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LIME, The iPhone 4 And The Death Of The Blackberry

The wait is finally over and LIME has been crowned the–new–official carrier of the Apple iPhone 4 here in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.

On May 26th, 2011, LIME Jamaica though their official Twitter account made a sneaky little announcement keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the general public wouldn’t catch on.

Something like that would surely not go unseen as most Jamaicans (or at least the techies) were all too familiar with the huge let down offered by “A Previous Carrier” that existed here in Jamaica not too long ago.

Those days have come and gone and the feedback LIME is receiving from its potential and already existing customers have been nothing but positive since the announcement. The prices aren’t bad either. LIME did a great job at pricing the iPhone right to better serve them and Uncle Steve at the Apple Headquarters; right and the customers.

If you missed the hAPPy (‘APP’ get it?) Hour Launch held on the 14th of June, fret not! Geezam.com was there with coverage.

Pictured about are the revised prices of all LIME iPhone Plans.

(If you didn’t get the chance to see what they looked like before, take look before its too late)

With a keen eye and good mathematical skills, the only real change you’ll notice is a couple hundred dollars and the exclusion of GCT.

Is The Price Right?

Is the price right you ask? If you’re looking at prices of that of AT&T in the United States, then comparing them to that of LIME here in Jamaica; that’s honestly an unfair fight.

Lets run some numbers:

In the US, the cost of an iPhone 4 (we’re excluding the iPhone 3GS because no one really cares about that) through AT&T is USD$199 for the 16GB iPhone 4 and USD$299 for the 32GB iPhone 4 upon sign-up of a new contract.

Using today foreign exchange rate (courtesy of the National Commercial Bank) at JMD$86.00 to USD$1, the prices would be JMD$17,104.05 and JMD$25,699.05 respectively.

That fee remains the same regardless of the plan selected from AT&T and is paid upfront before the customer receives his/her device. Additional costs would include how many bundled minutes, data, SMS and MMS the customer is willing to pay for.

For example: If you want a 16GB iPhone 4 from AT&T, it will cost you USD$199 for the device, a USD$36 one-time activation fee and depending on which area you live in, taxes may be incurred. The total at the end of your new contract will be USD$212.93.

Jamaican equivalent: $18,301.33

The total you would pay at the end of the month is USD$54.99; which is the Nation 450 w/Rollover® Minutes and DataPlus 200 MB for iPhone.

Jamaican equivalent: $4,726.39

Are LIME’s Prices Competitive?

The cheaper of the three plans offered by LIME is the iPhone 100. Monthly fee of JMD$3,268+GCT plus a deposit JMD$35,383.20+GCT for the iPhone 4; a total of JMD$38,651.20+GCT.

Whilst this plan has the cheaper monthly charge, the initial payout is a lot out money, with half the benefits, but if you have the money go with it.

Reasons:

  • The monthly charge of JMD$3,268 is actually cheaper than AT&T’s USD$54.99 (JMD$4,726.39) with essentially the same minutes and the exact same data.
  • Whist the initial payout of JMD$38,651.20+GCT is a lot for anyone, there are many factors to consider; shipping cost, taxes applied by customs, taxes applied by Uncle Steve (Apple) which I’m sure there is, a little “suh’m suh’m” for LIME, and probably a host of other factors.
  • Carrier Fees also apply which do directly go to Apple; another factor to take into consideration for the overall price.

Personally, I would go with the with the iPhone 200 Plan if I were to sign up with LIME:

  • Monthly charge of JMD$4,988+GCT
  • Initial payout of JMD$16,291.20 (first monthly payment plus cost of handset)
  • More minutes
  • More Data
  • More SMS
  • More MMS

It could be argued that AT&T’s prices are cheaper, but please bare in mind the factors I listed above. LIME is battling against the elements here and they were still able to come up with a solution that may be over-priced for some but still affordable to many.

Personally I would have preferred if the phone was offered at a subsidized rate, irrespective of the plan you select and charge according to the bundled minutes you choose, data, SMS etc.

Could This Be The Death of The BlackBerry?

What’s the debate? Jamaica is THE BlackBerry island, no? But this is the very same reason why I am pleased with the move LIME is making.

