Friday, 27 June 2008 03:27

Jobs keeping promise, French iPhone 3G to sell from €149

France's Orange is the latest carrier to announce iPhone 3G pricing and it looks like Steve Jobs was serious when he said the price would be the same around the world. Of course, Jobs was really talking about the upfront price because airtime charges are beyond Apple's control.

Orange has announced prices of €149 ($US235/$A246) for the 8G model and €199 ($US313/$A328) for the 16G version.

Market research company iSuppli has estimated that the production cost of an iPhone 3G is $173, excluding packaging and accessories. Carriers are thought to be paying Apple at least $US300 per iPhone 3G.

Allowing for TVA (the French equivalent of GST or more loosely sales tax), the price of the basic model is close enough to Steve Jobs' '$US199 worldwide' promise to forestall complaints.

But those prices only apply to customers signing up on Orange's iPhone, First, Jet or Origami Star (3 hours and up) plans for a 24-month contract period.

Other tariffs are available, but those that find them better suited to their needs will have to pay an extra €50 ($US79/$A82) upfront for their iPhone 3G.

Monthly charges start at €32 ($US50/$A53), with the iPhone-specific tariffs beginning at €49 ($US77/$A81).

What about customers that already own an original iPhone? See page 2.

Those who purchased the original iPhone prior to the new model's announcement can switch to 3G at a net cost of €99 ($US156/$A163) after rebate, in return for a two-year contract renewal.

There's no word yet about deals for business customers or prepaid usage, let alone the legally-mandated unlocked price. Orange sold the original iPhones in unlocked form for €749 ($US1180/$A1234).

UK prices for prepaid iPhone 3Gs appeared briefly on O2's web site earlier this week. Although thrown into doubt by the removal of the information, it looks like O2 will be charging £300 ($US597/$A624) or £360 ($US716/$A749) respectively for the 8G and 16G version of Apple's new handset.

Japanese pricing of ¥23,040 ($US216/$A226) and ¥34,560 ($US324/$A338) was also announced earlier this week.

While Australian pricing has yet to be disclosed, it seems that somewhere around $A249 on contract is within the realms of possibility. Unlocked pricing is still anybody's guess, if it happens at all. The $A999 tag attached to the HTC Touch Diamond may indicate an upper bound, but if you take the supposed O2 prepaid price and add a typical unlocking fee, $A699 could be on the cards.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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