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Cost of Phones & Plans in Different Areas of the World

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#1 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 18:50

I decided to post this topic because I'm genuinely interested in hearing the experiences of people from around the world. And hopefully this will be nice and educational to any reader who comes across this topic.

 

The reason I wanted to post this was because many people around here complain about how expensive the iPhone is.  Personally I don't have the full knowledge of why they think that way, so above anything else, I'd like to hear some justification behind that mentality.  Yes I know that the out-of-contract price for the iPhone is generally a bit more than everybody else, but people would have to be out of their mind to pay those prices over doing a contract deal.

 

Beyond that, if anybody would like to post a break-down of mobile costs local to them, I think this would make for a very interesting topic

 

So here in the USA, phones are subsidized, so we get a significant discount on the retail price of the phone, but are locked into a contract.  The two biggest carriers are AT&T and Verizon, so I'll use AT&T for my example.  If I walk into their store and want to sign a new contract (2 years) with the iPhone 5, it will cost me $200 (USD) upfront for the phone.  Then for the contract, let's say I want unlimited calling minutes, unlimited texting, and 3GB of data per month. That totals up to $120 per month.

 

For for the duration of the 2 year plan, it would cost:

  • $200 upfront for the iPhone 5
  • $120 per month x 24 months
  • Total: $3080 USD (not including taxes)

Generally speaking, any top-tier new phone will start at $200, except for the Lumia 1020, which starts at $299.  I think the GS4 was $250 at first too.  And an average smartphone plan in the US will run anywhere from $60-150 per month depending on the options.  There are pay-as-you-go plans, month-to-month, and all sorts of other options, but the majority of people go the route of 2 year plans.  So overall, the iPhone here is the same, if not cheaper, than the other top-tier options.

 

So out of curiosity, I looked up a major carrier in the UK to see what their pricing was like.  It looked like EE was a major carrier, so I priced up a comparable plan, and here's what I came up with:

  • £9.99 upfront for the iPhone 5
  • £46 per month (10GB data monthly, unlimited calling and texting) x 24 months
  • Total: £1114 including tax ($1724 USD)

Here's where I found these numbers: http://shop.ee.co.uk...s/#choose-plans

 

And this is what baffled me.  Not only is that plan much cheaper than the AT&T plan, it includes 3.3 times the data.  Not to mention that the upfront cost of the phone was basically nothing.  Since people complain that the iPhone is expensive, that would have to mean that they are buying the phone at out-of-contract prices.  Are there really that many people that don't go for the contract deals?  If people are willing to spend $500-700 upfront for a phone, the monthly price of the service would have to be almost nothing to make it actually worth doing.  Sure it's nice to be able to upgrade your phone whenever you want, but that's a pretty huge dollar value we're talking here.

 

 

So for those of you that haven't fallen asleep and have made it though all of that, let's here some of your experiences. I want to know how this works around the world. :)

 




#2 tsupersonic

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:01

Yeah, here in the US, we have post paid plans. with contracts of generally 2 years and that allows cellphones to be purchased subsidized. Some areas of the world use pre-paid plans, which requires people to pay for the phone unsubsidized - so while the phone is expensive, the plans are usually very cheap.

 

Here's what my HTC One 32GB (AT&T) costs:

One time fees = $216 (199 + tax)

$199 out of pocket for HTC One 32GB (AT&T) on 2 year contract

$35 activation fee (never mind, I had my activation fee for some reason)

 

Monthly costs = $98.00 (after taxes + company discount)

$39.99 - 450 minutes

$19.99 - unlimited messaging

$50.00 - 5GB data

 

Ironically if I got the 3GB data plan, it would end up costing me about the same after taxes, since my company discount doesn't apply on the 3GB data plan, but does on the 5GB data plan :rofl:. That's right, let that sink in.

 

2 year cost = $216 + ($98*24) = $2568. If I got the iPhone 4 with the same 2 year plan would cost $2352, which isn't a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.

