Etisalat iPhone 3G pricing

By on April 1, 2009
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I’ve been hearing a lot of flak on Etisalat’s iPhone’s pricing but really, when you sit down and think about it, its not so bad. In fact, its actually pretty reasonable which is what I intend to talk about today. Before we start, let me clarify the target audience. If you’re the kind that doesnt [...]

I’ve been hearing a lot of flak on Etisalat’s iPhone’s pricing but really, when you sit down and think about it, its not so bad. In fact, its actually pretty reasonable which is what I intend to talk about today. Before we start, let me clarify the target audience. If you’re the kind that doesnt even have their email account setup on your phone, then stop right here. Also, if you’re the kind that loves to stream audio and videos on your mobile night and day then this article is not for you either. Lastly, if you’re the kind that changes your mobile phones more often than your underwear thanyou’re either incredibly rich or  incredibly gross- either way, this article is not for you, although if you’re of the former type and single, good-looking, and with ovaries, then feel free to email me :)

So the crowd that I’m writing this article for is your average, sensible user that uses data smartly on their mobile phones. Yeah, I know there’s just three people left reading this article but then again, pulling a crowd has never been one of my strong points. I leave that to my buddies Chris, Johnny, Guy and Will who certainly rocked the house last weekend in Abu Dhabi. Anyways, coming back to our debate on iPhone’s tarrifs, what I’ve done for this article is compare three types of Smartphones and three types of data plans that exist under Etisalat.

We have an iPhone, a Blackbery and a Brand X (substiture X for Nokia, Sony Eriscsson, Samsung, LG or any other device that uses Etisalat’s 3.5G data plan). First, lets talk about the cost of the device- the iPhone 3G comes in 8GB or 16GB capacities and can be bought outright from Etisalat for AED 2646 or AED 3090. These prices are very much comparable to a Blackberry 8900 (AED 2400) or Bold (AED 3000) on the Blackberry front or a medium to high-end Brand X Smartphone such as Sony Ericsson Xperai X1 (AED 2400), Nokia E75 (AED 2300) or a Samsung Omnia I900-16GB (AED 3000). So the device costs arent really a point to be argues upon. Yes, you can get an unlocked version for a few hundred Dirhams cheaper but you’re not getting Etisalat’s iPhone plan with that.

Coming to the data plan costs, we have the iPhone starting at AED 199 per month whereas a comparable Blackberry plan would be the Local Unlimited at AED 185 per month or the Standard 120MB Data package that Etisalat charges 200 Dirhams per month. Based on my usage of Data, 200MB per month is fairly sufficient for running Push Email, IM and Social Networking clients like MSN, Twitter and Facebook, downloading mobile applications and ringtones once in a while and finally a bit of Web Surfing when outside the WiFi zone. Using all of that, my personal data usage was about 160MB last month.

The AED 199 iPhone package bundles 125 minutes of local talk time and 125 local SMS’es which is not included in the other plans. I know that I talk a lot more than 125 minutes per month, however, my SMS usage is more like 60-80 per month. So what I’m gonna do first is reduce the costs of 125 minutes of talk time. At 30 fils per minute, this comes out to 37.5 Dirhams. Counting 70 SMSes instead of 120 at 18 fils per message, I generally spend 12.6 Dirhams per month on SMSes. That means that I’m paying 199-37.5-12.6=148.9 Dirhams per month for my data usage on the iPhone that provides me 500MB/month. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use the figure or 150 Dirhams.

Its quite easy to see that 150 Dirhams per month for 500MB is much better than 200 Dirhams per month for 120MB that you’d pay for a typical Smartphone. You might argue that Etisalat offers the lesser priced data package of 95 Dirhams per month that gives you 50MB but seriously speaking, I had that package a year back and simply enabling Push Email and a bit of Web Browsing resulted in over usage charges.

Next, we have the Blackberry service that costs a bit more than the iPhone plan but povides you unlimited Data. Let me tell you that I’ve been using the Blackberry for almost two years now and even with unlimited data, I have never found myself using the Blackberry as much as I use the iPhone. I can very safely say that my data usage on the blackberry hardly every crossed 150MB per month. Websites never looked good on my Blackberry and ViOP never worked in any way- oops, did I say the V word. So all I really used my Blackberry for was emails, IMs and a bit of Social Networking.

So there you have it. Stop ragging on Etisalat over their iPhone data plan and think about it. The only thing I dislike is that you’re tied to a 1 year contract but other than that its actually a pretty decent offering. And Please do not send me data charges from some part of the west where you have this incredible connection at half the price because if you do, I’ll also ask you to send if the rates for gas in that country along with the amount of tax an average person pays per year and I’ll show you how much I pay.

Lets not compare apples to oranges ;)


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

  • Bu Hadher

    Well said. Can’t agree more.

  • Mohammed Al Arabi

    Etisalat is our answer to taxes! lol :D

  • Nizar

    Is this website sponsored by Etisalat?

    Let me get this right, you are comparing the iPhone plan (Etisalat imposed) with the BlackBerry plan (also Etisalat imposed)?

    Both are overly priced and reflect the limited supply that Etisalat has received.

  • deckiok

    i like the package offer by etisalat but the unit price is very expensive than other country.

  • Pingback: Etisalat Iphone data plans, i think it is reasonable enough. - EmiratesMac

  • Phoyage

    Well said. But can’t you take the best of both worlds?

  • Sumit

    Etisalat’s iPhone an xcellent deal… check this out !!

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