Sunday, July 12, 2009

Remember the time (July 2008): iPhone 3G and their "fabulous" price plans

By Benedict Wee

Right before Vodafone went into the whole mess of the " buy your contact-less iPhone 3GS online only because it's so valuable and we're afraid of pirates " debacle, Vodafone spokesman Paul Birslen announced the price plans of the phone and talked about how "fabulous" they were. When Computerworld compared the new prices to those across the Tasman Paul replied that they were invalid.

I got the sense of deja vu when I read that article. I couldn't help but think I've heard the same thing one year ago. And I did. Turns out a similar situation happened when Vodafone announced their $250 a month plan for the iPhone 3G last year and their spokesperson, Mark Rushworth seemed equally dismissive when asked about their high prices in comparison to Australia and the UK. The interview was conducted by Campbell on Channel 3 and it includes more topic avoiding and "fabulous" price delusions than this year's. Take a look at the video.

And it has happened again.

Personal favorite gems include:
"Campbell: ... can you name a country where it is more expensive than in New Zealand?
Mark: No one has launched this device yet. We will be the first world..."

"Mark: You gotta compare New Zealand with New Zealand"

"Mark: All I know is that Vodafone is bringing the iPhone to New Zealand on friday with plans starting from as low as $50.. and our high users they get .. 1 GIG OF DATA!
Campbell: In Britain it is unlimited data and it's 3000 minutes and it's cheaper.
Mark: Well it's exactly the same you know when/if you look at our fixed broadband in this country. We don't have that unlimited option, we are isolated in New Zealand.. Our prices that we're announcing are a range of price which run from $50 to $250, which is great value!" (This "$50-$250 great value" thing happens like 4-5 times)

"Campbell: Are Vodafone the only people that I can get an iPhone through?
Mark: In New Zealand, yes.
Campbell: So are you exploiting a monopoly here?
Mark: Of course we're not."

"Campbell: It's a great value and a great deal except when you compare it with any other country in the world.
Mark: might have to be locked into a 36 month plan."
Ah Vodafone. Some things never change do they?


Big thank you to the guy who made the YouTube clip and my partner for pointing it out to me!

Correction: It's Mark Rushworth, not Mike. Thanks Paul.


  1. Hi there, I said the plans were "fabulous" and I stick by it. Not only do they represent a saving of up to 20% on the same bundle of voice/TXT/data over normal prices, but now we've thrown in 3GB of data and 1000 PXTs as well. That makes them the best value plans for smart phones in the country. Nobody else comes close.

    As for the comparison with Australia, if you actually look at the bundle on offer with the "free iPhone" which isn't free (you just don't pay anything up front - it's loaded into the monthly payments) you'll see it's no better than the plans we had for the original iPhone launch dollar for dollar.



  2. That is a bit disingenuous yeah? The 3GB data and 1000 PXTs are till September only. That's only 2 months away. And seeing that there is only one other player in the telco industry, saying that you have the "best value plans for smart phones in the country" is not saying much. The first instinct everybody does is finding if other parts of the world have a better deal, and they do.

    Compare your most expensive price plan with that of Optus in Australia and you get the following:

    Vodafone NZ: NZ$599 for a 32 GB iPhone 3GS @ NZ$130/month gets you 250 minutes/600 texts/500MB data.

    Optus AU: NZ$0 for a 32 GB iPhone 3GS @ NZ$123/month gets you Unlimited minutes/Unlimited texts/1.5GB data.

    You're right to say that the cost of the iPhone is loaded into the monthly payments but that's the same with all iPhone plans (and subsidized mobiles in general) around the world, including Vodafone NZ no?