BlackBerries are widely popular here in Jamaica, so much so that it costs little to nothing to have one replaced if you’re among the unfortunate few who have fallen to theft or misplacement. The iPhone, however, is just as popular, believe it or not but one main concern of many Jamaicans was its availability.

When Claro Jamaica existed independently they didn’t do a very good job at marketing the iPhone, it may even be safe to say they did no marketing at all so awareness of its availability remained to a bare minimum. Hopefully LIME will do a better job at marketing the iPhone, which really isn’t that hard at all. Apple does most of the marketing for their device through a host of videos themselves and all it would take is the re-broadcasting of the aforementioned with LIME branding slapped on screen here and there.

Disappointing it is that Claro was not able to take advantage of this great device, increasing its popularity throughout Jamaica. Fingers crossed that LIME learns from Claro’s mistakes

What does this all mean?

Up until now, before the announcement of the availability of the iPhone we were mostly ignorant to the fact that data plans outside of the BlackBerry and BIS existed in Jamaica. This has been the crippling effect on the popularity of the iPhone here in Jamaica and possibly the Caribbean, in that, the number one complaint about the iPhone was its “lack of features available to people outside of the US”.

This is not so.

When asked the question of

“Would you buy an iPhone?”

the most common response is always something along the lines of

“No. I can’t use all the features so I don’t want it”.

What features are you talking about? Email? The Apps? Phone calls?

Before LIME brought the iPhone to Jamaica officially, phone calls would be the only worthy topic up for discussion because Apple themselves didn’t offer unlocked iPhones; that doesn’t mean the iPhone couldn’t be unlocked however.

All it would take is an unlocked iPhone and a data plan from your carrier and the possibilities are endless. That need has now been short lived as LIME begins to penetrate the market with its rod of telecommunication goodness.

Another concerned raised was the applications. I must agree, there was a time when the App Store was only available to US customers (and UK shortly there after), in that, in order for you to obtain an Apple ID you’d have to use a valid address from “major” parts of the United States and The UK. This has obviously changed over the years as more countries have gained access to the goodness that is iOS apps.

There are region locked apps however which is left entirely up to the developers, meaning, it would still require you to have a US address to gain access to these applications such as the suite of Google iOS apps for example but this is but a minor bump on your journey to iPhone awesomeness.

The BlackBerry ship has long set sail and is now making way for the iPhone’s host of multi-million dollar Yachts.

More on Jamaica and the Apple App Store to come with a follow up post

 

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Belched from the bowls of awesomeness, Ryan is your everyday socialite geek determined to rock the socks off the world and rid it of its awful infection. Focused more around mobile technology and mobile application development, he spends most of his time learning about the "Who's who" in the mobile industry. Young wanna-be blogger at his personal Blog, "Thoughts Of A Cynic", you'll come to love his cynical writing style and ethics. What better way to make content better than to slap a cynic right in the heart of it?

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14 Responses to "LIME, The iPhone 4 And The Death Of The Blackberry"

  1. Ricky Rich says:

    Jamaican pop culture will keep Blackberry alive in Jamaica, everybody a sing bout “ping” :); plus the Blackberry usage/concentration in Trinidad and Tobago is higher than Jamaica. (JM and T&T are the two largest English-speaking islands).
    The only way I see LIME increasing iPhone usage is to create a separate marketing team for the Caribbean – “LIME Caribbean iPhone” and it starts with promotions giving away FREE iPhones.
    If we are to use LIME’s “promotional” track record of its last product – LIME TV; they failed before even getting out of bed with Apple.

    • Gordon Swaby says:

      @Ricky Rich

      Popular culture isn’t static, it’s dynamic. Blackberries can’t remain the de facto mobile phone in JA forever. And when people drop it like a bad habit they’ll only have two platform options: Android and iOS. Well, there’s Windows phone too, but they’re a non-entity in the mobile scene.

      • Ricky Rich says:

        My point exactly and Jamaican/Caribbean pop culture is not pushing iPhones; their (Apple) target audience is North Americans and Europeans; iPhone(Apple) does not have a Caribbean (Latin America) presence. LIME, Claro nor Digicel can do this my themselves. I doubt if the Apple executives know where to find us on a map.

        • Ryan says:

          Things happen in stride. Before LIME/Digicel/Claro and BIS, do you think RIM even considered the Caribbean? The same could be said about Apple right now. If Apple sees that the response is good, they would have no choice but to acknowledge us here in the Caribbean.

