Aircel's iPhone 3GS Offer in India Pushes for Cheaper iPhone Pricing in U.S.
Apple’s older iPhone 3GS, which currently sells in the U.S. for “free” when subsidized by an AT&T contract, is now being sold in India for just $181 (or 9,999 Rupees), when paired with a yearlong prepaid unlimited data plan (one that costs just $55). The new offer which is being promoted by Aircel as “unbelievable” supplies either “unlimited” 3G data (which slows down after certain usage) or a 2G plan that includes unlimited 2G data, 1000 talk minutes and 2500 SMS per month.
The new prepaid option is somewhat comparable to that of new prepaid plans available in the U.S. which are currently tied to the 16GB iPhone 4S or 8GB iPhone 4.The folks at Cricket Wireless began offering the two models in the U.S. in June for $500 and $400 respectively, with a $55 per month “unlimited” plan (one that slowed down after 2.3GB of use). In the U.S. iPhone plans haven’t changed much over the last five years even as carriers such as Verizon and Sprint have partnered with Apple to sell the phone. Outside, carriers in other countries have tried to sell different plans.
In some countries such as Japan, subscribers pay full price for iPhone hardware but pay it off in monthly installments as they use it, in addition to paying off their lower service plan fees. In other markets, carrier subsidies are much lower, allowing cheaper smartphones to offer a greater price gap, undercutting the more expensive iPhone options available. Apple continues to experiment with its carrier plans, particularly in cheaper prepaid plans like those now being offered by Aircel in India and Cricket in the U.S. Sprint’s prepaid subsidiaries such as Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile are both rumored to begin offering similar plans to Cricket soon.
Apple has even gone as far as adding eight new regional U.S. carriers offering slightly cheaper, conventional post-paid plans. These regional carriers include Alaska Communications, Appalachian Wireless, California’s Golden State Cellular, Cellcom, GCI, Kansas’ Next-Tech Wireless, Kentucky’s Bluegrass Cellular, and nTelos. Apple's older generation iPhones should be offered for cheaper more competitive prices as this trend in pricing continues.