 

I don't think anyone in the US thinks iPhone is expensive. You can get the iPhone 4 for free on a two year contract...The service is the expensive part, not the phone (well at least subsidized).



#3 Roger H.

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:05

I do the prepaid route as a result of the madness you listed.

 

Nexus 4 16GB = $349 ($380=tax and shipping)

$60 H2O Plan x 24 = $1440 (unlimited calling/sms/mms/3GB of Data)

Total = $1820

 

------

iPhone 5 32GB = $796 (includes tax)

Total = $2236

 

Also you gotta take in consideration costs of living and pay rate. Paying £46 per month to the average person is a lot while in the USA it's not much. It's similar to getting a 3 bedroom house in some small country for $50,000 compared to NYC (boroughs) where that could be $600,000 or more easy. Even separate parts of the USA (Florida vs Connecticut) have different pricing based on average income and such.

 

Median Household income in CT is $70,000 and $44,000 for Florida.

 

The UK is about £22,000/year as of last year (sept 2012) which is only like $32,000/year.

 

So you can only put pricing to where people most people can afford it. Raise the pricing up to some sky high number and you wont have many customers.



#4 firey

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:06

Using Bell (In Canada).

For a 16gb Iphone 5 on a 2 year contract.

Phone: 199$
Plan:  105$ per month Gets you:

Unlimited nationwide minutes

  • 3 GB of shareable data
  • Bonus: Mobile TV add-on (included on a 2-year term only)
  • Unlimited nationwide text, picture, and video messages
  • Call Display and Message Centre Lite
  • Call Waiting and Conference Calling
  • Unlimited access to Canada's largest Wi-Fi network, including participating McDonald's®, Tim Hortons®, Indigo® and Chapters® locations

 

So not too bad.  I pay ~80$ a month for my Atrix plan.  However the plan is a bit dated.



#5 Jason S.

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:09

From Dec 2011 - last time i signed a Verizon contract and bought a new phone.

 

HTC Rezound - $299 + tax

Plan - $95/mo (450 mins, 4GB data, unlimited text, all tax and 'fees' included)

 

Total (2 years) - $2602



#6 OP Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:13

  • Unlimited access to Canada's largest Wi-Fi network, including participating McDonald's®, Tim Hortons®, Indigo® and Chapters® locations

This is a pretty cool feature. How exactly does it work?  

 

Is there a generic password that will work with all these locations?  So for instance, if you get in range of this Wifi, it will automatically take you off the data and use the Wifi network instead?  If so, that's really awesome and could be a huge convenience if it becomes widespread enough.

 

A lot of the fast-food places and cafes/pubs here have free Wifi, but you need to manually go into the settings and connect to it.  So most of the time, it's not worth wasting the time to do it.  Having something more universal and automated would be magnitudes better.



#7 Roger H.

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:15

This is a pretty cool feature. How exactly does it work?  

 

Is there a generic password that will work with all these locations?  So for instance, if you get in range of this Wifi, it will automatically take you off the data and use the Wifi network instead?  If so, that's really awesome and could be a huge convenience if it becomes widespread enough.

 

A lot of the fast-food places and cafes/pubs here have free Wifi, but you need to manually go into the settings and connect to it.  So most of the time, it's not worth wasting the time to do it.  Having something more universal and automated would be magnitudes better.

Propbably similar to attwifi - it authenticates via your SIM card so no passwords needed. Once the handshake is completed you are allowed to browse away.



#8 firey

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:30

This is a pretty cool feature. How exactly does it work?  

 

Is there a generic password that will work with all these locations?  So for instance, if you get in range of this Wifi, it will automatically take you off the data and use the Wifi network instead?  If so, that's really awesome and could be a huge convenience if it becomes widespread enough.

 

A lot of the fast-food places and cafes/pubs here have free Wifi, but you need to manually go into the settings and connect to it.  So most of the time, it's not worth wasting the time to do it.  Having something more universal and automated would be magnitudes better.