          Come September when LIME make a few more announcements, you will see that the potential is there.

        • Gordon Swaby says:

          So tell me, RIM was pushing their product in the Caribbean? Negative on that. Pop culture WILL change. I don’t know what they’ll embrace next ( iOS, Android or Windows Phone 7), but change is inevitable. The blackberry started to boom in Jamaica after Digicel started offering prepaid BIS plans in December 2008. LIME ( They were known as C&W at the time) started offering Prepaid BIS plans first, but it didn’t take off, see article: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20081207/business/business5.html

          LIME will start offering prepaid data plans for the iPhone soon so let’s see how that plays out. Plus, who knows if Digicel will get a license to sell iPhones and offer prepaid data plans too. Also, the Caribbean App store should be coming soon.

          • Ricky Rich says:

            RIM pushed their product in the Caribbean by sponsoring many events and continue to do so, by their latest Education Ministry launches BlackBerry Developers Competition – http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Education-ministry-launches-BlackBerry-Developers-Competition_8823790.

            The news article’s link you posted supports my point that introduction of a new product/service without the needed resources to support it and failure to do follow-ups after the product goes live – is the track record of LIME. Yes, I agree with you that if Digicel offeres iPhone the popularity will grow. However, LIME offering iPhones will not see the “death of blackberry” … LIME alone cannot mek limeade … lol

    • Ryan says:

      Thanks commenting Ricky!

      Why does it have to be “FREE iPhones? There are plenty of way to promote a product without slapping on the tag “FREE”.

      Claro, eats, sleeps and breathes with the word “FREE”, and that has gotten them no where really. It’s a great product and like I said, marketing it will not be so hard either.

      As for the pop culture that exists, every Jamaican likes shiny stuff, we’re like toddlers really, so there is no shadow of a doubt that, if done properly, LIME can’t create a new one.

      • Ricky Rich says:

        There are different levels of “FREE” Microsoft and Adobe issue Trail Versions (free) of all its new products. There are consumers who are called trendsetters because they always want to be the “first” to use a product/service. Trendsetter are a very small percentage of that market for the rest they need a push – a push for friends, family etc who have/are using the product/service.

  2. Kelroy says:

    LIME must realize before it is too late that the “one size fits all” marketing tactics or even “freeness” will not do with the iPhone. They have to come up with new ideas and market the iPhone as new, modern and trendy. The iPhone is not a phone for the masses so they have to capture the small but profitable market especially those in the 18-24 age group, young execs and tech savvy older corporate types. Ensure that that when everybody starts tossing their blackberries there is a high chance they will upgrade to a LIME-powered iPhone

    By the way excellent article Ryan.

  3. Kamla says:

    I am an IPhone-er. Anxiously awaited lime’s iPhone 4 release and was sorely disappointed in their pricing. I don’t agree with you that the pricing is a win/win based on whatever challenges they face and I think along with comparing their costs with AT&T, u should also compare with their own data and call rates! It would be cheaper to buy an unlocked iPhone from apple and then choose any one of lime’s call and data plan that doesnt have the word iPhone in it, and it works out MUCH cheaper! I’m actually disappointed in Lime, in a time when they should be looking to win back customers! I was so ready to give up my Digicel no. of 10 years, but now I’m so conflicted! Still, viva la iPhone!

    • Ryan Mattis says:

      Thank for the feedback Kamla! But don’t you think it’s a tad bit unfair to LIME if they had priced the iPhone any cheaper? Call rates in the US are not as cheap as you think, which is why carries have to throw in all this fancy perks. Free nights and weekends, roll over minutes, SMS, family bundles, etc. Do you know that carriers in the US charge you for incoming calls depending on the plan you’re on?
      We gots it good here in Jamaica (and the Caribbean) so let up a little :).

  4. Julian J says:

    Signed 🙂

  5. owen says:

    Lol, this article reads like a post from the New York Times. Surely it will have no effect on anybody that reads the Jamaica Star. If going up against BB is the only way to sell the iphone then this is obviously a losing battle. The phone is too expensive, its plans are ridiculous compared to the BB plans. What you have here is a phone that can only be bought by a niche market, a phone with a none replaceable battery and no memory card slot.

    You ask alot of questions in you article but you never answer them.

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