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.
- 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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