Not entirely sure how it works.  I don't have it with my plan (didn't exist 2 years ago).  I am pretty sure it just comes up as an available connection, which you connect to and are off and running.



#9 tsupersonic

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 19:38

Propbably similar to attwifi - it authenticates via your SIM card so no passwords needed. Once the handshake is completed you are allowed to browse away.

I was going to say ATT has this. Click here for ATT WiFi hotspots near you. In my area, it's just Starbucks, McDonald's and Fedex.



#10 OP Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 20:02

I was going to say ATT has this. Click here for ATT WiFi hotspots near you. In my area, it's just Starbucks, McDonald's and Fedex.

Ah, very nice.  I have a month and a half left with the POS named Sprint, and then I'm off to AT&T.  It's good to know they have that feature.



#11 Fahim S.

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 20:06

Taking into account the cost of living as described above there are a number of other reasons I can think of that makes owning a mobile phone cheaper in UK:

 

1) Blanket coverage across the country for every carrier

Each and every carrier in the UK has pretty much blanket coverage of the UK, whereas to my understanding in the US in each 'area' there are only ever 1 or 2 carriers which provide decent coverage.

 

2) Consistent use of radio bands across carriers

Every carrier in the UK uses the same radio bands meaning portability of handsets is far easier.  We don't have to deal with CDMA vs GSM as you do with Verizon and AT&T.  This means that phones can easily be taken between networks.

 

3) Smaller populace

The country has less people that the 5 networks are fighting over so as a result of the increased competition, prices go down.

 

As well as the above, there are a number of other MVNOs which bring prices down further.  I personally use an MVNO called GiffGaff, which runs on the O2 network.  My plan is as follows:

1) Unlimited data (although there is probably a fair usage policy)

2) Unlimited SMS (again, a fair usage probably applies)

3) Unlimited calls to other GiffGaff customers.

4) 250 minutes per month.

 

The offer is a quasi-prepaid offer with no contract, and pre-paid minutes beyond the package.  The offer itself costs me £12.50 a month.

 

If this included with, say for examples sake an iPhone 5 16GB, it would cost for 24 months:

£529 for the phone + £12.50 x 24 = £829



#12 dragon2611

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 20:12

T-mobile (Now EE) UK

 

Iphone 4s = £50

24mo contract @ £36 = £864  (It actually went up slightly, so it's closer to about £37 now)

 

2000 mins

Unlimited Texts

Unlimited Data (although they've since capped it at 4Mbit/s)

Tethering allowed (I'm on old T&C's :D )

 

Got bored of the iphone after a year or so, bought a nexus4 and popped the sim in then sold the iphone :rofl:

 

Used over 16GB of mobile data in the past 30days according to my phone :blush:

Once the contracts up looking at "3" as they're doing unlimited data inlcuding tehtering for £15 on a sim-only plan and they're apperently going to just allow LTE/4G for everyone if the phone supports it.



#13 jerzdawg

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 20:14

Wow.. seems the US gets killed on plans vs UK

 

I pay $235 a month for

 

700 shared minutes

3x$30 for data plans (2 are unlimited, 1 is 2gb)

unlimited texts

 

So 3 smart phones (2 iphones, 1 droid) = $600 for the phones, $2820 a year in services.



#14 vetneufuse

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 20:14

*shudders* $2k+ for cell phones over a contract..... I'll just stick with my $100 a year Verizon pre-paid phone that I never use... maybe it's because I don't like being connected 24/7.. but I feel no need to have a cell phone all the time when it costs that much... so much other stuff I could use that $2k+ on...



#15 dragon2611

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 20:22

I think it helps that the regulators in Europe are more awake than their US counterparts.

They're talking about forcing all the EU carriers to charge EU wide roaming at domestic rates... Although I'm sure the carriers will find some other charge to stick on our bills to compensate for it.

 

Also we don't tend to get sneaky fees like happen in the US, usually the prices that are displayed in the store or on the carriers site is what you pay all in.





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