the great iPhone swindle28 Jun 2008
Tech Sweden is abuzz with news of Telia’s iPhone pricing plans having been released today. Unlike the AT&T contracts in the U.S., Telia’s contracts for Sweden don’t directly include unlimited data transfer. Also unlike the AT&T contracts, at first blush (and subsequent for that matter) the Telia contracts seem really pretty expensive, especially the iMaxi plan, which starts at about $150/month!
So, looking to maximize my bang for the buck, I worked up a little spreadsheet showing the monthly and total costs for the various phone models and plans.
- The figures in bold are prices straight from Telia’s site.
- The figures in light blue are monthly recurring costs for the stated data amounts, and a second row for unlimited data amounts (arrived at by adding in the cost of Telia’s 9kr/day “maxtaxa”; Note that this represents the maximum amount you’d pay in a month, assuming you blew past the free amount in the first day and kept using some amount of data transfer every single day of the month)
- The pale green figures show the absolute smallest total cost for each of the two models, and the pale purple figures show the smallest total cost for each of the two assuming unlimited data. Note that these all wind up being for 18-month contracts, so for comparison’s sake I’ve included extended calculations for the 18-month contracts, adding a row for what you’d pay if you continued with a normal Telia “fastpris” account at 199/month, and another row that adds in that plus the “maxtaxa” to arrive at the costs for unlimited data.
- The dark green figures show the smallest total 24-month cost for each model, and the dark purple figures show the smallest total 24-month cost for each model assuming unlimited data.
- I haven’t calculated anything around extra minutes or extra SMS, since I (and probably many other iPhone users) assume that data usage will be a much more important factor, and in my case I’m sure that I’ll seldom use more than 100 minutes or 100 SMS per month.
Some interesting points pop out when looking at this. For one thing, the more expensive plans really seem disastrously expensive, especially iMaxi. If you’re not planning on calling for 16 hours a month or sending 1000 SMS/month (who does that?) then those really seem like a waste. Even if you were using that much, it seems like the standard tariffs, combined with the iMini plan, would still be much cheaper. Again, for my anticipated usage I really don’t care, but maybe someone who really is a big voice or SMS user will calculate these things.
Another thing that strikes me is that there is an interesting pattern to these numbers. If you look at the dark purple and dark green figures, the cheapest totals (for minimum and unlimited data) for each model, they both are for a 24-month contract. Compared to building an equivalent usage period by combining an 18-month contract and a 6-month “fastpris”, they are just barely cheaper; precisely 200kr in each case. And that’s all assuming that Telia’s “fastpris” and “maxtaxa” will remain at their current levels for the next 18 months. If they get even just a tiny bit cheaper, or if another operator has a better deal for iPhone users 18 months from now, then the 18-month contract will turn out to be a better deal in the long run.
So, it seems that financially, whichever of the two models you’re looking to buy, the iMini 18-month plan seems like the way to go. Again, things may be different if you plan on doing lots of voice calls or SMS, but I’ll leave that for someone else to figure out.