DIGI.com iPhone is here – Price Not Sexy

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Apr 01 2010
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DIGI.com’s iPhone is finally here and Maxis is running mad, sort of. As expected DIGI.com has started the price war – again. However the packages offered by DIGI.com Berhad (DIGI : stock-code 6947), another Malaysian mobile-phone company conrolled by Norway’s Telenor ASA (OSL: TEL) which has just signed a three-year agreement to sell Apple Inc.’s iPhone in Malaysia wasn’t that explosive, at least to me.

Maybe DIGI.com realize that Apple Inc.’s (Nasdaq:AAPL, stock) iPhone is not ordinary gadget that the popularity will vanish overnight. This piece of gadget commands premium value and the phone is still considered expensive (or rather luxury) even after years since it was released by Steve Jobs. Although the price does not appreciate like Rolex, iPhone is perhaps the only phone that does not depreciate like other phones such as Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others.

Even if you’re willing to get a second-hand set but with much cheaper price bracket, you would be disappointed because the price is still expensive, not to mention it’s not easily available. Ask any mobile-phone dealers (such as Sg Wang) for a second-hand 16GB iPhone and they would tell you it’s in the range of RM3,000 a piece. Of course they promised you the set is cracked and you can use it for any service provider.

Now, DIGI.com’s packages do not offer much difference from Maxis’s iPhone offering in terms of the iPhone pricing. Instead DIGI.com takes the battle to the monthly subscription packages. For example, DIGI.com launched lower IDIGI 88 (RM88 per monnth) package against Maxis iValue 1 (RM100 per month) but double the goodies such as 1GB Data (Maxis’ 500 GB), 200 SMS (Maxis’ 100 SMS) and 20 MMS (Maxis’ 10 MMS). Other packages such as iDIGI 138 (RM138 per month) and iDIGI 238 (RM238 per month) were deliberately positioned to lure Maxis’s iValue 2 (RM155 per month) and iValue 3 (RM250 per month) customers away.

DIGI.com’s website even show how you can save RM288 (over 24 months period) against Maxis on iDIGI 88 (RM88) versus iValue 1 (RM100) package. DIGI.com has left the price of iPhone untouched compared to Maxis with both service provider require you to pay RM1990 for iPhone 3GS 32GB. The retaliation from Maxis was the promotional price of RM200 off the subsidized iPhone price so now it’s RM1,790 instead of RM1,990 for the 24 months iValue 1 package.

While DIGI.com’s iPhone price remains unfortunately high, this may mean DIGI.com didn’t manage to strike a good deal with Apple Inc. hence the high subsidy. However it could also means that the juices of the revenue are indeed from the iPhone price itself (it’s only US$299 for 3GS 32GB a piece in US) since the revenue from the price-war at monthly subscription fees are razor-thin. Maybe this is just the beginning of the price-war and we could see more prices slash in the near future.

It would definitely be fun to see if Celcom would join in the bandwagon in iPhone offering. Nevertheless I’m not getting this iPhone yet as the price has more room to come lower. Just like stock investing you do not buy if your target price is not there yet.

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