That put a big damper on my enthusiasm. The fact that Apple products always cost more here has effectively destroyed most of my enthusiasm for any new Apple or Mac releases. But this huge surcharge seems way over the top.


samuraisam said...

BD: It is irrelevant to compare the price on the Apple website with the one here.

The apple website iPhone is locked; you are signing a 2 year contract.
"Requires new two-year AT&T wireless service contract, sold separately to qualified customers"

A phone around the iPhone's set of features DOES NOT cost 199$; most phones with similar features cost upwards of 500-600$ USD

B.D. said...

^^ Didn't know that. So, that would explain some of the discrepancy. I'll have to see then what the AT&T package costs. On the surface, the Du promotional package looks pretty good.

Media Junkie said...

Yep. But things here will always cost just a little bit more than North America.

Anonymous said...

AFAIK the telecom operators here are not allowed by the TRA to subsidize mobile phone like it's common in the US/Europe. Now whether it's a true interdiction or just a agreement between monopolies is a matter of opinion.

EmiratesMac said...

Yes, BD, the comparison is not fair, it's not comparing the same things. I think du's offering of the 3GS and the plans is a step forward for this market and I look forward to what Etisalat will come out with. Follow the discussions on shufflegazine.com or emiratesmac.com to learn more.

Kyle said...


I'm sure there's a catch somewhere. What I understand is that if you buy the 3GS through Du, you'd have to sign up for a monthly data package. And if I'm not mistaken, the device would be tied down to the Du sim. Unless you're willing to foot exorbitant roaming charges during your travels, the next best option is to get a sim-free 3GS from the market.

Got a sim-free (factory-unlocked) 16-gig 3GS for my wife at Gitex for AED 3200.

i, Bobo said...

My 16GB Etisalat iPhone 3G cost approximately 3000 AED and came unlocked. I bought it mostly because my $199.00 ATT iPhone 3G is worthless outside of the US (unless you're willing to pay enormous roaming charges).

I know it sounds weird, but it kind of evens out in the long run.

I'm curious to know for sure whether the du model will be locked or not. If it isn't, then it's worth the price.

Kyle said...

i, Bobo:

Having checked, the du model will be locked to carrier. This means (and I'm purely speculating here), all 3GS models here may have the latest software/baseband. Thus, even if you wanted to unlock it, it'd be a mammoth task in terms of; newer baseband (unlockable), as there's no hack available to-date unless the installed software (du model) is 3.0 or 3.0.1 with its original baseband (04.26.08).

Shell out a few more Dirhams, and you can pick up a sim-free 16-gig 3GS from the market. Be careful if you're using a PAYG (pay-as-you-go) or prepaid SIM. It may siphon your credit if you have 3G enabled in your 3GS. If you're tech savvy, there's a workaround for this!

Good Luck!

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