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iPhone 5 Malaysian Telco Plans & Bundling compared

iPhone 5 Malaysia Comparison Price

UPDATE: Celcom bundled pricing updated with fixed rebate amount.

The iPhone 5 will be officially available at midnight with the big 3 telcos – Maxis, DiGi & Celcom offering the device on contract. Outright, the iPhone 5 is going for RM2,199 (16GB), RM2,499 (32GB) and RM2,799 (64GB).

Being a smart phone that’s mobile internet intensive, getting an iPhone 5 from telcos would make sense as they would be subsidising some of the cost through discounted phone price or lowered subscription fees.

So the question is which plan should you pick if you plan to go on contract? The 3 telcos offer plans with different bundling, subsidy structure at different price points. To help you decide, we have compared the subscription plans and the minimum total cost of ownership for easy reference.

Head after the break for the full comparison.

Subscription Plans

121213-iphone-5-plans-price-comparisonv3b

(click to enlarge)

Let’s start with the iPhone 5 plans from the telcos. Each of them have a plan that suits different need at various price levels. It starts as low as RM50 and goes all the way up to RM375/monthly. In terms of contract duration, both Celcom and Maxis offers 12 month and 24 months contract while DiGi is only offering 24 months duration for now.

All 3 are offering all-in-one bundling where it includes mobile internet data, calls and SMS. For Maxis and DiGi, the monthly calls/sms quota are fixed but for Celcom, they offer better flexibility. On Celcom, the voice plan is actually their Celcom First which you are free to use up the monthly commitment with less restrictions. For example on Celcom First Prime, you can either use up the RM40/month quota on either 267 minutes of call or 267 SMS or a balance between the 2.

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While most telco plans offer included usage to all networks, Maxis’s iValue bundled SMS/MMS is only for Maxis to Maxis only (with exception of iValue Simple). This means you would need to pay for any SMS sent to other networks. Luckily for calls, it is applicable to all networks.

For Data, Celcom is the most generous among the lot with its entry level plan of RM98/month offering a rather generous 4.05GB. As comparison, its rivals from Maxis and DiGi only offer 1GB-3GB for the same price range. With the 3 telco bundled calls/minutes/data compared, Maxis appears to be rather pricey. However if you do make a lot of calls within Maxis network, they have managed to sweeten their offering with a colossal 1,000 Maxis to Maxis free minutes and up to 800 free extra SMS.

Bundled Device Pricing
For bundling, each telco have each own way of lowering the cost of devices. For Maxis, they have subsidise the phone price directly which is rather straight forward. On DiGi, they only discounted a few hundred ringgit and the rest of the savings come from its lowered iDiGi monthly subscription. So between the 2, it is a matter of cheaper phone vs cheaper plan.

For Celcom, things get a little complicated as not only they have subsidise the phone price but they also subsidise the monthly subscription through additional rebates. When analysing the plans, Celcom seems to have made things unnecessary cluttered with this approach. What baffles us is the subscription rebates where they give monthly rebates differently according to phone model. They could have made things simpler with one fixed subscription rebate across all models and put more discount on the phone price itself.

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Not forgetting also is the advance upfront payment. Typically the cheaper you pay for the phone, the more you have to pay upfront. This is basically a safety deposit net for telcos which will be refunded back to your billing account across several months. For telcos such as DiGi, they are also offering additional rebates of RM5/month for the first 6 months if you sign up for auto-billing.

Below we calculated the total cost of ownership by phone model and contract duration. This is calculated based on the minimum monthly spend assuming you don’t incur any excess usage on your monthly usage.

12 months
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24 months
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Conclusion
As usual, all comparison is based on each respective telco price plans and offering. There are other things to consider as well before tying yourself to a 12 month or 24 months contract including telco coverage, customer service and network congestion. It is no point to go for a plan with generous amount of data which you can’t fully utilise on a monthly basis.

We would also suggest studying your current bill and data usage pattern to determine which plan is more suited to your needs. It is best to get a plan that’s enough than to commit for something which you would end up wasting. If none of the plans above are suitable for your need, there’s always the option to buy the iPhone 5 outright and get a plan without contract. This might be a better option for those who use a lot of data and hardly make any phone calls and SMS these days. The Apple Online Store and various retails are expected to start offering the device outright pretty soon.

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UPDATE: iPhone 5 is now available to purchase outright without contract at Senheng & Apple Store Online.

As always, if you do spot any mistakes, do alert is the comments section below.

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