NZ paying premium for iPhone plans

By Nikki Preston

NZ's big data users and big talkers have the worst deal, paying more than double for the cheapest 4GB data plan and about a third more for the best priced 400-minute plan, compared to the UK. Photo / AP
NZ's big data users and big talkers have the worst deal, paying more than double for the cheapest 4GB data plan and about a third more for the best priced 400-minute plan, compared to the UK. Photo / AP

New Zealand has some of the most expensive iPhone 5 plans compared to Australia, Britain and the United States.

A price analysis of iPhone 5 contracts has revealed Kiwis are paying the most for 4GB data and 400-minute plans, and even those searching for the cheapest plan are spending significantly more than users across the ditch, according to comparison website WhistleOut's figures.

WhistleOut director Cameron Craig said the analysis showed that entry-level contracts for the iPhone were significantly higher than Australia's or Britain's plans. Kiwis are paying $1865 on Telecom's NZ Smartphone 24-month plan at $39 per month plus a one-off handset cost of $929, compared to $1432 for Australia's most affordable 24-month package. The comparison focused on iPhone service plans for two-years.

The country's big data users and big talkers have the worst deal, paying more than double ($3840) for the cheapest 4GB data plan and about a third more for the best priced 400-minute plan ($2681) with Vodafone, compared to the UK which offered the lowest priced packages in those areas.

Mr Craig said in every country buying an iPhone 5 separately and joining a plan elsewhere with a discount provider was the cheapest option rather than signing on to a fixed-term contract which included the handset. 2degrees was not included in the comparison because it does not offer iPhone 5s on contract.

Telecom chief marketing officer Jason Paris said Telecom's plans were competitive within New Zealand and on the international stage. He said Telecom offered a fully subsidised iPhone 5 on selected plans and this was not offered in some countries.

Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand chief executive Paul Brislen urged caution about international comparisons unless they were done by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development because he did not believe they were comparable in terms of what was being offered. "These straightforward price comparisons rarely help terribly much beyond saying, 'my god, look how cheap you can get it in the UK', when you don't (know) what the situation is".

Mr Brislen said the introduction of 2degrees had shaken up the mobile phone market in terms of pricing and offerings, and New Zealand's pricing for services hovered around the middle when compared with OECD averages for other countries.

Vodafone spokeswoman Emma Carter said: "This report is interesting, but it's tricky to compare such varied markets and there are a range of factors consumers take into account when looking to purchase a smartphone."

- NZ Herald

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