Major cell phone provider in the Philippines, Globe Mobile, rolled out the iPhone 4s today at the Radisson Blu hotel in Cebu where I am staying for our Christmas holiday. I happened to learn about the event from the iStore, an Apple retail dealer located in the mega SM City mall located across the street from the hotel, when shopping for an iPhone 4s yesterday with my daughter-in-law’s father.
I found the Globe event this morning, which I learned was a private event for their preferred customers. They didn’t allow me into the main hall, as I wasn’t a preferred customer and management said they didn’t want the details of their plan “leaked” to the competition. How absurd! They’re hosting a customer event revealing the details of their plans and they’re worried about a U.S. blogger revealing them to the competition? Go figure.
I was, however, able to speak with a Globe representative who explained the plan options and answered all my questions. He provided the following details of their available iPhone data plans:
The most notable difference from US plans is that Globe is providing a “free” 32GB iPhone 4s when you purchase their pricy unlimited 3G data plan for $86/month (3,799 PHP) on a two year contract. This is a significant monthly fee here in the Philippines where text messages average $.01 each (with no charge for incoming texts) and call minutes are generally purchased on a pre-pay basis by loading SIMM cards at a local convenience store. Globe’s competitor, SMART, offers similar plans for the iPhone 4s.
You can select a less expensive unlimited data plan for $22.60/month (999 PHP) with a two year contract by opting to purchase the 16GB iPhone 4s for $570 (25,199 PHP). Globe will finance the purchase for 12 months at 0% interest. In addition to the monthly data plan, you’ll need to purchase a “tack on” plan for voice calling and text messages. You can see all the plan prices on the Globe site. Prices are in Philippine pesos (PHP). Approximately 43 PHP = $1 US.
While the free iPhone option seems like pretty good deal to me, an American consumer, I believe the iPhone 4s is still out of reach for the average Fillipino who can purchase a dual SIMM voice phone for as little as $6 at the SM Mall. Clearly the iPhone will be a luxury item here in the Philippines. It will be available to the general public on Monday, December 19th. I was assured by the rep that availability will not be an issue for anyone who passes Globe’s credit check.