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Maxis iPhone plans: old versus new

(Update 21092010) There’s a misprint on the RRP price for the 32GB iPhone 4. It’s actually RM2,690 NOT RM2,490. How silly of us and we’re sorry for the confusion. We’ll update the tables in a bit. Thanks to commenter Berlinwall for pointing it out.

The big news this week is the iPhone 4 launch in Malaysia. It’s a close race between DiGi and Maxis on who will launch it first and what kind of plans will be on the table.

Looks like Maxis has released the first salvo with full details on their iPhone 4 plans and it is confirmed that they will be launching the new iPhone on Friday, 24 September 2010.

In an unprecedented move DiGi will also be launching the iPhone 4 on the same day but DiGi has been very quiet on what kind of plans that they will be offering to counter what Maxis has put out. We’re expecting DiGi to pull something big out of their hats, but it’s not going to be much different from the plans that Maxis has. The main differentiator will be the value added stuff and rebates that both telcos are willing to fork out. The question is how much money is Maxis and DiGi willing to pay in terms of cost-per-customer to win subscribers?

In the meantime let’s take a close look at the new iPhone plans from Maxis and compare them with the old iPhone plans to see if what’s on offer is really good value for money.

iPhone prices overall outright
First up we’ll look at the iPhone prices overall.

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iPhone 3G 8GB – RM2,540
iPhone 3G 16GB – RM2,960

iPhone 3GS 8GB – RM1,990
iPhone 3GS 16GB – RM2,490
iPhone 3GS 32GB – RM2,990

iPhone 4 16GB – RM2,290
iPhone 4 32GB – RM2,690

As you can see, generally the price of iPhones across the generations have dropped significantly, but if you look at the next section where we compare subsidised pricing of the phones, an interesting trend will soon emerge.

iPhone 3G subsidised pricing

iPhone 3GS subsidised pricing

iPhone 4 subsidised pricing

iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 16GB version compared

Overall, you can see that iPhone prices are dropping and this drop in RRP is also extended to the end customers in terms of some savings across the subsidised prices. Essentially you’re getting better technology at a cheaper price.

In addition, iPhone 4 owners riding on the iValue plans get additional value in terms of increased data cap and additional SMS and MMS bundled into the plan. Although it might not look like a lot, it is still additional value that subscribers can appreciate and that is always a good thing.

So we can safely sum up the new iValue and iData plans from Maxis, makes the iPhone 4 the most affordable iPhone to date. This combined with the contract extension offer provided to eligible existing iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS customers makes the iPhone 4 plans from Maxis very enticing indeed to a extent that it is almost a no brainer for existing iPhone owners who are on Maxis contracts to just simply extend their contracts and upgrade their iPhones.

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Some would argue that they would not want to be tied-up to a contract and lament on the fact that there’s no option to purchase the phone outright from Maxis. On Maxis’ side we can understand why they have omitted this option. Bringing in the iPhone 4 means that they have to spend money to bring the stock here and to recoup this cost locking subscribers to a contract is a quick way to cover cost. This is business.

On the consumer side, contracts can work in your favour too. To get the most out of your money, our advice to you is to really look at your usage patterns and find out how much is it exactly that you’re using in terms of voice and data. With that information, you’re bound to find a subsidised plan that best suits your usage. If you subscribe to that plan, then the cost of the contract to you is nil as you’ll be paying for the services anyway, so why not get a subsidised phone while you’re at it?

Of course there’s the issue of not being able to port out whenever you feel like it. To this we say, if you’re going to sign a 24 month contract with Maxis, you best make sure you’re generally happy with their service all this while. If you’re not, then simply don’t sign up.

So subsidised phones attached to contract plans can be a good thing for you. You just need to know what you’re getting yourself into and to always remember to choose carefully.

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So that’s pretty much it. Do note that the iPhone 4 launch will be on 24 August September for both Maxis and DiGi. We have no details on what DiGi’s arrangement will be but with Maxis, the iPhone 4 will be available on 24 August September for selected customers only. Klang Valley will get to purchase the device on 26 September and nationwide sale starts on 27 September.