What’s the deal with the iPhone in Spain? Well, I’ll tell you. Today is July 11, 2008, the international iPhone 3G launch date. And there are no iPhones in the stores in Spain. The local Telefonica outlet in my little town has no information whatsoever about the iPhone. Telefonica is the telephone monopoly in Spain, very much the equivalent of AT&T. Their mobile phone branch of business is called Movistar, which is a bizarre Spanglish play on words, since móvil is Spanish for “mobile”.
Continuing my research, I went to iphone.movistar.es and found their “Where to buy” list. There are three stores in Bilbao, and two in Santander, the two large cities closest to me. But when I called those stores to verify that they would have iPhones on the launch date and maybe reserve one, all the shopkeeper knew was that she, too, had heard that it was supposed to be launching on July 11, but that she had heard nothing at all from further up the chain at Telefonica. Great. That’s Spain for you.
What about pricing? How much will it cost once they eventually get their acts together and ship some units? Well, here’s the simplified and translated pricing table (pdf): (all contracts are for two years)
|Minimum talk fee||9€||20€||40€||60€||90€|
|Obligatory iPhone Fee||Normal: 15€ / month||Plus: 25€ / month|
|iPhone 8GB||Change contact||259€||149€||49€||0€||0€|
|iPhone 8GB||Initiate contract||259€||149€||49€||0€||0€|
|iPhone 8GB||# from other company||259€||129€||39€||0€||0€|
|iPhone 16GB||Change contact||359€||209€||109€||59€||0€|
|iPhone 16GB||Initiate contact||359€||209€||109€||59€||0€|
|iPhone 16GB||# from other company||359€||189€||99€||59€||0€|
Now what’s the difference between the “Normal” and “Plus” plans, besides 10€/month? With both plans, you get an unlimited data connection. This is absolutely essential for the iPhone, because so many of its applications use the internet. But, with the Normal plan, you only get up to 200 MB of data at high speed each month, and then the connection gets throttled back to 128 Kbps (16 kilobytes/second) for downloads and 64 Kbps (8 kilobytes/second) upload. With Plus, you get up to 1 GB of data each month before getting throttled. That’s the difference.
I’m probably going to go for the 359€ option. My current mobile contract has a 9€ minimum talk fee, and I almost never use it all. When I buy technical gadgets, I tend to be of the “pay a little more up front to get the absolute top model so that it lasts a little longer before becoming obsolete” philosophy. I don’t know how much data I will be using each month, but 200 MB sounds awfully small. I would love to pay the 25€/month rate instead of the 15€/month, but there’s no way I’m getting the 60€ minimum talk fee. That’s way too much.
Let’s bite the bullet and perform the forbidden calculation of total cost.
Total Cost = 359€ + 24 * (9€ + 15€) = 935€ + tax
So, with tax, it costs about 1000€ to have a 16 GB iPhone 3G in Spain for two years. Count me in!
Now let’s see when they actually become available…