UAE iPhone could cost AED3,000 to buy - sources

Industry insiders also predict AED500 monthly charge prior to launch of phone later in Feb.

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By  Soren Billing Published  February 5, 2009

The iPhone 3G is likely to cost around AED3,000 to buy in the UAE when it goes on sale, followed by a monthly AED500 monthly charge, industry sources say.

Etisalat said on Monday that they will be launching Apple’s iconic phone in the UAE, and in Saudi Arabia through Mobily, later this month.

Pricing details have yet to be announced, but according to industry experts Arabian Business has spoken to, customers may have to pay around AED3,000 ($817) for the handset followed by a AED500 ($136) monthly charge.

That would make it significantly more expensive than in the UK, where O2, a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica, provides the handset free of charge on a monthly GBP45 ($65) payment plan.

In the US, AT&T charges $199 for the iPhone under a two year payment plan, where the monthly charge starts at $70 per month in the New York City area, in addition to a $36 activation fee.

“You would have thought there would be quite a strong interest,” one analyst said of the UAE market.

“It’s a relatively affluent market. You only have to stroll around the malls to see high end handsets and smartphones.”

One reason for the iPhone’s late entry into the Gulf market could be Apple’s lucrative revenue sharing agreement with iPhone operators, which was axed for the iPhone 3G, he added.

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) had previously said that the iPhone may never come to the UAE since an exclusive contract with one of the country’s two telecom operators would be in breach of its “principle of fair competition”.

3716 days ago

If the iPhone is launced with AED 3000 price tag its understandable BUT only if there are other benefits with the package such as the device being unlocked and monthly variety of monthly packages on offer (like the Blackberry). It would be very uncompetitive and greedy of Etisalat to launch without milking the first mover advantage. This is their chance to wipe out the grey market and build a strong customer base from the get go!!

3724 days ago

I got one from US, hacked it myself, loaded it with n # of free softwares & I switch between different SIMs from around the world....including Etisalat & du...& I don't pay no monthly fee of AED 500....happy & enjoyin' my phone...

3725 days ago
concerned citizen

"fair competition" that what they said???...Its pure monopoly..everybody i speak to in what today is known as the "developed world" laughs at me whenever i tell them what i pay for my internet,cable(which leaves a lot to be desired), and phone bills!..if the industry insiders are true in their predictions...what we will end up paying for the iphone is pure extorsion..i'm better off with the unit i bought off the market...and by the way its unlocked and i get all the updates i need!..sorry Etisalat but the guy in karama i bought my iphone off wins...FREE MARKET RULES!!!

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